Rare gold coin from north Norfolk could fetch £140,000

A rare gold 'Leopard' florin found in north Norfolk is to be auctioned in London. 

A rare gold 'Leopard' florin found in north Norfolk is to be auctioned in London. - Credit: Jan Starnes / Dix Noonan Webb

An extremely rare medieval coin found in the Reepham area could fetch up to £140,000 at auction. 

The gold 'Leopard' florin from the rein of Edward III is one of only a handful known to exist, and is to go under the hammer in Mayfair.

Nigel Mills, a consultant at the auction house Dix Noonan Webb, said: “We are very pleased to be offering this important coin for sale in March. It is in very fine condition and retains light surface marks consistent with a field find.

"Only five are known to still exist and this is by far the finer of the two known specimens that have come to auction. The other three were all sold at auction before 1960 and two are now in the British Museum, and the third is at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.”

A rare gold 'Leopard' florin found in north Norfolk is to be auctioned in London. 

A rare gold 'Leopard' florin found in north Norfolk is to be auctioned in London. - Credit: Jan Starnes / Dix Noonan Webb

This coin was found by a metal-detectorist at a rally in north Norfolk in October 2019.

A gold 'noble' coin from the same era was discovered nearby by a different finder and the two coins were declared a 'treasure trove'.

They were disclaimed - meaning returned to their owners - in November last year.

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The coin was minted in 23 carat gold at the Tower of London in January 1344. 

It features a leopard sitting upright wearing a banner, had a face value of three shillings or 36 silver pennies. This type of coin was in circulation for just seven months before being withdrawn.

Mavis Mate, economic historian, said: “In 1339 the financial situation appeared so serious that the magnates in parliament voiced a fear that the shortage of silver coins might bring internal trade to a halt.”

This was coupled with Edward III’s war with France which drained any remaining money from England and sent it overseas in an attempt to gain allies in his dispute with Philip VI of France.

The coin will go under the hammer at the Dix Noonan Webb's coins, tokens and historical medals auction on March 8 and 9. The reserve price has been set at £100,000-£140,000.