Strong bidding for Braintree Hoard of 122 Anglo-Saxon coins believed buried in 1066

A significant hoard of 122 Anglo-Saxon pennies that were found by two metal detectorists in February of 2019 near Braintree in Essex sold for a hammer price of £325,560 (about $554,680 Cdn.) on Feb. 21. They had been expected to fetch up to £180,000 ( about $307,000 Cdn.) with the proceeds of the hoard being shared between the two finders and the landowner.

The sale’s highest price was paid for a scarce single specimen from the Hastings mint, which fetched a hammer price of £24,000 (about $41,000 Cdn.). It was bought by an online bidder [lot 1045]. The Hastings coin offered was only the second to appear at public auction in the last 40 years, with the other being sold by Noonans in September 2023 for a hammer price of £20,000 (about $34,000 Cdn.)

Elsewhere a Harold II penny that was minted in Huntington sold for a hammer price of £11,000 (about $18,744 Cdn.) – more than double its pre-sale estimate [lot 1121] and an example minted in Dover with a magnificent portrait realized a hammer price of £9,000 (about $15,300 Cdn.) [lot 1119]. Also of note was an extremely rare Harold II penny minted in Rochester, that sold for a hammer price of £8,000 (about $13,600 Cdn.) — about double the estimate [lot 1092].

The landowners attended the sale and afterwards said: “We are delighted with the results which is a life-changing amount of money for the finders.”

It is thought that the hoard was buried during the course of the year 1066 – within five years of all bar two of the coins being minted. “While the deposition of the Braintree Hoard might not relate directly to the events of 1066, the fact that it was never recovered surely did,” said Noonans Coin specialist Bradley Hopper. “Twelve shillings was a considerable sum of money, and its retrieval must have been prevented by some great personal misfortune; we cannot say with any certainty whether or not the Braintree hoard’s owner died fighting at Hastings, but it is a tantalizing possibility.”

 The two detectorists, who had been searching together for 20 years, had only found copper coins and crotal bells previously on the field, but on this day, a signal from the Minelab CTX 3030 revealed at a depth of only four inches a silver penny that was not recognizable. Half a dozen more turned up in a 30-metre radius, and that evening, they realized they were rare pennies of Harold II. Over the next few days, around 70 more were found by slow and methodical use of the detectors. This was repeated in 2020, with another 70 coins uncovered.

The detectorists found 144 coins in total that date from the last two Anglo-Saxon kings of England – Edward the Confessor and Harold II Godwinsson – that had been minted in various towns and cities ranging from London to Cambridge and Canterbury to Ipswich, Chichester, Guildford, Worcester, Hastings, Lincoln, Huntingdon and Maldon in Essex as well as rare mints such as Sudbury in Suffolk and Bridport in Dorset.  

 They have been processed under the terms of the 1996 Treasure Act, and Colchester Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge decided to buy 16 coins between them from the hoard, including two 11th century Byzantine coins. In late 2023 the rest of the coins were disclaimed and returned to the finders.

Leave a Reply

Canadian Coin News


Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.