Minted 360 years ago, the uneven, hand-hammered silver coin wouldn’t have gone too far. Today the silver threepenny coin that amateur treasure-hunter John Stoner dug up in a farmer’s field could probably buy an estate. The extremely rare New England coin, bearing the date 1652, is expected to sell for over £1million when it is auctioned.|
It has been hailed as one of the finest examples of a currency produced in the days of the Pilgrim Fathers in a land that would become the United States. How the 17th century threepenny ended up in the village of King’s Clipstone, Nottinghamshire is not known.
| It was made by placing a blank silver disc on an engraved die, sandwiching it with another die for the reverse side, then hitting it with a hammer. The III in Roman numerals shows its denomination to differentiate it from tuppence, sixpence and shilling coins. Although it bears the date 1652, the oak tree on one side shows could have been minted in any year between 1653, when the original simpler design was changed to beat counterfeiters, and 1682, when a new series of coins was introduced.|
Coin expert Peter Spencer confirmed it was a genuine threepenny piece from the first authorized colonial coinage, commissioned and struck in Boston, Massachusetts.