Metal detectorist “buzzing” after finding “very rare” 440-year-old coin worth £4500

Rare Coin
A similar coin recently fetched thousands at auction. (Image: Dave McDougall

A METAL detectorist is over the moon after discovering a rare 16th century silver shilling believed to be worth around £4500, on the first day of a new search.

Dave McDougall, 39, unearthed the James VI 1582 silver 30 shilling coin in a field in the Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale district of the Scottish Borders.

He has been left “buzzing” following the find last Friday [31 July], which he obtained on the hottest day of the year – taking tea breaks in between digging the hole to find it.

Dave, from Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders, says the coin has been rated as “very rare” on collector sites, with one selling at auction for £4500.

He uploaded pictures to his Facebook page on Monday [3 Aug], saying: “Wowsers.

Rare coin
The coin is much bigger than modern currency. (Image: Dave McDougall)

“A new permission got us a big chunky 1582 James VI 30 shilling silver coin. Pretty rare. (2p for size comparison).”

The images show a round silver coin with indents around the coin and a picture of a young boy with a crown and a sword in his hand that has a latin inscription.

While another picture shows the rare coin beside a two pence piece, showing it to be twice the size of the modern day coin.

The find has amazed social media users.

One user wrote under Dave’s post in a private group saying: “Now that is the business. Beautiful.”

Dave McDougall
Dave has been doing detectoring for four years (Image: Dave McDougall)

Another added: “What a fantastic find!”

One said: “Cracking coin.”

Dectorist Dave revealed he has been out every week since he took up the hobby four years ago, except when lockdown forced him to stop.

Other interesting finds this year include a Charles II 1676 Eighth of a Dollar Scottish coin, which is valued depending on the quality from £300 to £2500.

And last summer he found in Selkirkshire a 3900 year old flat axe from the Bronze age.

Speaking today, Dave said: “I was buzzing that’s for sure. A big gasp of breath.

“It’s the first time ever seeing this coin!  On the rarity index (0-100) it is a 100 according to coin collectors sites.

Rare coin found
A previous find – a flat axe thousands of years old. (Image Dave McDougall)

“I have no idea, maybe just the scarcity of it, the high value (30 shillings) and the condition.

“I’m In the Scottish Borders, the find was miles from any town, up in the hills over cattle grids, nothing in the immediate area of interest on pastmaps or the NLS maps.

“The land owner will be pleased to get half of whatever we get for it.

“I am waiting to hear back from the Treasure Trove department, they are speaking to a numismatist about it, they might give me a value, looking at some of the auctions online, maybe a couple of thousand, though I saw one go for £4500!

“It’s just a hobby, but we are out pretty much every week rain or shine.

“A museum purchased the 3900 year old early bronze age flat axe head.

“We also have three other coins and an intricate silver ring with the Treasure Trove dept currently being assessed.”

King James VI of Scotland ruled for several years in Scotland before becoming King James I of England and putting an end to the Tudor dynasty.

He unified the nations and was on the throne during the gunpowder plot in 1605.

Dave is not the only detectorist to strike lucky.

Recently a trove of silver civil war era coins worth at least £100,000 were found in a field owned by a pub.

Detectorist Luke Mahoney, 40, was astonished when he found the ‘biggest hoard’ of his life just behind the Lindsey Rose pub in Lindsey, Suffolk.