Norfolk man sold King’s Speech star Colin Firth a lucky charm for the Oscars

It was given to him as a baby to celebrate his birth and through six decades never left the Norfolk village where he has lived all his life.

But when antiques dealer Rodney Pratt, 64, decided it was time for a clear-out of his home in Wymers Lane, South Walsham, he put the mint-condition 1946 King George V1 shilling up for auction on the internet site eBay along with a collection of other coins.

After it sold for the princely sum of �2.16p he never gave it a further thought until he received an urgent phone call from the Oxford buyer, Piers Bedford, asking him to dispatch it next-day delivery.

Film buff Rodney's excitement grew as it was explained the coin had been bought by an Italian friend of actor Colin Firth as a lucky charm for him ahead of his trip to the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles.

After Firth's Sunday night triumph when he clinched the best actor award for his portrayal of King George V1 and his battle to conquer a stutter in The King's Speech, Rodney was prompted to email Mr Bedford to say: 'I am pleased the shilling worked.'

And to his amazement, Mr Bedford emailed him back a photograph of Firth and co-star Geoffrey Rush, who plays unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue, holding up the shilling on Oscars night.

Rodney, who used to run an antiques business, the Curiosity Shop, in South Walsham, explained he was now using eBay to sell off the clutter of a lifetime bit by bit.

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The female buyer, who it is thought may be connected to Firth's Italian wife Livia, had spotted the coin on his listing and asked Mr Bedford to get it for her.

Rodney said he and his wife Caroline had seen The King's Speech at Cinema City in Norwich and realised the special significance of the shilling.

In the film script, Logue (Rush) bets the king (Firth) he will be ready to deliver his speech, and when the king replies he does not carry money, he hands him a shilling and tells him he will bet him a shilling.

Rodney, who retired from his shop about five years ago, said: 'There have been some memorable moments in my career - like the time Princess Margaret walked round my shop - but this is the most amazing yet. You never know who you are dealing with when you put something on eBay.

'To think that a coin from a little village in Norfolk should end up at the Oscars.'