5,251 silver coins dating back to the 11th century were discovered last month on a farm in Buckinghamshire, England. It is thought to be one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.
Metal detector enthusiast Paul Coleman was participating in a Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club event on December 21st when he made the discovery of the coins, which were buried inside a lead bucket two feet under a field. The hoard, which contains coins minted during the reigns of Æthelred the Unready (978-1016 AD) and Canute (1016-1035 AD), is estimated to be worth about £1 million.
Coleman told the Liverpool Echo, “I found a piece of lead and thought it was junk. But then I looked back in the hole and saw one shiny coin. Then I lifted a larger piece of lead and saw row upon row of coins stacked neatly. By that point the excitement had built up and I was grinning from ear to ear”.
The club has an account and photos of the discovery, which they call “Without a doubt this is the best find ever made in the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club’s 25 year history!” One of their members even filmed the first couple of hours of the dig:
The coins have been taken to the British Museum where experts will determine if they are “treasure” under the Treasure Act and give them a value. Likely, a museum could then buy them for this price, with the proceeds being shared between the landowner and the finder.
Coleman adds, “It was a happy accident. It happens quite a lot in what we do. There’s something magical working behind the scenes which directs you to it.”