Could a coin rewrite Canadian history?

Keen coin fans may well have noticed a recent news story about amateur metal detectorist Bruce Campbell who could have changed Canadian history, quite literally, after finding an Edward VI shilling.

The discovery happened in December 2013 when he was treasure hunting with a handheld metal detector on Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia. He came across the 435 year old coin buried in clay along the shores. The coin, struck between 1551 and 1553, was minted by – you guessed it – The Royal Mint during our time at the Tower of London.


The coin has the potential to change history forever as it could prove that the English, not the Spanish, were the first Europeans to set foot in Western Canada – what is now Canada’s British Columbia.

Until now, it was believed that Western Canada wasn’t explored by Europeans until 1774, and that the Spanish were the first Europeans to set foot there, followed four years later by Englishman and British Royal Navy Captain, James Cook. However, the recent coin discovery could now provide evidence that Englishman Sir Francis Drake traveled as far as North Western Canada during his expedition to California in 1579.

The discovery just proves that there is still treasure to be found – even today. This find isn’t alone either, treasure hunting filled the news recently after a couple from California discovered more than 1,400 rare US gold coins worth more than £6 million in a find known as the ‘Saddle Ridge Hoard’. Another fairly recent find which made the news in 2010 was a discovery of 52,503 roman coins in Somerset made by metal detectorist Dave Crisp, known as the ‘Frome Hoard’ – one of the largest ever in Britain.

The British Museum, under the 1996 Treasure Act, has a legal responsibility to process treasure finds in the UK and, unbelievably, every year their Portable Antiquities Scheme  handles around 50 treasure cases. This scheme is set up to handle and record all treasure cases in the UK, and you can see a geo-located map of all coin finds recorded by the scheme on their lost change database.

From the buried treasures to the treasures in our pockets, whether you venture out with a metal detector or ask for your change in coins, there’s a treasure hunt for everyone. From changing history to learning about it, hunting for coins is a rewarding hobby. Why not start your coin hunt with our Great British Coin Hunt collector albums – with over 98 different designs to find in your change today – the Coin Hunt is a rewarding hobby, especially if you find one of the rare ones!

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