Brian Morton was scanning a field near Newcastle, Northern Ireland, last May when he found two silver pennies half an inch apart under four inches of mud. It turns out the that gleaming silver mini hoard came from the Isle of Mann, set in the middle of the Irish Sea, and currently famous for it's mad dash of a motorcycle race. Brian didn’t know he’d found an extremely rare historical treasure. That was formally confirmed last week when a coroner’s inquest in Belfast declared the coins official treasure trove.
Our treasure finding lucky Irishman, Brian "Boru" Morton, with his two Manx silver coins.
Made of 93% silver, the coins are of a rare type known as Hiberno-Manx coins. The rulers of Mann in the first half of the 11th century were Vikings from Scandinavia and from Dublin. Olaf Sigtryggsson, King of Mann in the early 1030s, was the son of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, King of Dublin, and his wife Sláine, daughter of Irish king and national hero Brian Boru. Viking Dublin had its own mint and issued coins which copied English designs. The Hiberno-Manx coins were very rough versions of the Dublin designs.
Wow, what a bunch. Just the names are impressive: Olaf Sigtryggsson, son of Sigtrygg Silkbeard and Slaine, daughter of Brian Boru. I mean, imagine a red headed and freckled (she just had to be) Irish royal princess named Slaine as your mom. I'm sure she was more level headed than her sisters, Slice, Slaughter and Slapyouintheface.
One of the Manx coins. Crudely stamped, but still better quality money ( 93% silver ) than current coinage in the US ( absolutely zero % silver ).
What a great find and what a backstory! Congratulations to our modern Brian for his Irish luck!