A 600-year-old gold coin discovered in Newfoundland could be the oldest one found in Canada.
History enthusiast Edward Hynes discovered the coin this past summer along Newfoundland’s south coast, according to a Nov. 9 Canadian Press report. The exact location has been kept secret to discourage attracting treasure seekers.
Calling it a “big deal,” provincial archeologist Jamie Brake told the Canadian Press he knew he was looking at something special after receiving photos of the gold coin from Hynes.
“It’s surprisingly old,” Brake said in an interview. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
After consulting with a former curator at the Bank of Canada’s currency museum, it was determined the gold coin is a Henry VI quarter noble, which dates to about 600 years old. This predates the first documented European contact with North America since the Vikings.
With a face value of one shilling and eight pence, the coin was minted in London between 1422 and 1427—70 years before John Cabot landed on Newfoundland’s shores in 1497 after setting sail from the English port of Bristol.
Brake told the Canadian Press the coin’s age does not mean someone from Europe was on the island before Cabot. He said the coin may have belonged to a later settler’s collection.