A gold coin dating back to the 15th century has been discovered on Newfoundland’s south coast. It is the oldest-known English coin found in an archaeological context in Canada.
The coin was found during the summer of 2022 by Edward Hynes, who reported it to the Provincial Government. Consultation with Paul Berry, former curator of the Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum, indicates the coin is a Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427. The coin would have been a sizeable amount of money in the 1400s, valued at 1 shilling 8 pence.
Exactly how the gold quarter noble coin made its way to Newfoundland and Labrador is a mystery; however, Mr. Berry says the coin was probably not in circulation when it was lost. Research on the coin is continuing and further work on the site where it was found may be conducted in the future.
“I commend Mr. Hynes for recognizing the importance of protecting Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage resources by reporting his discovery of this very rare artifact, and I encourage others to follow his example,” says Steve Crocker, Newfoundland’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation. “These types of artifacts help us understand and appreciate the history of our province, and provide context for those who visit Newfoundland and Labrador from around the world.”
This is the second time in recent years that a medieval coin has been discovered in Newfoundland. In 2021, a silver coin minted in the 1490s was found at Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site. Click here to read more about that find.
Top Image: Both sides of the coin. A Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427. Photo courtesy Government of Newfoundland and Labrador