Police Arrest Woman for 700-Year-Old Coin She Found as a Teenager



Police Arrest Woman for 700-Year-Old Coin She Found as a Teenager

If you live in a country with a rich history, then the chances of finding a small piece of it are much higher. For one little girl, she found herself digging in the garden, alongside her mother when she unearthed something amazing. They were getting the flower beds ready for planting when a glimmer of gold caught her eye. What this little girl would find would create a public outcry for numerous reasons. At the time, though, all she thought was that she had found something precious to both her and her mother. As she got older, this would prove to be a very contentious item.

Mother-Daughter Bonding


Hailing from the United Kingdom, Kate Harding was just a normal little girl. She and her mother would enjoy spending time in the garden together. Her mother always liked to have a well-groomed garden in place for when the spring would roll around.

During one of these gardening sessions, Kate saw something in the newly turned earth. Bending down, she plucked a coin out of the soil and immediately ran up to her room to examine it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hidden Treasure


This coin was something special. Kate knew that she had found something worth keeping, but she did not want to show her mom. She worried that she might try and take it away from her. The coin was hers, and she wanted to know more about it.

Carefully, she began to clean the dirt off of it, which revealed the markings on each side of the coin. Kate was intrigued by what she saw. The coin was very old, and it looked like it had a story to tell. However, Kate did not want anyone to know about this coin, so it would need to remain a secret.

ADVERTISEMENT

Forgotten


Like most children, the excitement of the coin wore off for Kate. She placed it carefully in a drawer in her small dresser and promptly forgot about it. The coin would stay hidden for a number of years.

Over the years, Kate grew up, and the dresser remained in her bedroom. The coin also stayed in its hiding spot, and just waited for Kate to find it again one day. It would not stay hidden forever. The coin would tell a very interesting story, and it would cause all sorts of chaos in Kate’s life. How could a simple coin cause chaos, though?
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Uncovered


The coin continued to stay hidden for 11 years. Kate had only been six when she uncovered it. As she finished high school and began to get ready to head to university, she found the coin again. She had been going through her dresser and cleaning out her cupboard when once more, the coin appeared.

She looked at the coin and remembered the day she had found it. It was one of her happiest memories of her mother, and she knew she needed to cherish this finding properly. Maybe it would be time to learn its history as well. Kate was sure it had an origin story just waiting to be uncovered.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A Sad Memory


While finding the coin itself was a happy memory, the event itself took place during a very hard period in Kate’s life. Within a year of finding the coin, her mother passed away suddenly. Kate and her family had no idea that her mother would die so young, and the coin brought all of those memories flooding back.

She wished that she had shown the coin to her mother and that they had been able to spend time researching its origin. She would do this now. It was a legacy in a way, and she hoped to find some answers.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Years Pass


Kate was in university for about four years, and all throughout it, she kept the coin in her pocket. If she was having a hard day, she would pinch the coin between her fingers and think of her mother.

It gave her a great sense of comfort. Fourteen years after finding the coin, though, it was time to start doing some historical digging. Someone must have answers about where this coin came from, and what it was used for.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Approaching Historians


The mission was to find out everything about this coin. As it was found in the Shropshire region, the best bet would be to approach a museum that might have some knowledge of the area.

Kate began to look up historians who specialized in coins. She did not know what era her coin was from, but she hoped that they would be able to determine that. It was time to uncover the mysteries behind this coin.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Local Museum


The first place that Kate decided to try was the museum in her town. She figured the local historians would have an idea of how the coin ended up in this part of the country. The historians asked for the exact location, which she gave, and then began examining the coin.

What they found would surprise Kate, and the ensuing trouble with the local authorities over this small coin would be shocking.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Revelation


The coin was not a coin. This first bit of news was interesting from a historical perspective. What was this piece of metal? The grand reveal of what this coin-shaped metal was would come later. First, the historian told Kate that her ‘coin’ was actually incredibly rare.

Within the United Kingdom, only four such ‘coins’ were known to exist. This made the ‘coin’ even more precious to Kate. It was something special, just like her mother.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A Piedfort


The museum historians were able to tell Kate exactly what the coin was. It is called a piedfort. The major differences between a normal coin and a piedfort lie in the weight, and the thickness.

If you look at a piedfort and compare it to a regular coin, you will see that it is double the width. It also weighs substantially more. Piedforts are thought to have played an important role in the coin making process itself.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Very Valuable


Piedforts were thought to have aided in the coin making process by being used as tools of measurement. Since they are quite rare themselves, they are worth a fair amount of money. Both collectors and museums like to have them in their collections as they showcase a rare piece of history.

