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Lexi sniffs out an historic treasure

Bob Norton with his staffordshire bull terrier, Lexi, who found a centuries old coin (below) on Blackpool beach.

Bob Norton with his staffordshire bull terrier, Lexi, who found a centuries old coin (below) on Blackpool beach.

A storm battered hotels and attractions, and brought chaos to the Fylde coast...but it may also have unearthed an historic piece of treasure.

For while last week’s horrendous weather destroyed parts of North Pier and flooded businesses in Blackpool, the gale force winds are also thought to be responsible for unearthing a centuries old coin , washed up on the beach.

Dog walker Bob Norton, from Thornton Gate, was taking his daily stroll with his Staffordshire bull terrier, Lexi, when his pet became attracted to a gleaming piece of silver.

Mr Norton, 66, was on the beach in Norbreck when he found the engraved coin, which he believes is a Spanish Colonial Cob – a currency used in Spain between 1572 and 1773.

After researching the coin’s history on the internet, Mr Norton, a retired engineer, believes the coin is pre-1600 and from the reign of King Philip II.

The flares on the cross of the coin suggest it was minted in Mexico City and could be worth an estimated £500 on auction site eBay.

He said: “I was surprised to see it there and it’s probably from the storm. It just caught my eye because I could see a bit of an inscription on it and looked like something of curious value. It looks like a tram has run over it and someone has cut it out from a sheet of lead. Whatever it is, it’s hard to make out because it’s been scrubbed clean after so long.”

The coin is believed to have washed up on to the beach after Thursday’s storm sparked tidal surges.

Married dad-of-one Mr Norton added: “I’m in two minds about whether to keep it or sell it but I’m going to see someone in Manchester who will value it for me.”

Mr Norton walks his pet along the coast every day and immediately took the coin into A and B Christie, a jewellers, on Blackpool’s Corporation Street.

And Andrew Tattington, a partner at the jewellers, had other ideas about the coin’s origin. He said: “It’s probably Elizabethan but it’s such a great shame it’s fragmented because it’s very difficult to identify. I couldn’t give it an absolutely positive ID after looking into my coin books because I didn’t have a lot to go on. I’ve not seen anything from that time which is Spanish or European but my money is on Elizabethan (1558-1603).

“This is the first time I’ve seen something like that come off the beach at Blackpool and it’s probably from a shipwreck. I’m always interested to see things like this and it was exciting because it’s a bit of history being found on my doorstep.”

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