An extremely rare gold coinhas been discovered in a field in Wiltshire by a metal detectorist. Experts say the Anglo-Saxon coin could fetch as much as £200,000 at a planned auction in September.
The Gold Penny, or Mancus of 30 Pence weighs less than 5 grams and was struck during the time of the West Saxon King Ecgberht between 802 and 839.
It is thought that the coin was used for ceremonial or high status payments.
Experts believe it is likely to have come from a West Saxon mint, probably Southampton or Winchester.
Discovered in March 2020, this coin is believed to be the only one of its kind in private hands. Eight other specimens are held by institutions, including seven at the British museum.
This particular coin is considered the first to be associated with the monarchy during that era. It contains high-puritygold as well as small levels of silver and copper.
Peter Preston-Morley, head of the coin department at auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said:
This composition is consistent with that of natural gold which has been neither refined nor artificially alloyed. Gold of such purity is particularly malleable and easy to strike, but also more prone to wear and damage. None of the surface marks seem consistent with damage or alteration caused by attempts at mounting the coin for its use as a brooch or pendant.
It is believed that orders for these gold pennies or mancuses to be minted were only given on special occasions or religious events. Mr Preston-Morley said:
This coin probably represents a mancus, a gold denomination that first appeared in central and northern Italy, but was current in England already before the year 800. Mancuses would have been extremely valuable coins.
Mancus was a Anglo-Saxon unit of value equal to 30 silver pence and a single gold mancus would have bought the equivalent of 360 loaves of bread.