Gold coin found on south coast of Newfoundland may be oldest English coin ever found in Canada

A gold coin recently discovered on Newfoundland’s south coast may be the oldest-known English coin found in an archaeological context in Canada, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Both sides of the coin. A Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427.

The Department of Tourism says the coin was found this past summer by Edward Hynes, who reported it to the provincial government as required under the Historic Resources Act. Consultation with Paul Berry, former curator of the Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum, indicates the coin is a Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427. The coin would have been a sizeable amount of money in the 1400s, valued at 1 shilling 8 pence.

In 2021, a silver coin minted in the 1490s was found at Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site. At that time, it was considered the oldest English coin ever found in Canada. Exactly how the gold quarter noble coin made its way to Newfoundland is a mystery, but Berry says the coin was probably not in circulation when it was lost. 

Research on the coin is continuing and further work on the site where it was found may be conducted in the future.

To report an archaeological discovery such as this in Newfoundland and Labrador, please contact the Provincial Archaeology Office at 709-729-2462.

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