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The British Museum

NARC-8770B3: Two gold half-sovereigns

Rights Holder: Northamptonshire County Council
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Unique ID: NARC-8770B3

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Treasure report from Dr Barrie J. Cook:

I have examined two coins found at Newton Bromswold, Northamptonshire. Both are English gold coins of the denomination of half-sovereign (= 10 shillings or half a pound). Both were also issued in the reign of King Edward VI (1547-53), despite the fact that the name and image on one of the coins is of his father Henry VIII. When Edward acceeded, his government had to consider how to deal with the debased coinage introduced by Henry in 1544 and, for a while, carried on in the style of the late king. The details of the coins are as follows:

1. Half-sovereign, Edward VI in the name of Henry VIII, initial mark arrow (1547-9), Tower mint, wt: 6.17g
2. Half-sovereign, Edward VI, Third Period, initial mark tun (1551-3), Tower mint, wt: 5.38g

The gold coinage was not progressively debased in the way that the silver was, so the older coin was still struck to a fineness of 20 carats (about 83% fine gold), and the later coin, though returning to 22 carats (about 92% fine gold), was lighter in weight, so both coins contained similar quantities of gold.


Gold coins do not commonly occur as single finds and it seems highly unlikely that two high-value gold coins from the same short period would have been lost separately on the same spot. It is my opinion, therefore, that these coins can reasonably be regarded as fulfilling the criteria of Treasure, according to the terms of the Act. (Barrie J. Cook)

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2009T29


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 2

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2009T29

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Uncertain

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northamptonshire (County)
District: East Northamptonshire (District)
To be known as: Newton Bromswold

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Centred on parish
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: NARC
Created: 13 years ago
Updated: 10 years ago

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