Lucky penny that saved a South Yorkshire soldier’s life sparks auction battle

Lucky penny
Lucky penny

A lucky penny that saved the life of a South Yorkshire soldier in the First World War is part of a collection bought at auction by the soldier's grandson.

The dented coin from 1889 was in the breast pocket of Private John Trickett of Bolton-on-Dearne when it blocked a pistol bullet aimed at his heart.

Private John Trickett

Private John Trickett

His grandson, Nigel, 56, who has a carpet business in Goldthorpe, bought the penny, among items including war medals, at auction recently for £4,500. He was up against six phone bidders, one of whom was from the States, in a tense battle, he said.

Mr Trickett added: “We want to keep the medals and penny in the family to be handed down. It’s where it belongs and we’ll take pride in showing it to family members.

“People shook my hands when I won the bid. My view is we can replace money but we can’t replace grandad’s coin.” 

Nigel Trickett never knew his grandfather as he died in 1962, a year before Nigel was born. But Nigel lived for some time with his grandmother, Clementina, and remembers being shown the lucky penny and his grandad's war medals at around the age of seven.

Pte Trickett's grave with his 'lucky penny' and war medals displayed

Pte Trickett's grave with his 'lucky penny' and war medals displayed

His grandparents had eight children and Nigel had lost track of the penny until his son heard about it on the radio.

Keen to keep the items within the family, they decided to go to auction,and finally clinched the treasured lot for £4,500 plus fees.

He took the collection to his grandad's grave in Bolton-on-Dearne on they way home from the auction, to photograph them there.

Auctioneer Hansons’ militaria expert Adrian Stevenson said: “That penny is a poignant reminder of a war that devastated a generation and underlines the fine line between life and death.”

When the bullet hit the coin, it ricocheted up through Pte Trickett’s nose and went out through the back of his ear, leaving him deaf.

He was honourably discharged from the Northamptonshire Regiment on September 7, 1918.