Monday, 9 March 2020

The Archaeological Values of the PAS Database (XIV): Coin with a Funny Feel

Unique ID: BERK-4BA6B5
Object type certainty: Certain [sic]
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation[sic]
A short cross penny of Henry III (AD 1216-1272), struck in Canterbury by Joan. Probably North class 7a3 and therefore dating to the period AD 1220-1222. This coin was found in Palestine during defensive trench excavation in World War II. Although this may explain the strange feel to this coin, there remains the possibility that this coin is a more modern copy, possibly something such as a museum reproduction or even a magazine collector's item. Although everything about this coin is correct with official coinage of the early 13th century, experts have commented on its patina and feel. This could of course be related to over 700 years in the sand, but it remains to be confirmed if this coin is an original 13th century issue.  If this is a real coin, its story is intriguing - probably taken to Palestine during one of the Crusades, lost, then recovered during the Second World War and returned home - the coin being carried by two soldiers separated by over 700 years.
Weight: 1.3 g
Diameter: 17.9 mm
Notes: Recorded for interest on: Tuesday 1st June 2010.
Now of course "its story" is not known, the anonymous recorder is simply making it up. If it really was found in Palestine, it could have been taken there as part of a relatively modern coin collection in colonial times, this is just silly narrativisation.

But why is this being recorded in the PAS database? It was not found in the area covered by UK legislation, how many out-of-place artefacts will the Scheme record "for interest"?

1 comment:

Hougenai said...

Laser ablation mass spectrometry would produce a metallurgical fingerprint, with only microscopic damage to the coin, that could be compared with known examples and therefore verify if it is real. Never mind science, let's go with 'feel' of the connoisseur.
It wouldn't resolve the 'good story' nonsense that PAS relies on to generate interest amongst the citizens, but would remove some of those 'possibilities'.

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