A collection of coins belonging to one man’s late father was valued at £60,000-£80,000 on a recent episode of the British TV show Antiques Roadshow, filmed in Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire.
The coins—known as Maundy money—were given to the poor by the monarchy in an ancient ceremony known as the Royal Maundy.
According to The Royal Mint, the ceremony can trace its roots back to the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. From about the fourth century, the ceremony of washing the feet of the poor was accompanied by gifts of food and clothing; however, in the 18th century, the act of washing the feet of the poor was discontinued.
In the following century, money was substituted for the various gifts of food and clothing. This form of Maundy money began during the reign of Charles II with an undated issue of hammered coins in 1662.
“The coins were a four penny, three penny, two penny and one penny piece but it was not until 1670 that a dated set of all four coins appeared. Prior to this, ordinary coinage was used for Maundy gifts, silver pennies alone being used by the Tudors and Stuarts for the ceremony,” reads the Royal Mint website.
The Maundy money brought to the recent Antiques Roadshow was stored within two cabinets. The late collector’s widow and son explained they had never opened one of the cabinets because there was a piece of tape holding the lid shut. The son said his own young daughter placed the tape on the cabinet for her grandfather shortly before he died, and the family is reluctant to remove it.
“We can’t really take it off because she’d left it there for him to find,” he added.
Antiques Roadshow expert John Foster valued the coins based on the single cabinet he was able to open.
“I’ve never seen a collection of Maundy money like it,” said Foster. “These can be worth £30-£50 each, which isn’t a lot. But when you think that you’ve got over 2,000 of them in these two cabinets, that comes out at between £60,000-£80,000.”
That’s about $95,830-$127,780 Cdn.