His father discovered a medieval English gold coin worth a record $875,000 on the first day he tried his new metal detector
When his children were born, Michael Leigh-Mallory gave up his passion for metal detecting. Now, at 10 and 13, they encouraged him to take up the hobby. On the first day he used his new metal detector, he found England’s oldest gold coin, dating back to the 13th century.
“The day after he arrived, I went to this field. It was a sunny day and within 15 minutes I found the coin. I knew it was gold, but I had no idea of its importance,” Leigh-Mallory told the Guardian.
The 52-year-old conservationist and amateur historian had unearthed the rare gold penny as it shone in a field in Devon, south-west England, and was advised to take it to the British Museum. It was discovered to be one of eight that existed, and the last one was discovered 260 years ago, according to The Metro.
The coin, made from gold from North Africa, was minted during the reign of Henry III, who was King of England between 1217 and 1272.
Not only did it bring immense joy to Leigh-Mallory and her family, but also a record hammer price of 648,000 ($878,778) when the piece sold at the Spink and Sons auction house in London, last week.
Spink told Insider the sale price made it the most valuable coin ever sold in the UK. A private collector bought it, reports say.
“It’s quite surreal, really,” Leigh-Mallory told the newspaper. “I’m just a normal guy who lives in Devon with his family, so this is truly a life-changing amount of money that will go towards their future.”
In a statement to Insider, Leigh-Mallory said he was “humbled and honored to be connected to the discovery and subsequent story offered to us by the staggering research undertaken by Spink and the wider academic community about of this room”.
He will share the profits of the discovery with the landowner. “The money will be invested in the future of my children, who show the same passion as me for our history. In fact, I really owe them for having found the piece in the first place, because they inspired me to go prospecting,” added Leigh-Mallory.