A metal detectorist in England has discovered rare gold coins from the mid-14th century, when the Black Death was sweeping the country.
Both coins represent the Middle Ages: Edward III, who attempted to introduce gold coins into England beginning in 1344. One of the newly discovered coins – a leopard coin (also called a half florin), issued from January to July 1344 – was considered “failed” because the value assigned Leopard coins overvalue gold versus silver, according to a June 17 statement from the Portable Effects Chart (NOT).
Edward III attempted to correct these monetary problems by introducing new coins from July 1344 until 1351, when the other newly discovered coin was minted. This coin, called the Noble Gold, weighs approximately 0.3 ounces (7.7 grams), more than double the weight of a leopard of 0.12 ounces (3.5 grams).
A metal detector found two gold coins near the town of Repham in Norfolk in October 2019, but PAS archaeologists have only now finished their assessments of the coins. As for how the coins got to the site, archaeologists have suggested two possibilities.
A statement from PAS, a project run by the British Museum in England and Amguedfa Cymru – the National Museum of Wales that analyzes and preserves valuable artifacts found in the UK: “It appears likely that both artifacts fell at the site at the same time, either as part of a purse fall. or as part of a hidden treasure.”
The coins were folded in half but were otherwise in good condition. The leopard weighs about 23 carats, which means it is 96% pure gold, according to PAS.
Helen Jake, communications officer at PAS, told the BBC: “The leopard discovery is particularly remarkable, given that so many of these coins were never minted and “almost none have survived”. There are only three coins left. leopard in public museums today.
At the time, it was worth the equivalent of $16,700 (£12,000) in today’s money.
After the Norman conquest in the 11th century, the only coins used in England were silver pennies, Jake said.
And then Edward III decided to reintroduce the first gold coins in England since the Anglo-Saxon era – and no one knows why.
The new system used fluorines (or double leopards) and helmets (or half leopards). However, Edward III’s new financial categories did not capture the public’s attention.
The new discovery shows that the leopard has been in circulation for a longer time than previously thought. One possibility, Jake said, of the leopard’s unexpectedly long reign is that the Black Death came to England in the late 1440s, killing at least a third of the population.
Source: Live Science