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The Biggest Anglo-Saxon Coin Hoard Discovery of the Century: The Story of 5,248 Ancient Coins in Lenborough

In a remarkable discovery that has captured the attention of historians and numismatists alike, a hoard of over 5,000 Anglo-Saxon coins has been unearthed near the village of Lenborough in Buckinghamshire, England. This discovery is not only the largest of its kind in modern times but also includes a unique and potentially invaluable penny that may have been the result of a mint mistake over a millennium ago. The sheer scale and significance of this find have sparked excitement and raised intriguing questions about the history and significance of this extraordinary treasure trove.

The Discovery

Final £85k secures Lenborough Anglo Saxon coin hoard - BBC News

The coins were discovered on December 21, 2023, by metal detector enthusiast Paul Coleman, who initially thought he had stumbled upon a hidden manhole cover. However, his persistence paid off as he uncovered a remarkable cache of 5,248 silver pennies, buried in two separate sets, possibly with a time gap of up to 15 years between them.

The coins date primarily from the reigns of two Anglo-Saxon kings, Ethelred the Unready (r. 978-1016) and his successor, Canute (r. 1016-1035). The discovery includes a uniquely-stamped “Agnus Dei” coin, which features a lamb and a flag, rather than the expected dove of peace. This rare minting error has piqued the interest of historians and numismatists, who believe it could be a one-of-a-kind specimen.

Significance and Potential Value

Amateur treasure hunter's £1m find of Anglo Saxon coins

The sheer scale of this find is unprecedented in modern times, with Brett Thorn, the keeper of archaeology at the Buckinghamshire County Museum, noting that the largest previous hoard was discovered in the 1840s and contained over 7,000 silver objects. Thorn also highlighted the exceptional condition of many of the coins, further adding to their significance and potential value.

While no official valuation has been placed on the hoard, some experts believe it could be worth more than £1 million. The coins have been declared as treasure trove, meaning that the finder, Paul Coleman, and the landowner will be entitled to a share of the proceeds from any eventual sale or display of the hoard.

Insights into Anglo-Saxon History

The diversity of the coins, which were minted in over 40 different locations across the country, provides researchers with a unique window into the economic and administrative structure of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during this period. The presence of the rare “Agnus Dei” coin, along with the fact that the majority of the coins were minted during the reigns of Ethelred and Canute, also offers insights into the religious and political climate of the time.

Preserving and Displaying the Hoard

Over 5000 medieval coins discovered in England -

The coins have been transported to the British Museum for further analysis and preservation, while the Buckinghamshire County Museum has expressed its desire to have the hoard displayed within the county, where it was discovered. The museum will need to raise a percentage of the coins’ total value in order to secure their permanent display, ensuring that this remarkable treasure trove can be shared with the public and studied by scholars for generations to come.

The discovery of the Lenborough coin hoard is a remarkable testament to the enduring fascination with Anglo-Saxon history and the power of amateur treasure hunters to uncover extraordinary artifacts that shed new light on the past. This hoard not only represents a significant financial value but also a priceless cultural and historical treasure that will undoubtedly captivate audiences and inspire further research into the complex and fascinating world of the Anglo-Saxons.

As the experts continue their analysis and the museum works to secure the hoard’s permanent display, the Lenborough coin hoard stands as a testament to the rich and enduring legacy of England’s early medieval past.




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