Gold coin in Canada could break a record, officials say

A recently discovered gold coin minted in London in the 1420s may be the oldest English coin ever found in Canada, according to a government press release.

A recently discovered gold coin minted in London in the 1420s may be the oldest English coin ever found in Canada, according to a government press release.

Photo from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

A gold coin recently discovered along the Canadian coast by a metal detector may be the oldest English coin ever found in the country.

Its discovery may call into question the generally accepted timeline of European exploration of the continent.

The coin, which is warped and intricately embossed, was found in the summer of 2022, according to a Nov. 9 press release from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Edward Hynes was scanning the coast of Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, with his metal detector when he heard an “exciting” beep, according to Saltwire. He then dug a two-inch deep hole and dug up the shiny piece.

“It was so bright yellow and very thin, and I didn’t think it was a gold coin. I thought it was almost a label of something or a button or something like that,” he told the outlet.

Hynes later reported his unearthed hoard to the government, according to the release, and a currency expert determined the coin to be a Henry VI quarter. It was minted in London sometime between 1422 and 1427, meaning it is more than three times older than the nation of Canada, founded in 1867.

As to how the coin made the more than 2,000-mile journey from the old world to the new, experts aren’t sure, though they say it was probably not in circulation when it was lost.

A silver coin produced in Canterbury, England, in the 1490s was found last year in the same province and heralded as the oldest English coin ever discovered in Canada — and possibly in all of North America, according to a government publication.

John Cabot, an Italian explorer, is credited with being the first European to travel to Newfoundland in 1497, according to the Royal Museums Greenwich.

However, the discovery of Henry VI’s noble district minted in the 1420s, alongside unconfirmed accounts and new research, could cast doubt on Cabot’s achievement.

According to popular legend, Irish monks, led by Saint Brendan, sailed to Newfoundland in the 6th century AD

And a 2021 study published in Nature revealed evidence that in 1021 AD. Vikings lived in Newfoundland

“There’s been some knowledge of a pre-16th-century European presence here for a while, you know, with the exception of Norse and so forth,” provincial archaeologist Jamie Brake told the CBC. “The possibility of perhaps a pre-16th century occupation would be quite astonishing and very important in this part of the world.”

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