A gold coin recently discovered by a metal detector off the Canadian coast may be the oldest English coin ever found in the country.
Its discovery could challenge the generally accepted timeline of European exploration of the continent.
The warped and intricately minted coin was found in the summer of 2022, according to a Nov. 9 press release from the Newfoundland and Labrador government.
Edward Hynes was scanning the coast of Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, with his metal detector when he heard an “exciting” beep, according to Saltwire. Then he dug a five inch deep hole and dug up the shiny bit.
“It was so bright yellow and very thin, and I didn’t think it was a gold coin. I thought it was almost like a tag of something or a button or something,” he told the outlet.
According to the publication, Hynes later reported his unearthed treasure to the government, and a currency expert determined the coin to be a quarter-noble of Henry VI. It was minted in London sometime between 1422 and 1427, meaning it predates the nation of Canada, founded in 1867, by more than three times.
Experts aren’t sure how the coin made the more than 2,000-mile journey from the old world to the new, though they say it likely wasn’t in circulation when it was lost.
A silver coin made in Canterbury, England in the 1490s, was found in the same province last year and heralded as the oldest English coin ever discovered in Canada — and possibly all of North America — according to a government memo.
According to the Royal Museums Greenwich, John Cabot, an Italian explorer, is credited with being the first European to travel to Newfoundland in 1497.
The discovery of the Quarter Nobles of Henry VI minted in the 1420s. However, alongside unconfirmed reports and new research, Cabot’s performance could be questioned.
According to a popular legend, Irish monks led by Saint Brendan sailed to Newfoundland in the 6th century AD
And a 2021 study published in Nature revealed evidence that Vikings lived in Newfoundland in AD 1021
“There’s been some knowledge here for some time of a pre-16th century European presence, you know, except for the Norse and whatnot,” provincial archaeologist Jamie Brake told CBC. “The possibility of a pre-16th-century occupation would be quite astounding and of great importance in this part of the world.”