A group of four amateur metal detectorists have discovered a hoard of over 550 rare, 14th century coins while taking part in a metal detector rally in Buckinghamshire.
Dubbed the ‘Hambleden Hoard’, the coins are over 600 years old and include a mixture of mintages from Lincoln, Birmingham, Ireland and Scotland.
The four men were initially happy to find just 12 silver coins from the time of Edward I and Edward II but continued to dig and found more and more coins, including 12 full gold Noble coins. The twelve gold coins could easily fetch thousands each thanks to their gold content and historical interest, and the total hoard has been estimated at £150,000 but, with many coins still to be analysed there could be rare silver coins that will see this total increase.
When news of the discovery broke, the men had to fight off competition from other people at the rally and described the scenes as ‘absolutely hectic’. Digging up all the coins took almost four days, and the men vigilantly slept in tents overnight to keep the site safe and secure.
The coins are currently being kept in a museum until they have been officially valued and sold. The proceeds will then be split between the four men and the landowner.
The hoard is one of the largest found in the UK for some time, but falls some way short of 2009's Staffordshire Hoard, in which a staggering 5.094 kilos of gold items were discovered near Lichfield. Uniquely, the Staffordshire Hoard was almost exclusively made up of military items rather than coins. The Staffordshire Hoard is on permanent display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, and can be viewed for free.