The New England coin was struck in 1652 and is said to be one of the initial US coins
An uncommon example of one of the US’s earliest coins has been found concealed in a collection kept inside a sweet tin.
The mid-17th Century New England shilling was discovered by Wentworth Beaumont at his family’s home of Bywell Hall in Northumberland.
The shilling was struck in 1652 for use as currency by early pioneers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
It is believed the coin could sell for £200,000 when it goes for auction in London next month.
An art adviser, Mr Beaumont, said the old confectionery tin which carry the coin and a number of others had been discovered 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.”
Shilling expert James Morton, who typically assess the finding for auctioneers Morton and Eden, said:
“I could hardly believe my eyes when I realized that it was an excellent example of a New England shilling.”
He stated that the coin is the
“star of the collection”,
which also comprise 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 a few other members of the family went on to hold eminent 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.”