A WOMAN has unearthed a 320-year-old coin from the time of William of Orange.

Judy Catterall was working in her garden last Saturday with her husband Phil at their home in Pickering, not far the town’s castle, when she spotted the silver disc in the earth.

“I thought it was just some scrap metal,” she said, “but then I noticed there was writing on it. You can read a fair bit of what’s on it.”

The coin is a 1696 silver sixpence from when William III - known as William of Orange - was on the throne.

She said it was exciting to find something which has lain in the ground for hundreds of years. “Especially the more I look into it,” she said. “I’ve looked into costumes of the period to imagine the people who would have used the coin.”

Andrew Woods, senior curator at the Yorkshire Museum, said 1696 marked the start of “the Great Recoinage”, which saw all old money taken out of circulation and replaced with a whole new set of coins.

To do this, the crown established new mints across the country, including one in York, at Mint Yard; now the site of York Explore central library.

The new coins were made with a ‘milled edge’. Mr Woods said they were created in several denominations, with the sixpence being the lowest - which is why it’s not an uncommon find. “It’s a nice find,” he said.

“Not one that would surprise us, but it’s not an everyday thing.”

Judy’s coin comes from the York mint. “There’s a little ‘Y’ on it, just above the king’s shoulder”, she said.

Similar coins in various conditions are on sale online for several hundred pounds. Judy said: “There’s no point keeping it. We are hoping someone will make us an offer we can’t refuse - it might help pay for the new turf in the garden.”