Archeologists at a Colony of Avalon dig site uncovered a Scottish Sword and Sceptre gold coin dated 1601.
The 22-karat coin was worth six pounds, weighs about 5 grams, and was discovered in an area of the dig believed to be from the earliest years of the colony.
A news release by The Colony of Avalon Foundation said it is the first ever whole gold coin found at the dig site, located at the southern shores of Ferryland, Newfoundland.
Coins of these type were issued during the reign of King James VI of Scotland two years before he ascended the throne of England as King James I.
According to the Colony of Avalon website, the area has a history of over 500 years, with Beothuk Indians, migratory fishermen from western Europe, and European settlers who first began to arrive in 1621. The colony was founded by George Calvert, later Lord Baltimore, that year.
Archeologist Jim Tuck told CBC Radio.
“We were exposing that footing and scraping off the top layer … scraping the dirt and leaves and bottle caps and junk off the top where we had stopped last year and lo and behold, here was this gold coin which I thought first was the inside … the liner for a bottle cap or something like that, but within a few seconds it was pretty obvious that it was real gold and that it was something we had never seen before."
The coin’s obverse depicts the crowned arms of Scotland encircled by the Latin inscription, "James VI, by the Grace of God, King of Scots."
The reverse depicts a crossed sword and sceptre, flanked by two thistles all below a crown. These are encircled by the Latin inscription, "The safety of the people is the supreme law."
For a full account, read the following CBC News article.