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James I, unite

Every detectorist will dream about unearthing a hammered gold coin. Most of us haven’t found one but for a reasonable percentage of those who get out regularly their dream has come true.

The hammered gold coin that turns up more than any other is the quarter noble of Edward III. The coin pictured here, a unite of James I, is later in date and a good deal larger.

This coin is just one item from a collection of detecting finds built up over a long period. The finder wishes to remain anonymous but asked for a full ID and wanted some idea of what the coin might be worth.

On the obverse is a bust of King James holding an orb and a sceptre. On the reverse is a crowned shield of arms with I to the left and R to the right. This unite has the fifth bust on the obverse, it was struck during the second coinage and has mint mark plain cross on both sides. The mint mark dates the coin to 1618-19. In the Standard Catalogue the type is listed as number 2620.   


When this coin surfaced it was twisted out-of-shape. The finder had it straightened by someone skilled in remedial work and it is now flat. It doesn’t display much circulation wear but there are many faint scratches on the obverse; this defect would deter some collectors from bidding for it. If I was cataloguing it for sale at auction then in its present state of preservation I would set the pre-sale estimate at £800 – £1,000.

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