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Were you rich if you had this pound in your pocket in 1642?

Posted on 12/06/2019 in Press Coverage

What does £1 buy you today? A bar of chocolate, a loaf, one-and-a-bit copies of the Derby Telegraph?

Our coins expert Don Collins has consigned a wonderfully rare coin – a Charles I Oxford pound from 1642.

It swept me back in time to 17th century England, a time of poverty for many. The poor relied on the harvest to eat mainly vegetables and potatoes, and many did not eat every day. Mortality rates were high with ailments like worms, plague, dysentery and griping of the guts sending people to an early grave.

Back than £1 was more than most earned in a week. A labourer received around £17 a year while at the top end of the scale an engineer could take home £131.

According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, £1 in 1642 equated to £232.44. That rare coin is worth far more now. It’s entered our July 25 Coins Auction with an estimate of £3,000-£6,000. Any coins languishing at home? Don Collins offers free valuations of coins and bank notes, every Wednesday, 10am-2pm, at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall.