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Jesus Christ holding a Bible is depicted on one side of the gold coin. (Photo by Martine Kaspersen, Innlandet County Municipality)

Very Rare Gold Coin Featuring Jesus Found in Norway: 'Jesus Christ, King of Those Who Reign'

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A metal detectorist in Norway recently found an ultra rare gold coin depicting Jesus Christ holding a Bible. 

Norway's Innlandet County Municipality reports the coin was found in the mountains of the Vestre Slidre municipality located in the central part of the Nordic country and is in remarkable condition, considering it's 1,000 years old. 

The coin was first introduced in Byzantium around 960 A.D. It was minted in what was then called the Eastern Roman Empire, probably in the empire's capital of Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, the county said.

On one side of the coin, Christ is portrayed holding a Bible. The reverse side is believed to show the depictions of emperors Basil II (left) and Constantine VIII (right). The pair were brothers and ruled together, according to the Innlandet report

It is believed the coin was struck during the late reigns of the brothers, sometime between 977 and 1025 A.D.  Coins minted during this period have a dotted, triple border around them, just like this one. 

The rare coin bears two inscriptions, one in Latin which says: "Jesus Christ, King of those who reign", and one in Greek which says: "Basil and Constantine, emperors of the Romans."

The coin's reverse shows what's believed it be depictions of the emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. (Photo by Martine Kaspersen, Innlandet County Municipality)

The Innlandet report speculated as to how the coin came to rest in the mountains in Norway, asking: Was it part of Harald Hardråde's salary that he brought home to Norway after he worked in the Byzantine emperor's bodyguard in 1034?

While in Constantinople, Hardråde was part of the emperor's guard of northern Europeans. At that time it was customary for the guards to be given the right to loot the palace and take all the valuables they could find when the emperor died. During Harald's time in Byzantium, three emperors had died. 

Hardråde reportedly sent some of the treasures he acquired to Prince Yaroslav in Kyiv. At the same time, he was also contributing to a dowry so he could marry Elliptical, who was one of the prince's daughters, according to the Innlandet site. 

The county reports the Norse sagas say that Hardråde and his men were very rich when they returned to Norway in 1046. Their ships were said to be weighed down with gold and other valuables. 

The coin was found on an old transport route known as the salt roads that were constructed due to the trade in salt from western Norway. The Innlandet municipality also further speculated that the coin might have been lost either by a clergyman on one of his missionary trips or perhaps it was used in an exchange between traders. 

The county said the site where the coin was found would be examined by professional archaeologists during the field season next year. 

It is doubtful the detectorist will get to keep the gold coin. According to Norway's national guidelines for metal detecting, coins older than 1650, are considered the property of the state. Any finds made by metal detecting must be surrendered to the country's common cultural heritage. Keeping such discoveries is punishable by fines and imprisonment. 

However, a finder's fee may be determined by the National Antiquarian, and the fee is distributed equally between the finder and the landowner, according to Norway's Cultural Heritage Act. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of