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Home > Auctions > 30th November 2021 > 'The Sutton' Gilt Edward I Groat Pilgrim's Badge

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LOT 0417

GBP (£) 2,000 - 3,000
EUR (€) 2,350 - 3,520
USD ($) 2,660 - 3,980

Sold for (Inc. bp): £4,318

'The Sutton' Gilt Edward I Groat Pilgrim's Badge

1279 AD

A pilgrim's badge made from an extremely rare Edward I groat: facing bust with rosette on breast within quatrefoil with flowers in spandrels and +EDWARDVS DI GRA REX ANGL legend, with hook-and-loop attachments for wearing; the reverse of the coin gilded with long cross and pellets dividing DNS / HIBN / E DVX / AQVT and LON / DON / IA C / IVI legends for London mint. 6.96 grams, 28mm (1"). Coin near as struck with near full gilding. Very rare.

Found while searching with a metal detector near the village of Sutton, Kent, UK, by Paul Smith on Saturday 1st August 2020; declared as treasure and disclaimed by the crown under Treasure case tracking number 2020T979; accompanied by a copy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme Report (PAS) with reference number KENT-FE6D84; a copy of the Treasure Receipt from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; a copy of a letter from the British Museum disclaiming the object to the finder; and the Report on find of Potential Treasure to HM Coroner.

See Portable Antiquities Scheme, reference KENT-FE6D84 and Treasure Act reference 2020 T979 (this piece).

Cf. S.1379E/1379G (£7,250 / £8,500 in VF) variant (with obverse rosette to breast); N.1006 variant; the obverse die has similarities with the Fox types 4 and 1, although the minor details differ from each of these; this die seems to be a variant on those listed in modern standard references.

The practice of gilding the reverses of Saxon and Medieval silver coins and fitting them with pins and/or hooks to the obverse has been noted since the early periods following the arrival of Christianity and pilgrimage shrines in England. Pilgrim badges and ampullas, usually in tin or lead, are well known and were sold to pilgrims as amulets or souvenirs; small numbers of such badges were formed from silver coins of the time, displaying to view the usual cross design on the reverses, especially at Canterbury for the shrine of St Thomas Becket and these mementoes would have been much more costly so were bought only by the wealthy and few survive today. The large groats (fourpence) of Edward I, although not successful as currency after their issue in 1279, were used in this way and the majority of the groats surviving today have been so gilded and mounted as badges.