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A Dream Becomes Reality

By: Anonymous

Five years ago I moved from England to work in Switzerland. Here metal detecting is really interesting and exciting because being the cross roads of Europe you never know what ‘nationality’ of coin you will find next Swiss, French, German, Italian, Euros and so on. However what has eluded me all this time is a medieval hammered coin. I seem to have found everything else, including two Celtic coins, but never a medieval hammered.

In reality I have given up the dream of finding one, even in one in a bad condition. So as luck would have it I had the opportunity to detect a small field at the end of my village for a couple of hours. After a short while I got that sweet ringing tone from my E-TRAC that I knew was silver. I was surprised because I had assumed I had found a pre-1970 silver1 Franc piece but it looked more like a St. Christopher. As I wiped the mud away it became apparent that I had found the most stunning high quality silver hammered coin.


Once home and after much investigating I have discovered it is a Grosso from Milan, minted during the rule of Cardinal Giovanni Visconti (1349-1354). He was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal, who was co-ruler in Milan and lord of other Italian cities.The Grosso was a silver coin, which was used in upper Italy during the Middle Ages.

The coin was about 5 inches down in soft earth and does not appear to have suffered at all from being in the ground. It still is flat as a pancake and shows very little sign of wear. However, like many a silver hammered, it has been clipped around the edge but the legend still easily decipherable.

I would class it as VF/EF. It has an R3 Sheldon scale rarity which means 201-500 examples are known and therefore classified as "Scarce".


Silver; 2.7g; Ø 24mm; undated
Obverse: St. Ambrose seated on the throne. Legend: S AMBROSI MEDIOLANV
Reverse: Two saints standing. Legend: IOHS VICECOES / S GERVASI S PROTASI

How it came to be there we will never know but all in all I am pretty pleased.