Rare Swindon Coin Worth 54 Times More

In the heart of Swindon, a seemingly ordinary penny has unearthed a piece of history worth far more than its face value. This 1903 coin, discovered by parish council workers during excavations for a new litter bin in Pembroke Gardens, has sparked curiosity and imagination about Swindon’s past.

Andy Reeves, the Central Swindon North Parish Council clerk, shared his excitement about the find. “We wondered whether it could have been a farm worker who dropped the coin,” he mused. The penny, dating back to a time when Rodbourne Cheney and Haydon Wick were separate towns, is now estimated to be worth around £7—54 times its original value. While online inflation calculators suggest its purchasing power today would be about 54p, the historical value adds a unique charm.

The discovery has led to whimsical speculations. The council’s Facebook page humorously remarked, “‘Dropped by a lady going to Clive Parade KeyMarkets in 1970 to buy some ham’, didn’t have the same feel.” Indeed, the coin’s true story remains a mystery, but it offers a glimpse into a bygone era when Swindon was a patchwork of villages surrounded by farms and arable land.

Andy noted that such historical finds are not uncommon in Swindon. A 1920s Lyons Tea sign, uncovered during another excavation, is now exhibited at a St Margaret’s café. “Swindon’s obviously got a long rich history,” he said, mentioning other discoveries like earthenware and Victorian items found during car park constructions.

The parish council aims to display these artefacts, celebrating Swindon’s rich heritage. The definition of treasure was updated last year, classifying most exceptional finds over 200 years old as treasure if they provide significant insights into the country’s heritage. While the penny may not meet this criterion, its discovery adds a delightful chapter to Swindon’s ongoing story.

So next time you stroll through Pembroke Gardens, remember: beneath your feet lies a treasure trove of history, waiting to be uncovered.


Image: Central Swindon North Parish Council


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