Silver coins worth £1m found in field in Buckingham

06/01/2015 10:06  |  Silver Coins

A member of Buckingham's Weekend Wanderers Metal Detecting Club had the surprise of his life recently after uncovering one of the largest hoards of Anglo-Saxon coins worth an estimated £1 million.

Amateur detectorist Paul Coleman, 59, discovered more than 5,000 silver coins buried in farmland in Lenborough. The coins were in excellent condition, having been carefully buried two feet beneath the surface in a lead container for an estimated nine hundred years. It's also believed they were only handled by just two people so there are very few visible scratches or marks.

Many of them feature the portraits of Ethelred the Unready and King Cnut the Great who between them ruled from 978 until 1035, leading experts to suggest the coins are likely to date back to the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The British Museum is now cleaning and examining the silver coins to establish more accurately their dates. They will also confirm if they were struck at the nearby Buckingham Mint which was in operation during this period. It will then be the job of a coroner to judge whether the find is classed as 'treasure' under the Treasure Act. If so, the silver coins will probably be bought by a museum and the proceeds split between the landowner and Mr Coleman.

Mr Coleman's haul is the largest hoard to be found in Buckinghamshire and the second largest in the country. The biggest was uncovered in Lichfield in Staffordshire in 2009 and included various gold and silver warrior artefacts including helmets and armour. This has since been valued at an incredible £3.285m.

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