The York Archaeological Trust is excavating a medieval dump in the Hungate area. They’ve opened the dig to volunteers, and one lucky railway controller struck 14th century gold.
The coin, known as a Quarter Noble was found two weeks ago and is estimated to be worth about £200, but back in the reign of Edward III, it’s loss would have been a bitter blow to its owner.
Jon Kenny, community archaeologist at York Archaeological Trust, said: “It would be fair to say that it’s the sort of thing that, if you weren’t that wealthy, it could have been your life savings.
“Whoever lost it would have really regretted it.”
The Quarter Noble is from what is know as the Fourth Coinage (1351-1377). You can tell because there’s a fleur de lis in the middle of the cross on the tails side. Here’s the only picture I could find of the coin from the dig:
Here’s a more detailed version of a Quarter Noble from a coin sale site:
It’s valued at £550 – 600, three times the estimate of the York coin. It looks much shinier, so I suppose it’s worth more money because it’s in better condition.
The York one is cooler anyway because this is the first time anybody on the dig has found any gold at all. Precious metals didn’t get tossed on the trash pile much in the Middle Ages. (Or now for that matter.)
Richard Daniel, the finder, has been volunteering on the dig for 18 months. He used to press his face against the glass during a previous York dig but never imagined he’d get the chance to join in the fun.
Find out all about the Hungate dig on its website.