Man wins metal detector then unearths rare £23,000 hoard of coins | UK News


Man wins metal detector then unearths rare £23,000 hoard of coins | UK News

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Mickey Richardson won a metal detector just three months before his haul (Picture:Mickey Richardson/BNPS)

A novice treasure hunter who won a metal detector in a raffle has uncovered £23,000 worth of historic silver coins.

Mickey Richardson, 63, discovered the 234 coins in a muddy field in Ansty, a village about nine miles northeast of Dorchester.

In what was one of Mickey’s first finds, the money was likely buried there for safekeeping by a farmer in 1644 during the English Civil War.

But it seems the owner was killed before he had a chance to retrieve the coins and they’ve remained hidden until now.

Mickey found them scattered across the field, suspecting that centuries of farmers ploughing the fields had moved them around.

He was excited to find the first coin, featuring the bust of King Charles I, before spending an exhaustive two days uncovering the rest.

The grandfather said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it. I dug up 74 silver coins on the first day and was shattered afterwards.

Mickey in the field found his extraordinary hoard (Picture: Mickey Richardson/BNPS)

‘I went back the next morning thinking it would be nice to round it up to 100 but found a total of 234 coins spread over a radius.’

The coins covered the reigns of King Edward VI in the 1550s, Queen Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.

Some of the Elizabeth and James’ coins had been scratched, probably by a former Catholic owner in protest at their protestant views and the reformation of the Catholic Church.

Mickey handed the coins over to his local Finds Liaison Officer, a special council official who documents metal detector finds, as required by law under the Treasure Act (1996).

The British Museum examined them before they were returned to Mickey as ‘finders keepers’.

It’s thought the coins were buried during the English Civil War (Picture: MickeyRichardson/BNPS)

He watched live and was ‘jumping up and down’ as the coins were sold at London auctioneers Spink & Son for £23,000, including fees.

Mickey, from Bournemouth, Dorset, must split the proceeds 50/50 with the landowner but is planning a summer holiday for him and his wife Rosalynd.

He said he’d only taken up metal detecting a few months before his find.

‘I had a very basic metal detector which I just used to take down to Bournemouth beach,’ he explained.

‘But then I entered a raffle on a Facebook group for a metal detecting club and won the first prize which was a top-of-the-range detector.

‘A couple of months after that I got permission from the owner of land in Ansty where there used to be a small mudhouse village and where the fields were used to grow hops to brew beer in the Napoleonic Wars.

The grandfather only took up the hobby a few months before his find (Picture: Mickey Richardson/BNPS)

‘I had been there a couple of times and found a copper coin but that was it.

‘On the weekend I found the hoard I was just about to call it a day when I got a strong signal and found a Charles I shilling. Then I swept the area again and got another signal and then another signal and another.’

‘It was a day I will never forget.’

Mickey said he was expecting the coins to sell for £10,000 at auction so was delighted with the final result.

But he added: ‘It wasn’t about the money but about the history and preserving the coins. The money is a bonus.’

Spink & Son coin specialist Ella Mackenzie said: ‘This ensemble encompasses the most unstable time in our nation’s history.

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He will share the money made from the sale of the coins with the landowner (Picture: Mickey Richardson/BNPS)

‘These coins circulated in the pockets of a crucially formative period for England in so many ways: from constitutional, to religious, socio-economic and obviously political.

‘Being able to handle this hoard has been a rare privilege.’

Britain has a rich history of Civil War hoards, with almost 400 cases documented.

However, the auctioneers said it is still rare for them to come up for public sale.

Last month a treasure hunter with a faulty metal detector discovered the largest golden nugget ever found in England.

Richard Brock, 67, was on an expedition in Shropshire Hills when he discovered the 64.8g ‘Hiro’s Nugget’ worth £30,000.

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