A 300 years old Queen Anne Vigo five guinea gold coin found in a four year old’s toy treasure chest sells for £270,000 by Bonington's auction house near London. The rare coin is one of five lost coins out of 20 that were struck with gold, seized by the British from Spanish treasure ships in 1702.
The Queen Anne "Vigo" 5-guinea gold coin is one of only 15 known to have survived and is only the sixth example of its type to be offered for sale in the last 50 years.
The owner of the gold coin is a gentleman from Hertfordshire whose grandfather had given the coin to him to play pirate games with 30 years ago.
After he bought his own son a treasure chest, he dug the shiny gold coin out of a drawer and gave it to him to play with.
Gregory Tong, of Bonnington Auctioneers said it was a real ‘Del Boy and Rodney’ find. - a reference to a £6million pocket watch David Jason's character found on top of an old oven in a classic episode of Only Fools and Horses.
He added: “When I first told the vendor what it could be worth, he couldn’t believe it. He came back to see me the next day to see if I had been pulling his leg.”
The vendor, a married father from Hertforshire, does not want to be identified but did provide a letter of provenance with the coin.
He 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."
The "Vigo" coins were made from treasure that the British fleet seized in 1702 from Franco-Spanish ships returning from America, following the Brits' unsuccessful attempt to capture Cadiz. Struck in 1703, the coins were intended to divert attention from the failed campaign at Cadiz, highlighting instead the haul of treasure they had captured on their way home. The treasure was delivered with full pageantry through London and received at the Royal Mint by the Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton.