A Yank in King Henry VIII Court

14 Mar 2024

In February 2024, I ventured over to Nottingham, England on business for my company John Deere, little did I know that the trip would eventually become a once in a lifetime experience. A few months prior to my trip, I found the Midland Detecting Days Facebook group organized by Tony Cummins, where they have weekly digs. On Saturday, February 21st, 2024, I set out from Nottingham to the Staffordshire area for the first time driving on the “wrong” side of the road. After going through more roundabouts than I could count, I was greeted at the entrance as “The Yank”. I had the opportunity to meet some of the 70+ other people who were detecting that day. Thankfully, I met John Mcgimpsey and his brother David, who let me borrow a spade. Back home in Iowa I rarely have an opportunity to spend an entire day detecting, let alone at an area steeped in such history. At 9:05, Tony gave a brief overview of the area, and released everyone for the hunt. I came out the gate fast, digging as many holes as I could with my Manticore. In the first 2 hours I found a few coins, but I didn’t spend much time studying them because I wasn’t familiar with the UK coinage. Later as I made my way along one of the stone walls on the property I dug a hole next an old large tree. As I went to pull back the plug, I tried to push through a heavy root and broke my borrowed spade. I contemplated taking the spade back to try and get a new one, but thought I’d dig 1 or 2 more holes. Upon digging the very next hole, holding the shovel by the handle and near the blade I was able to pull the plug out. As soon as I looked into the hole, I saw a yellow cast to the dirt. I’ve never found gold before, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I pulled the coin out, I could tell by the density that it could be gold, and I could see a beautiful angel on one side and a shield on the other. Minutes later, David came my way and asked if I had found anything yet. My response was, “I think I have, but I have no idea what it is.” He then shouted John. Our excitement was immense when we identified that it was a gold hammered coin and celebrated together in disbelief. We immediately called Tony, and I remember clearly John saying, “The Yanks’ found a gold coin!” I made my way up to the finds table, and Lee Davis and several others joined in on the excitement of the find and helped me understand what I had unearthed. A Henry VIII Gold Angel, minted from approximately 1509-1526. The broken spade, the gold Angel, and the other 15+ coins and various relics now sit proudly on display in my home. It’s going to be extremely difficult to go back to digging in the States after this day, but I’ll never forget the friends I made and the coins I dug in Staffordshire, England.

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