Ancient coins to take pride of place as revamped museum reopens

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

A HOARD of rare ancient coins will take pride of place at an exhibition when the newly-revamped Wrexham Museum opens its doors.

The collection of 31 coins date from the 15th century and experts suspect the owner must have been of good standing as they would have been a huge sum at the time, a sum far too large for the average worker to be carrying around.

The value of the coins would have been 11 shillings and 11 pence, which might not be a fortune by today’s standards, but for just two pence a person could have bought two fat ready-to-eat cockerels or two gallons of ale.

And the total amount is the equivalent of a year’s wages for a maid and servant or eight weeks for a labourer.

Jonathon Gammond, an officer at Wrexham Museum, believes the coins were minted under the reigns of Edward I, who sat on the throne between 1272 and 1307, and Edward III, 1327-1377, and is proud to say they are now the formal property of Wrexham Museum, which is due to reopen in mid-February, and the people of Wrexham. He said: “It’s the early 15th century. Wales is in revolt as the forces of the King of England and the supporters of Owain Glyndwr struggle for control of the nation’s destiny.

“In such troubled times it is perhaps not surprising that a traveller, hurrying to a place of safety in the dangerous borderlands of Wales, would fail to notice his money bag falling from his belt.”

According to Jonathon, the discovery was made by two keen treasure hunters who were scouring the fields around Llay with a metal-detector and, after the find was officially reported to a finds officer under the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the coins were determined to be roughly 700 years old.

Coins in the Middle Ages were made from precious metals and by clipping the edges of existing coins, the crown could produce more money from less silver – the medieval version of devaluation.

The clipping of the coins in the Llay hoard indicates that they were probably buried soon after 1412.

Jonathon said: “These coins have had quite a life.

“Most people of this time would have worn their money on a belt around their waist but it was still relatively easy to lose cash without realising.

“But a person of average means would not have been walking around with this amount of money and if they did, they would be taking much better care of it.

“By the standards of the day it’s a serious amount of money.”

He added: “It is very unlikely any ordinary person would have amassed this much money, let alone carry it around with them while travelling.

“We don’t know who lost the coins. Perhaps they belonged to an official or a wealthy merchant from Chester or Wrexham.

“Perhaps they belonged to a soldier of fortune returning home from service in the king’s army, or even overseas. But whoever it was, we can be sure they missed it.”

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read