Unexpected find of a rare Richard III gold half angel coin by Detectorist

05 Dec 2017  Tue

A rare gold coin from the reign of Richard III was found near the King’s grave and will be auctioned soon. Michelle Vall from Blackpool at Monks Kirby in Warwickshire found the gold half angel coin with a metal detector just a few miles from Bosworth Field where the king died.

The auction is scheduled for Dec. 13, the middle of a three-day auction in London. The coin has an estimate of £15,000 ($20,304 U.S.).

Just a handful of gold half angels survive from the king’s two-year reign.

In September, Detectorist Vall, a 51-year-old primary school teaching assistant from Blackpool, was taking part in a charity detecting rally at Monks Kirby, between Coventry and Leicester, when she found the coin.

After detecting for two and a half hours in a farmer’s field, Vall got a signal. The coin was about 16 inches below the surface, and the soil there is thick clay so it took a bit of digging out.

She spotted this glint of gold in the hole, although she did not know exactly what it was at first. Then she put it in the palm of her hand and then she went back to the organisers’ tent. One of them identified it and people became very excited. That was when she realised that it was a half angel.

The half angel gold coin was introduced in 1472, its name deriving from the image on one side of the archangel Michael slaying a dragon.

Introduced in 1465, it was half the value of the angel coin and many English pubs are named after it. Richard III issues are rare because his reign was brief.

Richard was a controversial figure and many are interested to know about him, particularly since his remains were discovered in Leicester in 2012.

The Battle of Bosworth Field was fought on Aug. 22, 1485, and marked the end of the Wars of the Roses between the Lancastrians and Yorkists that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century.

The Lancastrian Henry Tudor defeated the last Yorkist King Richard III and began the Tudor dynasty. It was one of the most important days in English history.