Family amazed after one of the first US coins was found hidden in an old tin can
One man was “completely amazed” to find one of the first coins minted in the United States in a forgotten tin can.
The Honorable Wentworth Beaumont said he found the mid-17th century New England Shilling in an old box of Barker and Dobson candy at his father’s house among a collection of old coins.
Mr Beaumont, an artistic advisor, has now auctioned the piece in hopes of raising nearly Â£ 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 Roman numerals XII, denoting 12 pence which is equivalent to one shilling.
It was identified by coin specialist James Morton, who said the collection of coins found in the sweet pewter was “completely varied” and came “from all over the world and from all metals, ranging from l ‘Antiquity to the 1970s’.
He added: “I could hardly believe my eyes when I realized this was a prime example of a New England shilling, minted by John Hull in 1652 for use as currency by the first settlers of 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 recently found the tin in his office.
He said: âIf he knew it was there, he had long forgotten it. I had never seen it before and when I opened it I thought it was just a rather weird collection of old random coins.
âHowever, since I don’t know anything about coins, I thought it was worth checking out, so I showed it to James Morton.
I can only assume that the shilling was brought back from America years ago by one of my ancestors
âI am very happy that I did and it goes without saying that I was completely amazed when James Morton pointed out the importance of the rare shilling in the context of North American history.
“I can only assume that the shilling was brought back 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 would later hold important positions with Colonel America, including John Wentworth and his son, both of whom 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 an online view of the sale and auction via www.invaluable.com and www.biddr.ch