Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

Bruce Campbell was just looking for a way to get off the couch and out of the house. He had no plans to help rewrite history.

By the time he dug down in the blue clay and pulled out an unusual black coin, it had already been a pretty good day. It was getting dark and the tide was coming in, so Campbell headed home and posted photographs of his finds on the Official Canadian Metal Detecting website.

“I thought everybody was going to ooh and ah over the 1891 nickel, and it turned out I’d made a discovery that was a little more important than that,” he said.

Under a picture of the black coin, he wrote: “Not sure what it is so calling all the experts. Please chime in.” He didn’t have long to wait.

“Some of the guys started saying, ‘That’s not just any old coin. That’s an English hammered silver coin,’ ” Campbell said. “And as I was doing cleaning on it, I posted updated pictures.”

Over in Port Coquitlam, Bill Herbst took one look at the coin and his jaw dropped. He recognized it as a rare English shilling from 1551-53, issued during Edward VI’s brief reign.

Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

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