Friday, October 28, 2016

Rare gold coin worth up to £250,000 discovered in child's pirate treasure collection

One of Britain's rarest coins will go under the hammer at an auction house next month after being discovered in a little boy's toy box. The Queen Anne 'Vigo' five guinea gold coin will be put up for sale at Boningtons saleroom in Epping, Essex, on Wednesday, November 16. The auctioneers have put an estimate of between £200,000 and £250,000 on the find.

The coin is one of only twenty made from the 7.5lbs of gold seized from Spanish treasure ships by the British in Vigo Bay, northern Spain, on October 23, 1702. A man from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, who cannot be named, has passed the coin to Boningtons for sale, after being given it by his grandfather years ago. He had no idea of its value, however, until he showed it to Boningtons' coin specialist, Gregory Tong, who instantly recognised the rare coin, of which fewer than 15 examples are known.

"My grandad had travelled all over the world during his working life and had collected many coins from the various countries he had been," the vendor said. "He gave me bags of coins to play with throughout my early years because I was into pirate treasure. As time passed these coins went back into bags and boxes and were forgotten about until I re-discovered them after my grandad passed away. I looked back through the coins, remembering the stories I made up about them when I was small, and then gave them to my own son to play with and put into his own treasure box.

"My little boy has been playing with this coin as I did all those years ago." The series of 'Vigo' coins were made out of treasure captured by the British fleet after they failed to take Cadiz in 1702 but managed to seize gold and silver from Franco-Spanish treasure ships coming back from America. Struck the following year, the coins were made as part of an attempt to detract attention from the British failure at Cadiz. The treasure was delivered through London and received at the Royal Mint by the Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton. The coin is only the sixth example of its type to be offered for sale in the last 50 years.

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