June 3, 2009

313-year-old English coin found in Mass.

A Massachusetts man said a coin he found on his property has been identified as an English silver sixpence minted about 313 years ago.

Peter Burgess, a retired psychologist, said he discovered the coin in his Truro, Mass., yard last spring and recently learned from researchers that it dates back to the 1689-1702 reign of King William III, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

At first I wasn't sure what it was, Burgess said. It didn't look so much like a coin, but like a brown wafer.

He said he turned to researchers for help after he noticed a crown, three lions and some numerals marking the object.

It's a pretty significant find, said Dan Sanders, a historian with the Truro Historical Society and a friend of Burgess. It's one of the earliest coins I've ever seen on Cape Cod, and it's right where the town was founded.

Sanders said the coin is not worth much money, but it has immense historical value to the region.

It's rare that an English coin of this kind would be in the Colonies, he said. Mostly at that time they used Colonial coinage, if any. Most people of that time and place were self-sufficient. It was very much more a bartering society.