Medieval coins found in Derbyshire confirmed as treasure

Members of a metal detecting group found the coins.

Members of a metal detecting group found the coins.

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Silver 12th century coins discovered by metal detecting enthusiasts in Derbyshire have been confirmed as treasure.

The hoard, unearthed in the Clowne area in summer 2014, consists of ten medieval coins from the reigns of King Stephen and King Henry II.

At Derby coroners’ court on Friday, coroner Michael Bird concluded the hoard qualified as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

During the hearing, Mr Bird read out a report by Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coins at the British Museum.

Mr Williams stated in his report: “The coins were discovered through the metal detecting of cultivated land in the course of an organised trip by the Coil to the Soil group.

“They are of good silver.

“Two of the coins are cut halfpennies.

“The cutting of pennies to produce halfpennies and farthings was widespread in this period. Cut halfpennies formed a significant part of the circulating currency.

“Given that the coins were all found in close proximity and are all of a similar date, there is no reason to doubt that they all derive from a single hoard.

“The small size of the hoard is consistent with a purse although no trace of any container was found.”

During the inquest, Mr Bird identified the six finders of the coins. He also named the landowners and land occupier. They may all receive an ex gratia award.

Mr Bird added: “The finders were acting legally.

“I conclude that the coins are treasure.”

Farah Qureshi, assistant treasure registrar at the British Museum, said Sheffield Museum had expressed an interest in acquiring the hoard.

Treasure inquests are rare in Derbyshire.

In 2009, a 400-year-old silver ring which was believed to have been a gift to a sweetheart was confirmed as treasure.

Measuring just 1.5cm across, the ring was found by Mick Beasley, of Ilkeston, who was searching with a metal detector on land in Sandiacre.

The ring was inscribed with VSE * VERTVE – which means ‘used virtue’ and believed to represent a woman being betrothed to a loved one.

It was believed to be worth hundreds of pounds.

A Government spokesman said: “You must report treasure to the local coroner within 14 days of finding it.

“There is a fine of up to £3,000 or three months in prison for not reporting treasure.”