Medieval coin hoard sells for £325,560

An important hoard of 122 Anglo-Saxon pennies that were found by two metal detectorists, in 2019 near Braintree in Essex sold for a hammer price of £325,560 at an auction held by Noonans Mayfair. They had been expected to fetch up to £180,000 with the proceeds of the hoard being shared between the two finders and the landowner.

The highest price of the sale was paid for a very rare single specimen from the Hastings mint which fetched a hammer price of £24,000 – four times its pre-sale high estimate of £5,000-6,000. It was bought by an online bidder. The Hastings coin offered was only the second to appear at public auction in the last 40 years with the other being sold by Noonans last year for a hammer price of £20,000.

Coins from the Braintree Hoard – Photo courtesy Noonans

Elsewhere a Harold II penny that was minted in Huntington sold for a hammer price of £11,000 – more than double its pre-sale estimate of £4,000-5,000 and an example minted in Dover with a magnificent portrait realised a hammer price of £9,000 against an estimate of £5,000-6,000. Also of note was an extremely rare Harold II penny that had been minted in Rochester, that sold for a hammer price of £8,000 against an estimate of £4,000-5,000.

The landowners attended the sale and afterwards said, “We are delighted with the results which is a life-changing amount of money for the finders.”


Following the sale, Nigel Mills, Artefact and Coin Expert at Noonans commented, “Wow, this has exceeded all our expectations. The atmosphere in the packed saleroom was euphoric with bidders (in person and online) wanting to purchase just one example from this important collection.”

Lot 1119 – a penny of Harold II minted in Dover. It sold for £9,000 – ohoto courtesy Noonans/

With two exceptions, all of the coins were minted in 1066 or just a few years before. They were probably all buried during the eventful year of 1066. “While the deposition of the Braintree Hoard might not relate directly to the events of 1066, the fact that it was never recovered surely did,” said Noonans Coin specialist Bradley Hopper. “Twelve shillings was a considerable sum of money, and its retrieval must have been prevented by some great personal misfortune; we cannot say with any certainty whether or not the Braintree hoard’s owner died fighting at Hastings, but it is a tantalising possibility.”

The two detectorists had been searching together for 20 years but had only found copper coins and crotal bells previously on the field. However, on this day a signal from the Minelab CTX 3030 revealed at a depth of only four inches a silver penny that was not recognisable. Half a dozen more turned up in a 30-metre radius and that evening they realised they were rare pennies of Harold II. Over the next few days around 70 more were found by slow and methodical use of the detectors. This was repeated in 2020 with another 70 coins uncovered.

An extremely rare Harold II penny that had been minted in Rochester, which sold for £8,000 against an estimate of £4,000-5,000. Photo courtesy Noonans.

The detectorists found 144 coins in total that date from the last two Anglo-Saxon kings of England – Edward the Confessor and Harold II Godwinsson – that had been minted in various towns and cities ranging from London to Cambridge and Canterbury to Ipswich, Chichester, Guildford, Worcester, Hastings, Lincoln, Huntingdon and Maldon in Essex as well as rare mints such as Sudbury in Suffolk and Bridport in Dorset.


They have been processed under the terms of the 1996 Treasure Act, and Colchester Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge decided to buy 16 coins between them from the hoard, including two 11th-century Byzantine coins. In late 2023 the rest of the coins were disclaimed and returned to the finders.

Top Image: It was this coin that fetched £24,000 at auction. Photo courtesy Noonans