Most of the hammered silver coins unearthed by detectorists are low denominations but the specimen featured here is larger. The finder, who wished to remain anonymous, knew it was a shilling but asked me to give him some idea of its value.
The coin is a shilling of James I, who had been King of Scotland for many years before he also became King of England after the death of Elizabeth I. There are six different busts on shillings of James I and lots of mint marks, so detectorists sometimes have difficulty pinning them down.
This shilling has mint mark fleur de lis on both sides and the bust on the obverse is the sixth, so the coin was struck during the third coinage. The same mint mark appears on some shillings struck during the second and third coinages; if the bust is unclear then it can be difficult to assign it to one or the other. However, a point to remember is that shillings of the second coinage have stops in the legend on the reverse but those of the third coinage have no stops on that side.
On the obverse the king’s head is slightly weak but this side is otherwise Fine, The reverse is a bit better. This isn’t a particularly scarce coin but it is a reasonable example of the type and to a collector it should be worth £70 – £80.