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Rare ‘angel’ gold coin donated to Shrewsbury museum

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A rare gold coin found in a field in mid Shropshire has been donated to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

The Angel coin

The rare gold coin that is now on display in the Medieval Gallery at the museum.

The stunning gold Edward IV coin, known as an ‘angel’, was minted in London in 1473, was purchased by the Friends of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

The ‘angel’ was found by a metal detectorist and reported to the Finds Liaison Officer for Herefordshire and Shropshire, Peter Reavill.

Mr Reavill, said: “Coins of this high value are rare, and therefore this is an important find for Shropshire.

“This is the first example from Shropshire recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme and one of only 17 recorded across the whole of the UK. This is a particularly fine and early example of what was an iconic medieval coin.”

Cure

Edward IV became King of England during the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses. Due to the impact on the availability of coinage caused by the unrest and political turmoil of the time, he decided to reform the nation’s coinage. As part of the reform he introduced the angel, worth six shillings and eight pence, in 1465.

These coins were known as angels due to the depiction of St Michael standing facing a dragon. At the time when this coin was minted it would have been roughly equivalent to two weeks’ wages for a skilled craftsman. The beauty of this coin led to it becoming a well-loved object in Medieval England. Many pubs were named after it, including the Angel Hotel in Ludlow.

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The angel was also traditionally given to people with scrofula, a disfiguring disease known at the time as the “king’s evil”. It was thought that touching the coin brought you close to the monarch who had the power to cure sufferers.

Fay Bailey, museum service manager for Shropshire Council, said: “Shropshire Museums has a fine collection of coins spanning over 2,000 years.

“However, we had no example of a gold English medieval coin. We are very grateful to the finder and landowner for offering the coin for purchase and to the Friends of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery for kindly acquiring it on our behalf.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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