Coin which saved First World War soldier up for auction

Coin which saved First World War soldier up for auction

A lucky penny which deflected an enemy bullet during the First World War One – saving a soldier's life – is set to be sold at auction.

Private John Trickett would have been shot in the heart if the bullet – which still left him deaf – had not struck the coin in the breast pocket of his uniform.

Instead, the round ricocheted through his ear, leading to his honourable discharge from the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1918.

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PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach walk past a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
A beach drawing of war poet Wilfred Owen during the Pages of the Sea commemorative event at Folkestone on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War.
A beach drawing of war poet Wilfred Owen during the Pages of the Sea commemorative event at Folkestone on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War.
A woman views beach drawings at the Pages of the Sea commemorative event at Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War.
FOLKESTONE,UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: Danny Boyle's Pages Of The Sea project on November 11, 2018 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiagne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Andrew Hasson/Getty Images)
FOLKESTONE,UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: Danny Boyle's Pages Of The Sea project on November 11, 2018 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiagne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Andrew Hasson/Getty Images)
FOLKESTONE,UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: Danny Boyle's Pages Of The Sea project on November 11, 2018 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiagne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Andrew Hasson/Getty Images)
The Poet & Soldier Wilfred Owens face drawn on the beach in Folkestone as part of Danny Boyles Pages of the Sea Armistice Day event commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War on remembrance day the 11th of November 2018. Sunny Sands beach, Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
The commminuty gather to remember fallen soldiers on the beach in Folkestone as part of Danny Boyles Pages of the Sea Armistice Day event commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War on remembrance day the 11th of November 2018. Sunny Sands beach, Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
The Poet & Soldier Wilfred Owens face drawn on the beach in Folkestone as part of Danny Boyles Pages of the Sea Armistice Day event commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War on remembrance day the 11th of November 2018. Sunny Sands beach, Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. Actor Rosie Barry, playing the part of Staff Nurse Ferguson read out the poem The Wound In Time overlooking the portrait. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Piper Andy McGregor plays a lament as members of the public gather on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
SWANSEA, WALES - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on Swansea Bay Beach, Wales, for filmmaker Danny Boyle's Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. At Swansea Bay Dorothy Mary Watson, a ‘munitionette’ who was killed aged 18 in an explosion at the Pembrey Munitions Factory, will be remembered. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year’s centenary. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW )
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11: Piper Andy McGregor plays a lament as members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
SWANSEA, WALES - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on Swansea Bay Beach, Wales, for filmmaker Danny Boyle's Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. At Swansea Bay Dorothy Mary Watson, a ‘munitionette’ who was killed aged 18 in an explosion at the Pembrey Munitions Factory, will be remembered. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year’s centenary. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW )
REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: A decorated pebble lies on the outline of a soldier drawn in the sand during a large scale sand portrait project called ‘Pages of the Sea’ on November 11, 2018 in Redcar, United Kingdom. Redcar was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The image of Private Theophilus Jones, from Darlington is etched into the sand on Redcar beach because he was the first British soldier to die on English soil during World War One when in December 16, 1914, while guarding the Heugh Gun Battery in Hartlepool German warships bombarded the town, targeting an iron works and shipyards. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being payed for this years centenary. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach watch as waves wash away a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach walk past a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach walk past a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach watch as waves wash away a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach watch as waves wash away a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach watch as waves wash away a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. Porthcurno was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year's centenary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: The incoming tide slowly covers a large scale sand portrait project called ‘Pages of the Sea’ on November 11, 2018 in Redcar, United Kingdom. Redcar was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The image of Private Theophilus Jones, from Darlington is etched into the sand on Redcar beach because he was the first British soldier to die on English soil during World War One when in December 16, 1914, while guarding the Heugh Gun Battery in Hartlepool German warships bombarded the town, targeting an iron works and shipyards. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being payed for this years centenary. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on West Sands Beach, St Andrews, Scotland, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in St Andrews, Scotland. The face on the beach is Dr Elsie Ingilis an innovative Scottish doctor, suffragist, and founder of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on West Sands Beach, St Andrews, Scotland, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in St Andrews, Scotland. The face on the beach is Dr Elsie Ingilis an innovative Scottish doctor, suffragist, and founder of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
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Minted in 1889, the dented penny is due to be sold next week by Derbyshire-based auction house Hansons.

The firm's militaria expert, Adrian Stevenson, said: "It looks to me like a pistol bullet hit the penny at close range.

"I've come across many stories of random objects saving soldiers' lives but I've never seen anything like this before.

"Soldiers used to keep objects in their breast pockets in an attempt to protect themselves from enemy fire and explosions.

"It's likely John Trickett kept the penny there on purpose. When the bullet hit the coin, it ricocheted up through his nose and went out through the back of his ear. It left him deaf and disabled but still alive.

"He was honourably discharged from the Northamptonshire Regiment on September 7 1918, shortly before the 1914-18 war ended."

The penny is part of a collection of war-related ephemera belonging to Pte Trickett, including his British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The items are being sold by Pte Trickett's granddaughter, Maureen Coulson, from Duffield, Derbyshire.

The 63-year-old said: "Everyone in our family saw the penny and heard the story of how it saved my grandfather's life – his two brothers, Horace and Billy, both died in the First World War.

"My granddad was born in 1899 and would have been around 19 years old when the incident happened.

"It damaged his left-hand side and left him deaf in his left ear. It also affected his balance.

"He was a great big guy from a Lincolnshire farming background but as soft as a brush. He worked with horses back home and couldn't bear to see the way they were treated on the battlefield."

After returning from the conflict, Pte Trickett married Mrs Coulson's grandmother, and they had eight children.

He then worked as a postmaster, and as a switchboard operator at Barnburgh Colliery in South Yorkshire, but died at the age of 63 after collapsing at work in 1962.

Mrs Coulson said: "I remember him well. It's strange to think that, but for that penny, his children would not have been born and I wouldn't be here."

Mr Stevenson said: "I hope a keen militaria collector will buy and treasure these items. The penny is a poignant reminder of the fine line between life and death, particularly in wartime.

"I've heard about random objects deflecting bullets to save lives before but, until now, I'd never had the opportunity to see and examine them myself."

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