Toy chest reveals treasure lost 300 years ago. 35-year-old worker screams with joy because of the unbelievable amount of money

Toy chest reveals treasure lost 300 years ago. 35-year-old worker screams with joy because of the unbelievable amount of money

A LUCKY dad is set to reap a life-changing £250,000 windfall after discovering he owned the rarest British coin ever made – which his four-year-old son had been keeping in his toy treasure chest.

The 35-year-old labourer was given the “lost” 300 year old Queen Anne Vigo five guinea coin by his late grandfather 30 years ago.

The owner of the coin had been keeping it in a treasure chest he gave his four-year-old sonCredit: Boningtons/BNPS

After he bought his son a treasure chest he dug the shiny gold coin out and gave it to him to play with, before having an auctioneer have a look at it in case it was worth something.

When he produced it from his pocket with a handful of other coins a shocked expert told him it was worth a quarter-of-a-million pounds.

In what is being described as a real life “Del Boy and Rodney moment” the stunned owner was said to have got into his Volkswagen Polo and rocked it from side-to-side while celebrating.

The lucky owner of the coin doesn’t want to draw attention to his potential windfall and has chosen to remain anonymous.

Gregory Tong, of Bonnington Auctioneers of Epping, Essex, said: “When I told him it had been verified and what it could be worth, he couldn’t believe it.

“One of my colleagues saw him get back into his car and it was a real Del and Rodney moment. You could hear shouting and screaming from the car park and the car began to rock from where he was celebrating.”

Mr Tong said the owner of the Vigo coin, a married father from Hertfordshire, returned the following day to check the expert hadn’t been pulling his leg.

The coin was one of only 20 ever minted with 7.5lbs of gold seized from Spanish treasure ships by the British in 1702 following the Battle of Vigo.


Of the 20, the whereabouts of 15 are known of to this day.

In 2012 another of the coins sold for nearly £300,000 at auction.

Queen Anne Vigo coins were minted from gold seized from Spanish treasure ships by the British in 1702Credit: Boningtons/BNPS

The coin has now been consigned at Bonnington’s next auction when international numismatists are expected to fly in to study and then bid on the coin.

In a letter of provenance accompanying the lot, the coin’s owner said: “My granddad had travelled all over the world during his working life and had collected many coins from the various countries he had been.

“He gave me bags of coins to play with (I was into pirate treasure) throughout my early years.

“As time passed these coins went back into bags and boxes and were forgotten about until I re-discovered them after my granddad passed away.

“I looked back through the coins – remembering the stories I made up about them when I was small – and then gave them to my own son to play with and put into his own treasure box.

“My little boy has been playing with this coin as I did all those years ago.”

Mr Tong said: “The vendor came in with some double sovereign and half sovereign coins which I advised him to keep hold of as a longer term investment.

“Then he said he had another gold coin at home which he always assumed was a replica. I told him what to look out for to tell if it was a replica and with that he went home and came back an hour-and-a-half later.

“He pulled out a handful of coins from his pocket and that’s when the magic happened.”

The owner of the coin, who has chosen to remain anonymous, took a handful of old money to Bonnington Auctioneers in EssexCredit: Boningtons/BNPS

He added: “I could see straight away it was the real deal. Everything about it was right including the weight of 42 grams. There was no way is was a replica.

“You could bury a coin like that underground for 1,000 years and it would still look exactly the same.

“I told him how much it could be worth and he was over the moon.”

The auctioneer’s assessment and valuation of the coin has since been verified by another reputable source.

Mr Tong said: “I have seen the vendor again since and he said he has to keep pinching himself to check it’s all true.

“It is a life-changing sum of money and I think he plans to buy and house and secure his family with the proceeds when it sells.

“We have got very active interest in it so far. When a coin like this comes on the market collectors fly in from around the world to see it before they think about bidding.”

The coin was made 314 years ago and was the first British coin ever to feature the name of the battle it was won in.

The series of Queen Anne “Vigo’” five guinea pieces were produced as part of an attempt to detract attention from the failure of the British to capture the Spanish port of Cadiz, highlighting instead the haul of treasure they seized on their way home.

Even in 1703, when Sir Isaac Newton oversaw their production when he was master of the Royal Mint, they would have been extremely expensive and bought only by the rich.

The Vigo coin will be sold on November 16.


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