Sunday 20 January 2008

Anglo-Saxon gold coin leaves British Museum out of pocket

A gold coin lost 1,200 years ago on a river bank in Bedfordshire became the most expensive British coin when it was bought by the British Museum for £357,832 yesterday.

A little smaller than a pound coin in diameter and much thinner, the glittering mancus, the value of 30 days' wages for a skilled Anglo-Saxon worker, now ranks among the museum's most valuable artefacts.

Experts described the coin as "the find of the last 100 years".

But the museum is angry at the size of its outlay, claiming that it should have been able to acquire it for two thirds of the price, and has called for reforms to art export laws.

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