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Dartmouth father and son find gold coins on Slapton Sands

By Herald Express  |  Posted: March 09, 2013

  • find: One of the gold quarter nobles found on Slapton beach by Mathew Cusack, right

A FAMILY struck gold on the beach when they came across two medieval coins glistening in the sands.

Mathew Cusack was out with his wife and son on Slapton Sands when they discovered two gold quarter nobles dating back more than 600 years.

Initially Mr Cusack thought they had found the shiny metal top of a discarded wine bottle.

But when their son's metal detector — a brand new birthday present — suddenly started to go 'barmy' they looked again.

The small coins bore the minted hallmarks of Edward III and Henry V.

They were officially declared treasure at an inquest held by the Torbay and South Devon coroner Ian Arrow and may now be bought by Plymouth Museum.

The Cusacks stand to be several hundred pounds richer as a result, but if Plymouth decides not to buy, the family has promised to put them on display in their hometown of Dartmouth instead.

Mr Cusack said: "There was a very low tide and we were going up and down the beach for 45 minutes getting 2ps, 1ps and bits of nail.

"I then spotted what I thought was the top of a wine bottle all crushed and shiny.

"Then the metal detector went barmy making very loud beeps."

He noticed the object looked too clean and shiny to be modern money, which corrodes much faster than medieval coinage.

"We walked along another few paces and there was another just in the stones, lying flat," he added.

The family reported the coins, which were discovered at low spring tide close to the water's edge on February 19, 2011, to the Portable Antiquities Scheme based in Exeter which in turn told the British Museum.

Danielle Wootton, a finds liaison officer for the scheme, researched the coins.

The first coin was dated to between 1361 and 1363 during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377).

The second, which is in slightly better condition, can be dated to the reign of his great grandson Henry V (1413-1422).

The coins will now go to the treasure valuation committee where a market value will be decided.

Mr Arrow said he was satisfied the finds amounted to treasure and had been discovered on land which belonged to the Crown Estate.

The noble was the first English coin to be produced in quantity and were popular from the reign of Edward III until about 1470.

Mr Cusack said afterwards: "If Plymouth do not want to buy them then our intention is to lend them to Dartmouth Museum and they can look after them."

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