Teen metal detectorists’ ancient coins – one from 1066 - sell for thousands at Hansons

Posted on 27/10/2020 in Press Coverage

Coins dating back nearly 1,000 years – found by two teenage metal detectorists - have sold for thousands of pounds at auction.

Reece Pickering, from Great Yarmouth, was 16 when he discovered a rare Harold II silver penny from 1066, the year of the Battle of Hastings, while out metal detecting with his dad, Jonny Crowe, at Topcroft, a village near Bungay in Norfolk in August.

The 954-year-old coin sold for £4,000 to a UK buyer when it went under the hammer at Hansons’ Historica Auction on October 26.

Another teen metal detecting discovery, a silver Henry I penny, AD 1100-1135, also soared to success. It sold for £3,100 to a UK buyer. It was found on September 9 by Essex student Walter Taylor, then 15, in a farmer’s field in his home county.

Adam Staples, Historica expert at Hansons, said: “We’re delighted with the results - and for the boys. They were two exceptional finds that deserved to do well. As a metal detectorist myself, I know how exciting it feels to make discoveries like this.”

Reece’s father Jonny, a 41-year-old welder, said: “The coin, which has been recorded with The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, is the only one of its type known to exist. The day Reece found it we were out metal detecting in a couple of farmer’s fields. We’d only come across rubbish. The next minute I heard Reece shouting and waving from the other side of the field. I went over and there he was with his find. He kicked the dirt away, picked up the coin and gave it a wipe. We knew it was special.

“We put it up for ID and it turned out to be a rare Cambridge mint Harold II penny. Reece has just turned 17 but he was only 16 when he found it. He’s been metal detecting for a couple of years, in fact he introduced me to the hobby. He loves history.”

Reece, a catering apprentice, said: It was pretty special to find. I wasn’t expecting to come across such a scarce and remarkable coin. It’s a day I will remember forever. I can’t imagine finding something as special as this again. You just never know what’s beneath your feet.”

Harold II was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England. He reigned from January 6, 1066 until his death at the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066. He was fighting the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror during the Norman conquest of England. His death marked the end of Anglo-Saxon rule over England.

Walter Taylor, 16, who lives near Ongar in Essex and is a student at Brentwood County High School, said: “I found my coin in a farmer’s field in South Essex. I’d been out metal detecting with my dad and uncle for about for four hours. I was constantly digging hot rock (mineralised rock) but finding nothing. Then the register on my detector rose from 26 to 76.

“The coin was buried about four inches deep in the ground. I thought it was a silver penny but when I swiped the mud off it, I saw a face staring at me. I knew it could be a good one and sent the picture to an expert. It’s really rare. I’ve been metal detecting since I was four and this is my biggest find.”

The coin depicts Henry I pointing at a comet. Coincidentally, the Neowise comet was travelling through our skies when Walter found it. The Normans were fascinated by the stars so astronomical symbols feature on coins. The penny was struck after a victory at Tinchebrai, Normandy, in 1106. The battle was between invaders led by King Henry I of England and the Norman army of his elder brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy.

Both coins have gone through the correct reporting procedures and funds will be split 50/50 with the landowners.

The coins were sold in Hansons' October 26-27 Historica, Coins, Banknotes and Antiquities Auction. To find out more, email [email protected]. View the catalogue at