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Noonans to sell “Nationally Important” Viking die

A “hugely important” Viking die is to be sold by Noonans in their Ancient Coins and Antiquities auction on 18 July 2023. Detectorist Jason Jones made the find while searching a field near Watton in January this year, having previously found two medieval silver coins there. It was our Featured Find in our PAS Finds (w/e 03/03/23) – 11th century die stamp.

The Find

Jason said said that he bought a metal detector for his son Rio’s 15th birthday four years ago, and within a few weeks the whole family, including his two daughters Ela and Lia, were detecting every weekend.

Jason told the story of the find to the auctioneers:

Jason with his two daughters Ela and Lia, who often go metal detecting with him. Photo: Nooans

On January 29th of this year, my wife Lisa and I were searching on a field in Norfolk which had produced two Medieval silver coins on a previous visit. I had forgotten to charge my main detector, so had to use my backup machine, an older Minelab Vanquish 540.

I returned to the area where the coins were found and got a loud signal, and at a depth of just 2 inches found an unusual bronze object, Lisa came over and was speechless when she saw it.

Neither of us had any idea what it could be, but that evening after posting a picture on Facebook we realised it was Viking in date and notified the local Archaeologist to have it recorded.”


The find was recorded at the PAS as NMS-4EFB15 where it was considered a Find of Note of National Importance. The PAS record says “The thickness and solidity of these items argue for their use as dies, but it is notable that there appears to be no surviving product of them


Nigel Mills, Specialist (Coins and Artefacts) at Noonans, speculates that the Urnes style design represents Níðhǫggr (a dragon) intertwined with Yggdrasil  (the world tree).

The dragon Niðhöggr gnawing the roots of Yggdrasil of in a 17th century Icelandic manuscript

In Viking or Norse mythology the Yggdrasill is an enormous ash tree that connects the nine worlds while serpents represented order and destruction.

Nigel continued: “The die would have been used to make a stamped foil of thin metal which would display the pressed-out image. From its find spot, the date and design it is possible that the die was used on a Viking iron helmet to make ornamentation to the cheek guards.

The die has a guide price of £16,000 to £24,000. Jason will share the money with the landowner and plans to use the money to support his family.

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