Metal detector finds rare gold Anglo-Saxon coin worth £10,000 in Cambridgeshire field

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Metal detector finds rare gold Anglo-Saxon coin worth £10,000 in Cambridgeshire field

  • Mark Pallett, 55, found the gold shilling or thrymsa, dating from AD 650-700 in a stubble field in south Cambridgeshire
  • The drainage engineer received a weak signal with his Minelab Equinox after 15 minutes of detection
  • He dug 4 inches to find what he initially thought was a small gold button, only for it to reveal the depiction of a helmeted male bust
  • The piece, which weighs 1.3 grams, is one of eight known examples of thrymsa ‘Crispus’










A detectorist celebrates after discovering a rare gold Anglo-Saxon coin worth £10,000.

Drainage engineer Mark Pallett, 55, found the gold shilling or thrymsa, dating from AD 650-700, in a stubble field in Haslingfield, South Cambs, on January 3.

The father-of-three, who had previously searched the grounds several times, received a weak signal with his Minelab Equinox after 15 minutes of detection.

He dug 4 inches to find what he initially thought was a small gold button, only to flip it over to reveal the depiction of a helmeted male bust.

He started shaking with excitement and showed the coin to his friend before putting it safely in his pocket.

The piece, which measures half an inch in diameter and weighs 1.3 grams, is one of eight known examples of the thrymsa ‘Crispus’.

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Detector celebrates after discovering rare Anglo-Saxon gold coin worth £10,000

Mark Pallett, 55, found the gold shilling or thrymsa, dating from AD 650-700, in a stubble field in south Cambridgeshire

Mark Pallett, 55, found the gold shilling or thrymsa, dating from AD 650-700, in a stubble field in south Cambridgeshire

These were based on an obsolete Roman coin of Emperor Crispus from the 4th century AD.

Mark, from Brentwood, Essex, who has been detecting for 38 years, said: ‘My Minelab Equinox hadn’t charged properly overnight so I only had one hour of maximum charge.

“My first signal was a bit early, then I walked 100 yards and got a second signal.

“I dug in and saw what looked like a gold button, but when I turned it over I immediately knew it was an Anglo-Saxon gold thrymsa.

“I was shaking with excitement. I have been detecting since the age of 17 and it is the discovery of a lifetime.

Mark sells his coin to London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, with the proceeds to be split equally between him and the landowner.

Nigel Mills, artifacts and antiquities consultant at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “The design is based on an obsolete Roman coin of Emperor Crispus from the 4th century AD.

‘The caption includes runic text which translated into Latin is Delaiona (from Laiona) which may refer to the silversmith who minted the coin.

“The earliest Anglo-Saxon or Futhark runes (named after the first six letters) originate from the Germanic peoples and were sometimes included alongside Latin text on coins in Britain in the 7th century.

The coin, which measures half an inch in diameter and weighs 1.3 grams, is one of eight known examples of thrymsa 'Crispus'

The coin, which measures half an inch in diameter and weighs 1.3 grams, is one of eight known examples of thrymsa ‘Crispus’

Mark sells his coin to London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, with the proceeds to be split equally between him and the landowner

Mark sells his piece to London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, with the proceeds to be split equally between him and the landowner

“The most famous discovery of thrymsas was at Sutton Hoo in the ship’s burial when 37 were found in 1939. Additionally, the Crondall hoard found in 1828 contained 100 gold coins.

‘The gold shilling is in very good condition and struck in the center so that you can read all the inscriptions.

“Only eight examples of this ‘Crispus’ type have been recorded in the Early Medieval Coins database of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.”

The sale takes place on March 8.

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