A BRIDEGROOM from Salisbury came across the perfect wedding gift when out with his metal detector — a rare find worth thousands of pounds.

The Anglo-Saxon coin was found by a 24-year-old builder, who has asked not to be named, in a field near Stockbridge.

The local man has been metal detecting since he was 13-years-old.

“I am getting married in July and so it will help pay for the cost of the wedding and the honeymoon," he said. “I don’t think I will ever find anything as good as this again. It is absolutely amazing,”

The man, who has been metal detecting since he was 13 years old, decided to search the field near Stockbridge – with the consent of the landowner whom he will split the auction proceeds – in February.

“I had only been there a short time,” he added. “About five minutes after I started I found a hammered coin and then two minutes later I discovered this one. I knew it was scarce because it had King Offa’s name on it but I didn’t know how rare it was.”

The 1,200 year-old penny from the reign of the Mercian king Offa is one of only two known survivors of this type of coin and is expected to fetch up to £10,000 when it is auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins, medals and jewellery specialists, in London on June 8.

Salisbury Journal:

Further research revealed that not only was the penny from the reign of Offa, who ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia from 757 to 796, but it was made by the East Anglian moneyer Botred, whose coins for Offa are notably rare.

Only one other Offa penny by Botred is known to exist and that is in the collection of the British Museum and so will never be available to collectors.

Despite having been in a Hampshire field for well over 1,000 years, Dix Noonan Webb describes its condition as “good, very fine”.

Christopher Webb, the head of the coins department at Dix Noonan Webb, said: "This is a truly remarkable find.

“First of all the coin has survived for centuries in a field where it might easily have been destroyed by ploughing. Then this young man finds it within minutes of starting to use his metal detector in the field. Any bookmaker would offer very long odds against such an astonishing sequence of events.”