Henry III penny fetches £540,000… and £18,000


25 January 2022
A Henry III gold penny described as England’s 'first gold coin' has fetched £540k at a Spink auction, whilst a newly minted NFT version of the coin has sold for £18,000 becoming the first Numismatic NFT Coin to be offered by an International Auction House.

The Henry III Gold Penny was discovered by a metal detectorist in September 2021 near Hemyock (Devon), and is one of just eight of the 13th-century coins known to exist – and one of only four in private hands – and the first addition since the accession of the Conte specimen to the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) in 2001.

A spokesperson for Spink auction house said:

'This coin survives as a remarkable and exceedingly rare contemporary witness to Henry’s true self-image and his clear affinity with the iconography of England’s first patron Saint Edward the Confessor and serves as an ultimate demonstration of Henry’s influence on and personalisation of the final design.'

The coin of Henry III (1216-1272), was authorised on 16 August 1257, London, by Willem FitzOtto of Gloucester, the King's Goldsmith.

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The 'Non Fungible Penny'

Meanwhile, a specially-commissioned virtual moving graphic, recalling the moment the coin was found, was also offered at the auction.

The moving graphic 'NFT' captures the moment the 'soil is finally removed after 765 years to unearth the most important single coin find made in Britain for over a decade, and the first time a new coin of this type has been placed in the archaeological record for almost 260 years.'

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The moving graphic then sees the portrait of Henry III wink and smile, as shown in the video below.

The funds from the NFT sale will be donated to two charities chosen by the vendor and Spink, specifically The Rodney Cook Memorial Fund and the Himal Foundation.

What is an NFT?

The acronym ‘NFT’ stands for ‘non-fungible token’ and is a unit of data stored on a blockchain.

This blockchain cannot be altered and so provides proof of ownership and a record of the price paid for a particular unit stored as an asset.

So, a crypto or ‘NFT coin’ is a digital image stored as a piece of data within a digital ledger which proves that the asset is unique and not interchangeable.