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The American masthead

Rare New England Shilling Found in Bywell Hall Sweet Tin

By News Team
Published on October 29, 2021

The New England shilling struck in 1652 The New England shilling struck in 1652 PHOTO: MORTON & EDEN

An extremely rare example of a 1652 New England shilling, which was recently discovered in an old sweet tin in the United Kingdom, has been confirmed as the finest-known example of the first coin struck in what is now the US.

It is due to be auctioned online on Friday 26 November by specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden based in London, when it is estimated to fetch £150,000-200,000 (US$200,000-300,000).

The mid-17th Century New England shilling was found by Wentworth Beaumont at his family's home of Bywell Hall in Northumberland.

The coin was struck in 1652 for use as currency by early settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Mr Beaumont, an art adviser, said the old confectionery tin which contained the coin and a number of others had been found in the hall's study,

He said: "I'd never seen it before and when I opened it I thought it was just a rather bizarre collection of random old coinage.

"However, as I don't know anything about coins, I felt it was worth checking out."

Coin specialist James Morton, who inspected the discovery for auctioneers Morton and Eden, said: "I could hardly believe my eyes when I realised that it was an excellent example of a New England shilling."

He said the coin is the "star of the collection", which also includes a Massachusetts "Pine Tree" shilling, two examples of "Continental Currency" pewter dollars dated 1776, a "Libertas Americana" bronze medal and several British hammered gold coins.

Mr Beaumont is descended from William Wentworth, who visited New England in 1636, and several members of the family went on to hold prominent positions in colonial America.

He said: "I can only assume that the shilling was brought back from America years ago by one of my forebears."




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