IT is a mystery five centuries in the making and 20 years in the solving but, as one somewhat disappointed 70-year-old found out thanks to The Diary, only about £40 in the profiting.
This little coin might not look much – and financially speaking, it ain’t – but it is the proof Paris and Sheffield were doing business as early as the 15th century.
For experts reckon the little bronze disc, which was dug up under a stable in Manor Lane, Manor Park, in the early 1990s, was produced in Paris between 1447 and 1461.
It was discovered by Michael Clarke, of Hesley Grove, Chapeltown, who pocketed it, took it home, and thought not much more about it until he stumbled on it again recently while clearing the house. Then he brought it to The Star.
“It’s a very unusual find,” says Amy Downes, of archeology experts West Yorkshire Joint Services. “It’s not money but rather a French jetton, which was a counter used for calculating money or goods being made in transactions.”
It’s unclear how it arrived in Sheffield but would probably have been brought here by French traders. So far so intriguing.
But the bad news for Michael, a retired wood reclaimer: it’s worth not-a-lot. “No more than £100,” says John Morgan, specialist valuer with Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley. “And more likely between £40 and £50.”
“Still,” says Michael. “It’s nice to have stumbled on a little piece of history.”