Shropshire Star

Sixpence for you thoughts: Shropshire detectorist unearths rare coins

Fascinating finds have been unearthed by a metal detectorist in the soils of Shropshire.

Chris Langston with the 1585 AD, Silver Hammered Sixpence

Detectorist Chris Langston has had two rare finds in the last week, proving that there is plenty of history under our feet.

Mr Langston, who runs the Oswestry Unearthed company, says he found an Elizabeth 1st, 1585 AD, silver hammered sixpence while metal detecting in fields around Oswestry.

"This lovely find is in remarkable condition albeit almost snapped in half probably by a modern plough," he said.

The date, 1585 was a time when Oswestry, which had a thriving market selling Welsh cottons, was struck again by plague. Historians note that during that time 'a market was kept at Knocking, (now Knockin) and a half- penny paid by the drapers for every piece of cloth bought'.

A Queen Victoria sixpence, counter stamped for use in Costa Rica.

On Tuesday he came across a 1850 Queen Victoria sixpence that had been counter stamped showing that it had travelled to South America.

"It was counter stamped for use as one 'Reale' in Costa Rica," he said.

"Post Independent Costa Rica, from 1839-1857, whilst under the reale/escudo system saw shortages of coin and foreign coins.

"Those considered of good weight and metal content were stamped. This included GB sixpences and shillings - The sixpence was considered the equivalent of 1 reale, or a piece of eight."

He said it would be fascinating to try to find out why a sixpence counter stamped for use in a country more than 5,000 miles from Oswestry was found in the soil just outside the town.

The date of 1850, he said, was an interesting one for Oswestry.

The chemist, Edward Weston, was born in Oswestry in 1850 to a merchant family.

He is best known for his development of the electrochemical cell, named the Weston cell, for the voltage standard and was a competitor of Thomas Edison in the early days of electricity generation and distribution.

He first studied medicine but grew interested in chemistry. He emigrated to the United States after receiving his medical diploma in 1870.

He then found a job in the electroplating industry and developed an interest in power generation, inventing several dynamos and generators.

He co-founded the Weston Electric Light Company in Newark, New Jersey and later got the contract to light the Brooklyn Bridge. Weston was a founding member of the board of trustees of what later became the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Weston was president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers from 1888-89.