Rare Richard III coin fetches £40,000 at auction

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14 December 2017
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DNW---Michelle-Vall-2-29770.jpeg Metal detectorist Michelle Vall
A rare gold coin which may have been dropped by one of King Richard III’s soldiers fleeing the Bosworth battlefield in 1485 has fetched £40,000 at a Dix Noonan Webb auction.

A rare gold coin which may have been dropped by one of King Richard III’s soldiers fleeing the Bosworth battlefield in 1485 has fetched £40,000 at a Dix Noonan Webb auction.

The Richard III Half Angel, which was found by metal detectorist Michelle Vall (pictured) from Blackpool in a field at Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, had been expected to fetch £10,000 to £15,000. It is one of just a handful of coins which survive from Richard III’s two-year reign.

An amazing find

Michelle, a 51 year-old primary school teaching assistant from Blackpool, was taking part in a charity detecting rally at Monks Kirby, between Coventry and Leicester, in September 2017 when she discovered the Half Angel. “After detecting for two and a half hours in a farmer’s field, I got a signal,” she said. “The coin was deep down, about 16 inches below the surface, and the soil there is thick clay so it took a bit of digging out.”

“I spotted this glint of gold in the hole, although I obviously did not know exactly what it was at first. I put it in the palm of my hand and then I went back to the organisers’ tent. One of them identified it and people became very excited. That was when I realised that it was a Half Angel.'

Auction excitement

Auctioneer Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at Dix Noonan Webb, said that there had been "considerable" advance commission bidding as he began to sell the coin. Bidding began at £17,000 and a fiercely fought contest drove the price to twice that.

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The auctioneer's hammer came down at £34,000. With buyer's commission added, the successful bidder, an anonymous buyer in the saleroom, paid £40,800. The money will be split between Michelle and the landowner.

A spokesman for Dix Noonan Webb said: "Richard III was only on the throne for two years and just a handful of Half Angel coins from his reign have survived. It was therefore a rare chance for buyers to acquire one and the strong bidding reflected this. The fact that it was found a few miles from the site of Bosworth Field, the battle where Richard lost his life, made it even more attractive."

The Half Angel gold coin was introduced in 1472, its name deriving from the image on one side of the archangel Michael slaying a dragon. It was half the value of the Angel coin, introduced in 1465, which is so iconic that many English pubs are named after it.

Dix Noonan Webb website.