In for a penny

For your Just Too Cool file from the History Blog:

A metal detector enthusiast has discovered a unique silver penny issued by William the Conqueror in a field north of Gloucester. Maureen Jones and two other women from the Taynton Metal Detecting Club were exploring the open field last November when Ms. Jones’ detector went off. She recognized that it was a hammered silver coin, but didn’t realize that was the face of the Norman bastard himself staring back at her from the obverse.


It is a William I silver penny minted between 1077 and 1080 in Gloucester.

How cool would it be to find something like that?

I’d settle for finding, say, the second book of Aristotle’s Poetics or the rest of Livy’s Ab Urbe condita.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. APX says:

    I can’t help but wonder the value of it.

  2. tcreek says:

    I’d settle for finding a lost 7th novel by Jane Austen.
    I guess I’ll have to settle for rereading her 6 — again.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, and love the Jerusalem style cross on the other side. I would like to find all the lost monuments mentioned in Josephus which pertain to the Patriarchs. He also mentions, of course, the Ark of the Covenant. I would love to find all those lost items mentioned in Antiquities.

  4. PostCatholic says:

    William the Conqueror’s funeral was something of a liturgical nightmare. Look into it sometime, it would interest you.

  5. digdigby says:

    Wow! That has got to be worth its weight in gold! Seriously, not quite as nice a specimen available on eBay for 670 UK Pounds. [collectibles – coins and paper money – medieval – search William I]. He was better known back then as William the Bastard, but not to his face.

  6. Gabriel Austin says:

    Doubtful that you would want the rest of Livy. Gilbert Highet pointed out that they are probably just lists of consuls. No readable stuff.

  7. I’d be satisfied to find a cache of Viking gold in the midwestern United States. Not only would that re-write the history of exploration, it would be gold! Viking gold!

  8. eulogos says:

    I read an article a few years ago which said a Roman coin was found …either in Newfoundland or somewhere in New England, at one of the places where Vikings were thought to have landed. It wasn’t in very good condition, but what was amazing was that it was there at all.
    Susan Peterson

  9. Athanasius says:

    Livy’s Ab Urbe condita

    Forget Livy’s pro-Roman propaganda (though beautifully written), how about the missing sections of Polybius, an honest and careful historian?

  10. Stewart says:

    I would be happy finding the rest of the Christian scriptures, which God did not preserve, such as the rest of the Apostle Paul’s letters.

  11. Son of Trypho says:

    Origen’s Hexapla would be a nice thing to rediscover :)

  12. JohnNYC says:

    Cornelius Gallus’ four books….and while were at it, let’s find more of Euphorion’s elegiacs too!

  13. asperges says:

    “Norman bastard” as opposed to “bastard Norman” is rather unkind. The author either doesn’t understand the difference in nuance or has an unnecessarily waspish turn of phrase.

    For the lurid details of William’s death alluded to above by PostCatholic, see .

  14. pm125 says:

    I’m worrying about what’s left here now, in light of vandalism and growing barbaric mentality.

  15. Former Altar Boy says:

    I’d like to find St. Paul’s missing epistle, which we know existed because he refers to writing it in another epistle.

  16. digdigby says:

    Former altar Boy-
    Doesn’t seen we’ve made enough use of what Paul we’ve got, I know I haven’t.

  17. Martial Artist says:

    Taynton, which is now spelt Taunton, should anyone wish to look it up on a map (Google, Bing or otherwise). Which town, by the by, is the location of the Royal Hydrographic Office headed by the Royal Hydrographer, and we all know (or at least should know) that Jack Aubrey was, among other characteristics and enthusiastic Hydrographer, although never, even in his fictional existence, the Royal Hydrographer.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer, LCDR [1800], USN (ret)

  18. Mariana says:

    Lord Emsworth’s Gutenberg Bible : ) ?

  19. Mariana says:

    Seriously, the Menorah seen on the triumphal arch of Titus.

  20. irishgirl says:

    I’d like to find the Ark of the Covenant.
    And if the Iranians try to annihilate Israel, then the ‘Presence’ from the Ark would zap them out, a la the Nazis in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.
    I can dream, can’t I….?

  21. mibethda says:

    Back a few years ago, a local coin dealer acquired a small collection of about ten or twelve hammered pennies ranging from the late Anglo-Saxon period to Edward I and offered them to me for sale. English hammered pennies from this era are a popular collectible and are not uncommon. The problem with valueing medieval English coins is that there were a large number of mints in England – at one time or another, more than two dozen – and the value can vary greatly depending on the mint. As you can imagine, reading the legends and marks on such old coins is not easy, nor are complete authorities readily available to identify the hundreds of known varieties. As it was, I waited too long to make up my mind, and he sold the collection to a specialist in Washington. When you hold one of these coins, you cannot help but wonder who once handled them and what transactions they were used to consummate so many centuries ago.

  22. eulogos says:

    The lost epistle of St. Paul if we should find it, would not be “scripture” . Unless the Pope or an ecumenical council declared it to be so…and then would the Protestants or even the Orthodox accept it? It would be an interesting writing, something by a very early “Father of the Church”, but not scripture.

    Susan Peterson

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