Family amazed after discovery of one of the first American coins hidden in an old tin box

A man was “completely amazed” to find one of the first coins minted in the United States in a forgotten candy box.

The Honorable Wentworth Beaumont said he found the mid-17th century New England shilling in an old Barker and Dobson tin box at his father’s house among a collection of old coins.

Mr Beaumont, an art adviser, has now put the piece up for auction hoping to fetch nearly £200,000.

The rare coin is considered one of the very first minted in North America and bears the initials NE for New England and the Roman numeral XII, indicating 12 pence, which is equal to one shilling.

The coin is believed to have been minted in 1652 and will be auctioned online in November (Morton & Eden/PA)

He added: “I could hardly believe my eyes when I realized this was an excellent example of a New England shilling, minted by John Hull in 1652 for use as currency by early settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”

Mr Morton 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 bronze “Libertas Americana” ” and several British hammered gold coins. .

Mr Beaumont said his father had recently found the box in his office.

He said, “If he knew it was there, he had long forgotten about it.” I had never seen it before and when I opened it I thought it was just a rather weird collection of random old coins.

“However, as I don’t know anything about coins, I thought it was worth checking out, so I took it to show James Morton.

“I can only assume that the shilling was brought from America years ago by one of my ancestors.”

Mr Beaumont, whose family seat is Bywell Hall in Northumberland, is descended from William Wentworth, who is said to have visited New England in 1636.

Several family members were later to hold prominent positions under Colonel America, including John Wentworth and his son, who both represented New Hampshire in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1781.

The piece will be auctioned online by Morton & Eden in London on November 26.

Morton & Eden offers online viewing of the sale and auction via www.invaluable.com and www.biddr.ch

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