A RARE 900-year-old coin unearthed near Pickering by a metal detectorist has sold for almost £30,000.

Metal detectorist Rob Brown, from Leeds, found the coin of Baron Eustace Fitzjohn, a wealthy landowner who was Lord of Malton and Knaresborough in 12th century.

The coin is engraved with a helmeted knight holding a sword with the inscription “Eustacius” and is one of only 20 surviving examples of its design.

Rob discovered the coin in August on a stubble field near Pickering, after walking 20 paces to get his first positive metal signal of the day.

Rob, who has been metal-detecting for eight years, did not initially recognise the coin.

It was thought the coin could fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 at Dix Noonan Webb Auctioneer in London, but it sold for £29,760 in an online auction on November 4.

“The auction felt quite surreal and it seemed to go so fast,” said Rob.

“I was amazed by all the interest from around the world with bidding from the USA, Brazil and the UK.

“I am planning to add the money to my pension pot and continue to carry on metal-detecting as I would love to find another one.”

Eustace Fitzjohn made his career serving Henry I and became a wealthy landowner through two marriages - Beatrix de Vesci followed by Agnes Fitz Nigel.

He later supported the Empress Matilda when she fought a civil war over who would inherit the English crown with her cousin Stephen in the period known as ‘the anarchy’ in England.

Nigel Mills, antiquities expert at Dix Noonan Webb, added: “This is a tremendous result - it exceeded all of our expectations.

“Bidding came from the United States and Brazil but with two UK buyers fighting it out in the end the Eustace stays here.”