A unique silver penny dug up in a field near Nottingham last November has revealed the existence of a previously unknown mint during the reign of King Stephen (1135-54).
The coin, of an unknown type, is expected to fetch up to £10,000
Dix Noonan Webb on April 2. It was discovered by a
metal-detecting enthusiast from Sheffield.
Examination has revealed that it was issued by Robert de
Ferrers, second Earl of Derby, in the early 1140s during a period
when royal control in England had all but broken down. At the time
Stephen was fighting a bitter civil war, later known as The
Anarchy, with his cousin Matilda over who should have the
As the central authorities were not producing sufficient
coinage, barons such as the Earl of Derby stepped in to provide
The penny was struck at Tutbury Castle, near Burton upon Trent,
the home of the Earl, by a moneyer called Walchelin, who was
probably a member of his family. It is clearly related to a group
of coins struck at Derby by the same man, DNW told
Not only is it unique but it was not previously known that
Tutbury Castle, now largely ruined but still used for events, had
been a mint.
"It still hasn't sunk in, it's the find of a lifetime," said the
man who dug up the penny, who has been metal detecting for four
years. "It's going to change the history of coinage at that time
because the experts thought that everything that could be found had
already been discovered."
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