AN EXTREMELY rare silver penny discovered by a Dalton metal detectorist is expected to fetch up to £10,000 at auction next month.

The coin, one of only 25 known specimens, was discovered by Graeme Rushton.

It depicts Stephen, who was King of England between 1135 and 1154, and his wife Matilda.

Mr Rushton made the discovery on the border of South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 2018.

He said: “It was only my second visit to the site which had just been ploughed and flattened.

“After about 45 minutes walking up a slight rise in the field, I got a signal, and after digging down five to six inches, I uncovered the coin, which at first I didn’t recognise.

“It was only after showing pictures of it to The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge that I realised how significant the discovery was.”

Mr Rushton, 50, owns UnearthedUK, a shop in Dalton - currently being rebuilt - that sells metal detectors and accessories.

He has been metal detecting since he was eight years old and set up Unearthed 10 years ago.

His find is to be auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb, auctioneers and valuers, on its website on September 16 at 11am. It is expected to fetch up to £10,000.

The location of Mr Rushton’s discovery was not far from where the Battle of Lincoln took place in February 1141.

Stephen, whose forces battled an army commanded by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, was defeated, captured and imprisoned for six months in Bristol Castle.

The coin depicts the king and wife Matilda facing each-other with a tall sceptre between them. Visible alongside the couple is the legend ‘STIENS’.

On the reverse side of the penny is a cross fleury symbol positioned over a cross pommee and surrounded by various ornaments.

The coin was minted in York in the early 1140s and is in good condition.

In England and Wales, any item that qualifies as ‘treasure’ in law must be reported to the local coroner within 14 days of being found.

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