Treasure hunter unearths mystery coin on Westward Ho! beach

Merlin with some of his storm finds, including a coin with strange symbols inscribed into it.

Merlin with some of his storm finds, including a coin with strange symbols inscribed into it. - Credit: Archant

Escapologist Merlin is appealing to Gazette readers to help identify mystery symbols on silver coin.

Do you know what these markings mean? Merlin is hoping to identify the symbols engraved on this coin

Do you know what these markings mean? Merlin is hoping to identify the symbols engraved on this coin. - Credit: Archant

A NORTH Devon treasure hunter is appealing to Gazette readers to help him identify a coin with a curious inscription found on Westward Ho! beach.

Escapologist Merlin Cadogan, from Northam, has spent around five hours a day metal detecting on the beach in the wake of the recent storms.

And his dedication has paid off, having found more than 600 coins, two rings, a personalised cigarette box and a number of lead toys.

But one silver coin, a four reales coin which has a number of symbols inscribed into it, has puzzled Merlin and he’s hoping Gazette readers can help.


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“In the 1800s there was a shortage of silver and sometimes coins were inscribed so they made up a different value to what was shown,” said Merlin.

“This saved them having to make more coins.

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“It also could be that someone has marked the coin as their own. I am hoping someone will be able to help me identify what the markings mean.”

Alongside his more treasured finds, Merlin has also removed around 30kg of lead weights from the beach and thousands of aluminium cans, as well as unearthing five live bullets and a detonator.

He said: “The storms have washed away a lot of the sand, so the items are much closer to the surface.

“But there are also a lot of things such as the lead weights which are bad for the environment, so I am doing my bit to remove them.”

Merlin will be giving a talk to the Taw and Torridge metal detecting club on May 26 at Torrington Methodist Church from 7.30pm.

For more information on the club or to come along contact Pete on 07977 557006.

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