Author Topic: Gold of Richard III found, auctioned  (Read 463 times)

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Offline malj1

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Gold of Richard III found, auctioned
« on: January 17, 2018, 06:27:20 AM »
This article was originally printed in World Coin News.

Gold of Richard III found, auctioned
Posted on January 16, 2018 by World Coin News Staff   

An extremely rare gold half angel of Richard III sold for $54,507 [40,800] at Dix Noonan Webb’s Dec. 13 London sale.

Obverse and reverse of an extremely rare half angel of Richard III found by
 Michelle Vall in September and sold by Dix Noonan Webb in December for
 $54,507. The boar’s head mintmark is clear on the reverse but there is no
 French title. (Images courtesy and Dix Noonan Webb)

The coin had been found last September by metal detectorist Michelle Vall from Blackpool in a field at Monks Kirby in Warwickshire. Vall, a 51 year-old primary school teaching assistant, had taken up metal detecting in January. She made her discovery while taking part in a charity detecting rally.

“After detecting for two and a half hours in a farmer’s field, I got a signal,” she told the media. “The coin was deep down, about 16 inches below the surface, and the soil there is thick clay so it took a bit of digging out.

“I spotted this glint of gold in the hole, although I obviously did not know exactly what it was at first. I put it in the palm of my hand and then I went back to the organizers’ tent. One of them identified it and people became very excited. That was when I realized that it was a half angel.”

The significance of the find has been played up large by the British media. The field in which it was discovered is just a few miles from Bosworth Field where King Richard died violently on Aug. 22, 1485, at the hands of the forces of Henry Tudor. There has been much speculation that the coin was dropped by one of Richard’s soldiers when fleeing the battlefield.

Half angels of Richard are exceptional. Just one type is known (S-2153). That on offer by DNW showed a full flan with all important details clear. It was graded VF. The estimate had been set at 10,000-15,000.

Bidding, however, started at 17,000. A fiercely fought contest saw the price driven to twice that with the auctioneer’s hammer coming down at $45,430 [34,000]. With buyer’s commission added, the total was $54,507 [40,800]. The money will be split between Vall and the landowner.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Gold of Richard III found, auctioned
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 12:04:32 PM »
That's a very exciting detector find. Detectorists often subscribe to the belief of poker players that you shouldn't play with absolute beginners, as they have too much luck. Many detectorists have to wait years and collect a mountain of rusty nails and soft drink can lips before they see gold and here's a beginner not just scoring gold, but a historically significant piece.

It's pretty romantic to think it was lost by a fleeing Yorkist soldier, but in truth, the purchasing power of the coin seems to large for anyone but a high officer and high officers were supposed to remain close to the king (how can you convince the king that you have fought well if he hasn't seen you?) Also, a soldier on the run would need a coin like this more than even his sword. As Dan Brown put it: a fugitive's basic needs are shelter, transport and the money to buy it.

Less romantically, I could imagine that the Yorkist army needed food and other supplies while on the move and this amount of gold could buy food or other supplies in some quantity. Also, it is a myth that bones don't disappear. They just get dissolved more slowly and may vanish relatively quickly in wet and acid (forest) soil. The coin may not have been lost, but could just be all that remains of a body, as such a coin could well have been hidden in e.g. the seams of clothes. At a depth of 16 inches (40 centimetres) even an (improvised) grave is a possibility.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.