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Detectorist strikes gold in Shropshire field

By Lucy Todman | Telford | News | Published:

Just as he was deciding to turn in for the day, detectorist Mark Porter had one last search of the field.

Detectorist Mark struck gold found a 500-year-old coin in a field

Having uncovered numerous pieces of lead and a few shotgun cartridges in a paddock, Mark, from Dawley Bank, Telford and a friend moved in to a wooded area. There Mark uncovered a 1912 George V penny and three worn copper buttons,

But as it was almost time to make his way home, Mark, who was spending an afternoon detectoring with a friend, turned on to a narrow farm track running along the edge of a nearby field near Much Wenlock.

And it was here that he struck gold - literally.

'Ping'

With a loud 'ping' in his headphones, Mark realised he was on to something.

"I thought was going to be a large penny and the Target ID number seemed to tell me it was going to be something like that," said Mark.

"I dug the clog and turned it over and using a pinpointing device, I located the find and disturbed the soil where it dropped out into the hole. There was a round bright yellow object.

The slightly-damaged gold coin

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"I instantly thought it was a gold bottle cap having been fooled before. It was only after a second look that my heart skipped a beat and I started shaking as I could see the details of a hammered medieval coin and an Angel staring back at me.

"I shouted at Paul even though he was a few feet away from me digging his own find out, which turned out to be scrap, that I had found a gold hammered and he replied that he didn't believe me. After convincing him I was being genuine, he came over to share in the excitement.

"After we finished staring at it for what seemed an age we finished detecting and I went off to show the landowner this amazing find. She couldn't believe it. At that point in time I did not the scarcity of the coin."

Gently

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On returning home, Mark cleaned the coin as gently as he could and then turned detective.

Through research he discovered that the coin was more than 500 years old - a Full gold 'Angel' of Richard III and classed as rare.

He has now been in touch with the Portable Antiquities Scheme officer for Shropshire who has confirmed that the coin does indeed date back to the late 1400s and the reign of Richard III.

The coin is Mark's biggest and most important find - but over the last five years he has been detecting he has had many finds including a Bronze age spearhead, an early Silver Saxon coin, Lead Pilgrims ampulla, a few medieval silver hammered coins, Medieval buckles, Roman Fibulas and silver Roman Denarius.

The coin, which has damage to its edges, shows St Michael slaying dragon.

A similar coin, which was intact and may have been dropped by one of Richard III's soldiers fleeing from the Battle of Bosworth fetched more than £40,000 at an auction in 2017.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

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

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