Metal detectorist finds ‘Britain’s most valuable’ gold coin worth £650,000

A valuable gold coin which dates to the mid-13th century with King Henry III on the front of it has sold for a whopping £648,000 at auction.

The rare coin was discovered by a keen metal detectorist in a field in England and months later the coin found itself at auction, The Independent reports.

Michael Leigh-Mallory, 52, was prompted by his two children to resume his hobby and subsequently made the pricey discovery on September 26 last year.

His golden find prompted a bidding war that fetched £540,000 at London's Spink and Son auctioneers, with the total reaching £650,000 after auction fees were added on.

Spink's senior numismatist, Gregory Edmund, believes the coin is the most expensive single coin ever unearthed in Britain.

He said: "The £648,000 is a huge record for a British medieval coin. It's also the record for a single coin discovered in Britain."

Edmund spotted the coin on Facebook when Leigh-Mallory posted a photo of it, and the coin studier was quick to contact the father of two who had found the rare coin.

The coin specialist said he "immediately appreciated its significance" and suggested it was the most important coin discovery in the UK in 15 years.

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But it was not until the British Museum assessed the coin further that its rarity was fully understood, with only seven other Henry III gold penny coins known to exist.

One side of the coin depicts the monarch, who reigned from 1216 to 1272 on a throne while the other side has a long cross and rose mouldings.

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Edmund said: "The coin was a very short-lived thing. It was the king's experiment at a time of emergency when he had to pay off his campaigners in Wales."

The 52-year-old father has said the money will be spent on his children and that "I really owe it to them for having found the coin in the first place, as they were my inspiration to go out prospecting".

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