Kate was thrilled to hear that her piedfort was worth something, but the sentimental value it held was worth more than money to her.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Ancient Piedfort


Piedforts themselves have not been used for hundreds of years. Kate wanted to know how old her coin was, and the historians informed her that it was over 700 years old. She was truly holding a piece of ancient history in her hand.

This is where things began to go awry. Kate believed that the coin belonged to her. She had found it on the family property many years ago, and assumed that she was its owner.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

French Origins


This specific piedfort was of French origin and was minted in 1322. The monarch at this time was Charles IV. The piedfort showed the crowning of the King, and historians believed they might have been given out as mementos to important courtiers.

It was odd that this French piedfort had ended up on English soil. The historians thought it must have been lost by someone long ago. This made them want to keep the coin for the museum.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Price Tag


The piedfort had a pretty nice price tag attached to it. As it was considered to be a rare find, its value was placed around $3,000. Kate thought about selling it but ultimately decided to hang on to it for the time being. The museum was not thrilled by the idea of Kate keeping the coin. So, they decided to prosecute here with a law that had only been created in 1996. It pertained to historical objects, and this piedfort was one. https://i.imgur.com/QT75J6E.jpg
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A Lot Of Confusion


The local authorities wanted to take possession of the coin, but Kate would not let them. The Ludlow Museum, which is the name of the local museum Kate originally went to with the coin, told her she needed to surrender it.

The coroner in the area would determine its historical value, and see if it needed to be placed within the museum proper. They offered her the value of the coin and hoped she would accept the money.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Museum Persists


Kate did not want to sell her coin, but the museum would not take no for an answer. They began to hound her with requests by phone, mail, and even in person. This nostalgic finding had turned into a nightmare for Kate.

All she wanted was to live peacefully and hold on to this memento of the past. It was her coin, and it would be her choice to sell it if she wanted to. At this time, she did not want to.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Coroner


The coroner, named Anthony Sibcy, was eventually contacted by the museum staff regarding the piedfort. He examined the case and decided that he would prosecute it. This coin was considered to be an important part of South Shropshire’s history.

His view was that it should be in the museum, and Kate was actually breaking the law by not selling it. With justice on his side, he sent Kate a summons. She would now need to present herself to the courtroom.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A New Law


A law called the Treasure Act was passed in 1996 in the United Kingdom. It allowed the crown to prosecute anyone who was said to be holding on to artifacts they had found, and there was a particular clause concerning old coins.

The discovery of an artifact has to be reported within 14 days to the proper authorities. Failure to do so will result in prosecution. This would make Kate the first person to be taken to court under this act.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

No Reporting


As this is a fairly new law, it was not in place when Kate first found her coin. Technically, that meant she could not have reported her findings to the coroner in the allotted two-week time span.

The problem occurred when she decided to approach the museum with the coin. As soon as she did not report it to the coroner, she was in trouble. It was odd that the authorities had decided to prosecute her over such a trivial matter, though.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Potential Jail Time


To make matters worse, if Kate lost the court case she was about to embark on, she could end up in jail. Failing to submit to the authorities, and relinquishing the coin could have a penalty of three months in jail.

This was not an outcome that Kate wanted to deal with. She decided to find proper legal representation to aid in her battle. This was her coin, and she wanted to keep it. It would require perseverance, but she believed she could win.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Lawyer


Brendan Reedy was the lawyer that Kate hired to fight her legal battle with the Crown. He was known for fighting the Crown and winning, which is exactly what Kate needed. The only problem was that there was no precedent for a case like this.

He would have to set a precedent for future cases involving artifacts found in the United Kingdom. His main goal was to keep Kate out of jail, which he believed he could do.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Case


The case was made that Kate could never have reported the coin, as the law did not exist when she found it. In addition, she was not trying to profit from the coin, simply hold on to it because it was special to her.

The court listened and ultimately decided that she would not need to do any jail time for this. She did have to pay $30 in court fees, and the coin officially did not belong to her. She would have to relinquish it to the court.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A Lost Coin


The coin itself was never handed over to the authorities. Kate claimed to have misplaced it, and it could not be found. Unless the police came in and searched her home, it appeared that the whole ordeal was over.

The public was upset by the whole debacle and believed that Kate had been unfairly punished. At the end of the day, she may still have the coin, and if she does, it has been well-hidden by now.