Sixpence from Easterton

A museum curator is always on the alert. Whilst eating lunch the other day, our curator became aware of cars gathering on the slopes of the hill across the village.

Yeovil Metal detecting club gather in Market Lavington

It became clear that a metal detecting club were paying a visit. At Market Lavington Museum, we have only ever had good dealings with detectorists – people who enjoy finding and unearthing the history beneath our feet. Our curator went to chat with this group who came from the Yeovil Metal Detecting Club (click here for their website) and who had permission to detect from the land owner.

Earlier in the day, the group had been working a field in Easterton, and soon our curator was receiving some of the finds for the museum. I could emphasise that there was nothing of much monetary value, but money value is no indication of interest.

Let’s have a look at the old sixpence coin they found – what we used to call a tanner.

Heads or obverse of a sixpence found in Easterton

The heads side shows the image of Queen Victoria – queen from 1837 to 1901. The diameter is about 2 centimetres.

tails or reverse side of the Easterton sixpence

On the tails side we have the value of six pence and the date of issue – 1852. The lack of wear indicates that this coin was probably lost not that long after it was minted. Someone would have been annoyed to lose it.

There are several ways of working out relative values of money – then and now. Typically what that six pence would have bought in 1852 would cost about £2.25 now. But if you consider it as a proportion of earnings then those six old pence (2.5p) was equivalent to about £26 – for every 2.5p you might have earned in 1852, you now get about £26. So losing that little coin would have felt like losing £26.

We’d like to thank the detectorists of the Yeovil club for their generosity.

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One Response to “Sixpence from Easterton”

  1. Alan Maidment Says:

    Thank you for your kind words about Yeovil Metal Detecting Club and metal detecting as a whole. Although I was not there when you met with our club members I would be willing to donate some finds to the museum (with the approval of the landowner). However, this may not be until next year as the land is now under crop.


    Alan Maidment,

    Club Treasurer.

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