£250,000 gold coin found in child's pirate treasure collection

It is one of 20 seized from Spanish treasure ships in 1702

Gold coin found in child's pirate treasure

An 18th-century gold coin worth up to £250,000 has been discovered in a child's pirate treasure collection.

The anonymous owner had been given the rare Queen Anne Vigo five guinea piece as a youngster by his grandfather.

With no idea of its value he kept it in his toy box for pirate games, until it was packed away and forgotten about.

But when his grandad died, he rediscovered the coin and gave it to his own son to play with – before experts told him it was one of 20 made of gold seized from Spanish treasure ships in Vigo Bay, Spain, in 1702.

The man said: "My grandad travelled all over the world during his working life and collected many coins from the various countries he had been to.

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

"As time passed, these coins went back into bags and boxes and were forgotten about, until I rediscovered them after my grandad 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."

The man, of Bishop's Stortford, Essex, eventually took it to experts after suspecting it might be worth something.

Gregory Tong of Boningtons auctioneers, in Chelmsford, instantly recognised its value as one of fewer than 15 known examples.

It is expected to fetch up to £250,000 at auction next month.

The coins, made out of treasure captured by the British fleet, were struck in 1703 as part of a propaganda campaign to detract attention from the British failure at Cadiz the previous year.

The treasure was delivered through London and received at the Royal Mint by then Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton.

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