Friday, 30 July 2021

One Mancus, Several Questions [Updated: PAS being Pathetic ]

Claire Hayhurst, Lorraine King Treasure hunter finds ultra-rare gold coin worth £200,000 with metal detector Daily Mirror 29 Jul 2021

An Anglo-Saxon coin discovered by a metal detectorist could sell for as much as £200,000 at auction. The Gold Penny, or Mancus of 30 Pence, was unearthed by a treasure hunter at West Dean, on the Wiltshire and Hampshire border, in March 2020. It was struck during the time of Ecgberht, King of the West Saxons between 802 and 839 and experts say it is the only late Anglo-Saxon gold coin in private hands. A total of eight other specimens held in institutions – seven at the British museum. The coin, which weighs 4.82g [sic, PAS says 4.28 g], is expected to fetch between £150,000 and £200,000 at a sale of coins and historical medals by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb on September 8. [...] Analysis of the coin was performed in June 2021 and show it is made from “high-purity gold”, with small levels of silver and copper, he said. “This composition is consistent with that of natural gold which has been neither refined nor artificially alloyed,” Mr Preston-Morley added.
An anonymous PAS record with a really crappy photo can be found here: HAMP-D05C62 (it was in fact created by Simon Maslin) it says: "Other reference: EMC 2020.0167", but the search engine of the Fitzwilliam is either broken, or this coin figures under other data. 

The newspaper article has a much better photo than the PAS record (note, what's the point of documentation by record, if the record is not of the best quality attainable?).  That's pretty pathetic, the Daily Mirror being a source when the PAS fails. Sceptic that I am, the moment I saw this image, it looks wrong. To my eye there is something wrong with this coin, I can't put my finger on it. The spacing and shape of the letters? I am also a bit puzzled by the colour of this gold as it appears on my screen, and then reference to the purity - both very odd for a ninth century find (English goldwork of the sixth to early seventh century was this pure, analyses show the alloy used became less pure after that as scrap was recycled) . I note the PAS record for some reason cautions that the find is still "under research".  How is this find "grounded"? What else is in that field? 

Daily Mirror (PA) better than the PAS

And of course, it reportedly was found artefact hoiking in pasture (Peter Spencer, Latest news: 'DNW to sell gold mancus for £200,000', Detecting finds July 30, 2021 [uses PAS subquality photo]):
Find It was found near the village of West Dean in March 2020. The unnamed finder, a detectorist of eight years, was searching a pasture when he had a strong signal. Digging down seven inches he unearthed what he thought was a gold-plated button. On feeling the weight of the coin, he realised it was something more significant.  
The coin is already in Wikipedia (again using the PAS photo).

The Pole in me looks at this and sees "Boża Moneta" (God's money), but I see that the moneyer is "Bosa" (which in Polish means barefoot). And, Daily Mirror, the plural of mancus is not "mancuses".

UPDATE 1st August 2021
My snowflake "colleagues" in the PAS block my access to their social media as much as they can. They are too afraid I am going to ask a question that they don't want to talk about as part of their public-funded "public outreach", I guess. Cowards, hiding under their bushel. I find from the Google cache of their nonsense* (yes, we can still see what you are up to guys and gals), that the question of the authenticity of this coin has already been raised in some circles. So I might ask my colleagues, if this is the case, why this find is still displayed on the database while the jury is out on this. Or is Dr Maslin  and the whole of the PAS endorsing the authenticity of this find?   

* True to PAS-dumbdown form, it transpires that they were using this coin as "door 10" of the low-brow show-and-tell "advent calendar" that they do gatekeeping other people's finds, year after year. So predictable. For goodness sake, stop messing about, and do some archaeological outreach for all that public money please... 

UPDATE Updated 2nd August 2021
Dr Maslin (the PAS FLO that made the record) confirms that he had the coin in hand to make that record, and that the PAS weight is the right one (4.28g). 
Dr Simon Maslin @spmaslin 1 sie
Yes I did. The weight, composition and lettering seem correct (it appears to be struck from a known penny die). EMC appear to have removed their record which suggests that, having initially recorded it they may have changed their mind about it.
I still don't like the look of it. I wonder why the Mirror did a news article on it now? Pre-sale publicity maybe?

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

Mr Stout, do you have a comment on this coin? Do you find many ninth century coins in Texas? I think we'd all prefer to see people like yourself sharing knowledge about artefacts rather than just slagging off an archaeologist for being an archaeologist. You don't like them? Fine, don't read their blogs. What part of that do you have problems understanding?

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