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Gold of Richard III found, auctioned

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.

Metal detectorist Michelle Vall in action. (Image courtesy Dix Noonan Webb)

“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.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


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2 Responses to Gold of Richard III found, auctioned

  1. translateltd says:

    “There has been much speculation that the coin was dropped by one of Richard’s soldiers when fleeing the battlefield.”
    That would have been a lot of money for an ordinary soldier of the time to have been carrying.

    • Sundance79 says:

      That’s my thoughts as well. A ordinary soldier carrying that much money into battle? I don’t think so. A nobleman perhaps. I know nothing of that period of English history. But I wonder if mercenaries were employed in that battle. I could see that perhaps a mercenary was given one of those to fight just before a battle.
      It is interesting. Sometimes a simple find like this can open up an entire new line of questions about an event in history and end up rewriting a bit of history.

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