Treasure Finds and Stories
The "Cake-Burner" King
This is sent in on behalf of my good friend Jason Baker.
Jason has recently purchased a Minelab CTX 3030 and has just made a highly significant and very rare discovery with it.
Searching his local fields which incidentally are good for just about all ancient coins and artefacts of interest, he received a clear signal. Digging up a scoop of moist soil he could see a grey purple coloured disc.
At first he thought it was a Georgian button, but as he carefully removed it, he could see there was no button loop... so it was a coin and most likely a common hammered variety. He was right on one account ... it was a hammered silver coin.
As he gently further removed the moist sandy soil his heart nearly stopped, for clearly portrayed on the coins front was Saxon style bust. But not just any old Saxon bust it was of King Alfred himself.
The great British king famous for amongst other things, letting some cakes burn to cinders. The reverse of the coin is an anagram of LONDON. so he was wrong about it being a common variety.
The coin is under examination and so far is proving to be a unique variety. It has been assessed that it might actually be a Viking copy of a King Alfred coin. But even so if it is... it's a unique unrecorded copy of a Viking copy... so the find is unique whatever angle its final identification lies.
This is truly a stunning coin, and Jason is to be commended not only on its finding but also its reporting and recording which was all completed in 36 hours. This is a perfect example of what metal detecting is about and how you just never know what the next find you make will be.
One interesting thought though... the Vikings were at war with Alfred... the King who placed LONDON on his coins to show that he controlled the city... wonder why the Vikings would go on to increase the circulation by copying such coins that clearly showed their enemies victory??
As always such finds quickly raise more questions than answers... but had a metal detectorist not found this stunningly rare coin to begin with, then we wouldn't be discussing anything at all... well done Jason!