600-Year-Old Gold Coin Found In Canada By Amateur Historian

600-Year-Old Gold Coin, Found By a History Enthusiast, may be the oldest known English coin ever found in Canada.

Nov 13, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
600-year-old gold coin
Dr. Jamie Brake displays a thin English coin at the Confederation Building in St. John’s on Wednesday. THE CANADAIN PRESS/Paul Daly


A 600-year-old gold coin found its way to an archaeologist Edward Hynes. Blake found it on the south coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Altogether, the coin questions conventional historical accounts of the time of European interaction with the area.


The 600-Year-Old Gold Coin Is a Henry VI Quarter Noble

A Canadian penny. Right: The Newfoundland coast.


Provincial archaeologist James Blake said on Wednesday he knew he was looking at something special, when it comes to the rare coin. Edward Hynes sent him photos of a gold coin he’d found past summer. After that, it is determined to be about 600 years old. The 600-year-old gold coin also predates documented European contact with North America since the Vikings.


“It’s surprisingly old”, Brake said in an interview. “It’s a pretty big deal.” How, when and why the coin wound up on the island of Newfoundland is still a mystery. Hynes reported his discovery to the provincial government, as required under Canada’s Historic Resources Act.


Hynes found the artifact at an undisclosed archaeological site somewhere along Newfoundland’s south coast. Experts decided to not discover the exact location, Brake said, so as not to attract treasure seekers.


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Through consultation with a former curator at the Bank of Canada’s currency museum, the determination is that the 600-year-old gold coin is a Henry VI quarter noble. The coin’s face value is one shilling and eight pence. Coinage took place in London between 1422 and 1427.


The coin highlights Newfoundland and Labrador’s archaeological heritage

The Rooms Museum
Via Wikipedia


The 600-year-old-coin’s coinage took place about 70 years before John Cabot landed on Newfoundland’s shores in 1497. But the coin’s age doesn’t mean someone from Europe was on the island before Cabot, Brake said.


The coin was not in use when it got lost, according to Berry. The precise route taken by the gold coin to Newfoundland and Labrador is the subject of great conjecture. Blake also said the 600-year-old gold coin will likely be displayed publicly at The Rooms museum in the provincial capital of St. John’s.


“Between England and here, people over there were not yet aware of Newfoundland or North America at the time that this was minted”, he said. The coin’s finding highlights Newfoundland and Labrador’s fascinating archaeological heritage.


Coin in Canada
Both sides of a Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427, plus a contemporary Canadian quarter for scale. Courtesy Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Icelandic sagas date back to 1001 feature accounts of the advent of the Vikings. Also, L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, has historical traces of a Norse. It is Unesco’s World Heritage site in 1978.


In 1583, Newfoundland became England’s first possession in North America. “There’s been some knowledge of a pre-16th century European presence here for a while, you know, excluding Norse and so on”, Brake said. “The possibility of perhaps a pre-16th century occupation would be amazing and significant in this part of the world”.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.