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English gold coin found by metal detectorist in Canada

A metal detectorist in summer 2022 discovered what is now believed to be the earliest English coin found in an archaeological context in Canada.

Edward Hynes of Newfoundland found the circa 1422 to 1427 gold quarter noble of Henry VI 5 inches below the ground surface, along a southern Newfoundland coastline this summer, according to a news report in The Telegram, in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The provincial government announced the find and the name of the finder in a Nov. 9 press release.

Hynes reported the coin to the provincial government as required under the Historic Resources Act. He reportedly discovered the coin not far from a known but undisclosed archeological site.

A consultation with Paul Berry, former curator of the Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum, helped confirm the specific type of coin that Hynes found.

The coin would have been a sizeable amount of money in the 1400s, valued at 1 shilling 8 pence, a few days’ wages.

Setting a new record

Until now, the oldest English coin ever found in Canada was considered to be the November 2021 discovery at Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site (also in Newfoundland) of a silver half groat minted in Canterbury, England, sometime between 1493 and 1499.

Exactly how the gold quarter noble coin made its way to Newfoundland and Labrador is a mystery; however, Berry says the coin was probably not in circulation when it was lost, according to the press release.

Research on the coin is continuing and further work on the site where it was found may be conducted in the future.

Politician commends finder

In the press release, Hon. Steve Crocker, minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation for Newfoundland and Labrador, commended Hynes for disclosing the find.

“I encourage others to follow his example,” he said. “These types of artifacts help us understand and appreciate the history of our province, and provide context for those who visit Newfoundland and Labrador from around the world.”

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