A metal detectorist's huge find nets him a share of £1.35 million • 15.06.16
Metal detecting might help you dig up your fair share of junk and loose change, but occasionally you might just strike gold. This was the case for Paul Coleman, a metal detectorist who was enjoying his hobby in a field in Lenborough, Buckinghamshire, in 2014, when he found a silver coin.
He soon realised that this wasn’t just some loose change that had been dropped by a passerby; rather it was one of a hoard of 5,251 coins dating back to Anglo Saxon times.
The hoard had been wrapped in a lead sheet and buried for safety. Paul informed the British Museum of his find: “When I saw the first few coins I was really excited because I knew I had found a hoard, however the excitement grew and grew as the size and importance of the find became apparent.”
The services of the British Museum were brought in to help with the excavation and Ross Tyrell, the FLO in charge, compared the find to how Egyptologist Howard Carter must have felt, when he first found the tomb of Tutankhamen.
Perhaps what was most exciting about the find was the condition the coins were in. The lead had not only kept them together but it had also protected them so they remained in excellent condition. The coins show both Kings Ethelred the Unready and Canute, and are interesting because they were minted in different areas of the UK, helping us understand how money was used at the time.
Whilst Paul found the coins in 2014, the Treasure Valuation Committee has now been able to decide that the coins are worth an impressive £1.35 million, and Paul will be able to share the money with the landowner whose field it was.
If you’re wondering how the spoils are shared when you find these kinds of treasures then it’s worth knowing that the item belongs to the landowner. Metal detertorists will ask for permission to use the land and will often come to an agreement with the landowner to share anything they find. If there is no agreement then they have no right to what they find.
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