AN extremely rare coin which was found in a field in Ryedale is set to be the star attraction in an auction in London this week.

The coin, unearthed by a metal detectorist, is from a period of British history known as “the Anarchy”, during in-fighting between the grandchildren of William the Conqueror.

During this time of turmoil, a brief window in crown authority allowed local noblemen to start issuing coins in their own likeness, rather than the king.

The silver penny struck around AD 1148-1152 names local Yorkshire Baron Robert de Stuteville rather than the ruling King Stephen. Few coins are known to have survived and all are considered exceedingly rare and highly sought after by coin collectors and institutions alike.

Gregory Edmund, senior coin specialist and auctioneer for Spink and Son, who are handling the sale, said: “Although the past few months have truly tested us all, it has been a genuine pleasure to handle this remarkable new find and explore its fascinating history.

“It is an understatement to describe this coin as simply ‘rare’ for as I have discovered, this is actually the first of its type to be documented in almost 150 years despite the design being known about since the 17th century and a chance discovery in a mole hill.”

Mr Edmund added: “This is the fifth coin of Robert de Stuteville to be authenticated since 1684, but the only example available to the public as all the other coins are retained in institutional collections.”