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Part of the 2571 coin hoard found in Somerset in January      Source: Adam N Lisa / Facebook

£5million Coin Hoard Found By Metal Detecting Couple In England

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In England, a metal detecting couple has found an amazing treasure trove of coins. They have unearthed a hoard of silver coins that date from the famous Battle of Hastings. The find is expected to make the couple overnight millionaires and it has made them the envy of detectorists from all over the world.

Adam Staples and his partner Lisa Grace, from Derby, were investigating an unplowed farm field when they found the treasure. The exact location has not been revealed but the couple was searching in an area of north-east Somerset last January. They came across something interesting and unearthed it and the couple immediately realized that they had made an “absolutely mind-blowing” discovery according to the Daily Mail.

The Norman Invasion of England

Adam and Lisa found 2571 silver coins, that are in mint condition and are almost a millennium old. The Daily Mail reports that the hoard is “made up of King Harold II pennies from the end of Anglo-Saxon England and William the Conqueror coins.” King Harold , only ruled England for nine months before being killed at the Battle of Hastings  (1066) and he was succeeded, by the Norman William I.

The Sun reports that “Each coin will have the moneyer's [person officially permitted to mint money] name on and the mint of where it was issued.” Some of the silver pennies of Harold II were coined by moneyers who were previously unknown. This is providing new insights into the financial administration of England before the Norman Conquest .

 It is thought that the coins were buried sometime between 1066 and the 1070s.  They were probably the property of a wealthy individual, possibly a noble, but almost certainly not a royal. The Sun reports that the owner “probably buried them for safekeeping” as there was no banking-system in England at this time. The years after the Battle of Hastings were very turbulent and it is possible that the owner was killed before he could retrieve his riches.

The find was reported in Treasure Hunting Magazine in April. (Treasure Hunting Magazine)

The find was reported in Treasure Hunting Magazine in April. ( Treasure Hunting Magazine )

Value of the coins

The couple notified the relevant authorities, which is required by British law. The coins have since been transferred to the British Museum . For the past seven months, experts have been examining the coins and they have been amazed at what the metal-detecting couple unearthed.

At present, the couple is waiting to hear if their discovery will be declared treasure by the authorities. UNILAD reports that if the find is declared treasure “the museum must compensate the couple with the value of the discovery, while the landowner will also be entitled to 50 percent of the cash.”  Furthermore, museums will be obliged to bid for them at an auction. If the authorities do not declare the coins to be treasure,  they will then be returned to the couple and they can sell them at private auction. It looks like that either way that the couple is going to be rich.

Overnight millionaires

The coins of William I could be worth in the region of £1,000 ($ 1,220) and £1,500 ($1,800). According to Nigel Mills of Dix Noonan Webb Auctioneers, “Harold II coins are rarer than William coins and could be worth between £2,000 to £4,000 each” reports RTL247. That is, they are worth between $2400 and $5000 dollars each. It is estimated that the hoard could be worth between 3 and  5 million British pounds, or roughly 4 to 6 million US dollars.

The find is very important, but it is not the largest hoard of coins ever found in England. This distinction goes to the famous Staffordshire Hoard. This contains coins and golden artifacts from the Anglo-Saxon period and was found near Stoke in 2009. However, Grace and Adam have the satisfaction of knowing that their find is believed to be worth over one million pounds (1.2 million dollars) more than the Staffordshire Hoard .

The couple has been tight-lipped about their discovery. This is understandable as no final valuation has been agreed and there is no decision as to whether or not their find is treasure and can be bought by a museum. But now the story is out, metal detectorists from all over the world have congratulated the pair on their find on social media.

Top image: Part of the 2571 coin hoard found in Somerset in January      Source: Adam N Lisa / Facebook

By Ed Whelan

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