By Ge­orge, what a bounty be­neath

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - CAMERON ALLEN

DETECTORIST Mark Gar­dam was ec­static to dis­cover a 1799 English half­penny un­der the draw­ing room floor at Glen Der­went in New Nor­folk.

“It was a sig­nif­i­cant find for me be­cause you don’t find many older coins in Tas­ma­nia,” said Mr Gar­dam.

“It’s the old­est coin I’ve ever found.”

Coin ex­pert John Had­dad said the cop­per coin held his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

“It would have been an early procla­ma­tion coin,” he said.

“Aus­tralia didn’t start mint­ing coins un­til 1853, and of­fi­cially un­til 1855.”

“Un­for­tu­nately, due to the con­di­tion it’s not worth a lot but is valu­able to col­lec­tors.”

The ex­cit­ing find came about dur­ing ren­o­va­tions at the Glen Der­went her­itage re­treat.

Mrs Liz Virtue, of Glen Der­went, said the house was built in 1818, al­most 20 years af­ter the coin was dated.

“It makes you re­alise

just how old the house is,” Mrs Virtue said.

“Peo­ple in the de­tect­ing com­mu­nity are in awe of the date of that coin.”

The 1799 English half­penny fea­tures a faded por­trait of long-serv­ing monarch King Ge­orge III, who was king when Tas­ma­nia was set­tled.

Pic­tures: SAM ROSEWARNE

UNEARTHED: Mark Gar­dam with his metal de­tec­tor and the coins found un­der the draw­ing room floor at Glen Der­went Her­itage Re­treat.

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