The £540,000 Henry III gold coin result at Spink reported in ATG No 2528.

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Michael Leigh Mallory was either blessed or lucky with the find of this coin sold for £540,000, but as my experience of detecting with him shows, detecting can follow an entertaining pattern of varied fortunes.

Michael and I are friends of 22 years; we detected together for several years around 2008-12. We each purchased identical Bulgarian-made Gold Mask detectors and later both of us enthusiastically upgraded from model 1 to model 3+.

Notable, however, was the frequency of ‘coinciding finds’ made as we two friends detected alongside each other as both detectors would often bleep simultaneously.

The field near Hemyock where the celebrated Henry III coin was found was one of our early detecting sites. I clearly recall that as we passed within what I now realise was within 5-15ft of this coin, he and I simultaneously yelled ‘coin signal!’

He uncovered a good condition 1596 silver half groat of Elizabeth 1 – while my spade produced a corroded 1914 copper ha’penny.

On a different area of the same farm, while detecting an ancient footpath Mike dug three good condition silver coins dating between 1815-1915 while I simultaneously found respectively: a belt buckle, a suitcase fastener and a Georgian furniture key… Both of us were following the exact same track.

At another local Blackdown Hillsfarm, while I was lovingly uncovering a Victorian grocer’s 1/4lb weight he uncovered a valuable Georgian period falconer’s silver identity leg tag identifying the falcon owner as being from an important Somerset manor house.


The £540,000 Henry III gold coin result at Spink reported in ATG No 2528.

On another occasion locally, he unearthed a vintage car bonnet mascot of a classical maiden while I found a lost bath tap.

It all became part of a long pattern of usually Mike finding hammered silver coins, while I found squashed beer cans. Eventually I found this quite funny.

I remember our first fishing trip together… guess what? I caught a 2lb bass while he landed a 16lb cod.

I still cherish my musket ball and my 1937 half-crown. Am I hard-done-by? Definitely not, but I should be asking Michael about next week’s lottery numbers!

Christopher Shewen