Conor Clayton holds up the 1840 Mexican silver coin his father found while travelling up the Toowoomba Range on foot.
Conor Clayton holds up the 1840 Mexican silver coin his father found while travelling up the Toowoomba Range on foot. Dave Noonan

Landslide throws up Mexican coin

LAST week’s flash flooding unearthed a little surprise for Toowoomba resident Mark Clayton after he found a 171-year-old Mexican silver coin on a rubbish pile on the Range.

Mr Clayton was heading into town via Old Toll Bar Road, because of the Range closure last Thursday, when he stumbled across rubbish, which had been unearthed by landslides on the side of a creek.

Among the pile of old bottles, leaves and pottery shards, he found a small silver coin, a Mexican eight reales silver coin from 1840, older than Toowoomba itself.

Mr Clayton said he had no idea how it got there.

“It was a curious find,” he said.

“You don’t normally associate Mexico with the Darling Downs.

“It’s possible it could be a leftover from someone’s overseas trip or part of a local coin collection.

“All I know is the coin somehow ended up on the Toowoomba range and in my possession.”

While the coin is mostly pure silver, its small size and weathered condition means the coin is worth little more than $20 to $30.

But as an ex-museum director, Mr Clayton knows the value of a good historical find.

“I can’t help but wonder at how it got to ever be here in Toowoomba, how long it had lain there and how much longer it might have remained there had we not had such freakish weather last week,” he said.


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