An Eastbourne metal detectorist is thousands of pounds better off after a unique Anglo-Saxon coin he uncovered fetched £78,000 at auction this week.
The Æthelberht II coin, which was found by 48-year-old pest control specialist Darrin Simpson in a Sussex field, provides a clue to a centuries-old murder. An auction held at Dix Noonan Webb in London this Wednesday saw the coin go under the hammer for £65,000. By the time buyers’ commission was added the winning bidder paid £78,000.
Mr Simpson said, “It’s fantastic, an amazing result. I am really quite shocked.”
He will be splitting the £65,000, giving half to the farmer who owns the field where the discovery took place and a quarter to three friends who were detecting with him when the coin was uncovered.
A spokesman for Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins and medal specialists, said, “There was fierce bidding for this unique coin.
“The price paid shows that the worldwide market for important pieces like this Æthelberht II coin is extremely strong.”
Bidders in the room, on the internet and those who had lodged advance commission bids pushed the price up rapidly from its £17,000 starting point.
Mr Simpson was hurrying to shelter from a hailstorm in March when he picked up a signal on his detector so dug down several inches and found the penny which was identified by experts as the only one of its type ever discovered. It provides a clue to the murder of an East Anglian king by a neighbouring monarch and is only the fourth ever found from the reign of Æthelberht II. The other three are in museums and have a different design.