New England shilling sells for £260,000


20 November 2021
A mid-17th Century New England shilling, which had been found in a sweet tin at Bywell Hall in Northumberland, has fetched over a quarter of a million pounds at auction.

The rare example of one of the Massachusetts Bay Colony coin, struck in 1652, was offered recently by London-based auctioneers Morton & Eden Ltd.

The rare shilling, one of the first coins to be used in the USA, had been found by the father of Wentworth Beaumont, a descendant of early New England settler William Wentworth, at his family's home of Bywell Hall in Northumberland.

Featuring a simple Roman numeral XII on one side, to signify 12 pence, and the initials 'NE', for New England, on the other, the coins were produced – against the wishes of the English authorities – to address a coin shortage at the time, but the design quickly proved to be easy to counterfeit, and so was replaced by something more complex.

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Coin specialist James Morton said in a statement:

“I am not surprised at the amount of interest this exceptional coin attracted. The price paid, which was above estimate, reflects its extraordinary historic significance and outstanding original state of preservation.”

Image: Morton & Eden Ltd

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