The 5,251 silver coins, unearthed in a farmer’s field, form one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.
An amateur treasure hunter could be in line to receive part of a £1 million windfall after unearthing a hoard of rare Anglo Saxon coins in a Christmas dig.
The 5,251 silver coins, which are more than 1,000 years old, were found in a farmer’s field near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.
They are said to form one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.
The dig was organised by the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club and was attended by more than 100 people.
The individual who made the discovery could split the takings with the land owner if and when the coins are sold.
The perfectly preserved pieces, which feature the faces of Anglo Saxon kings, were in a lead bucket that was buried two feet underground.
Experts said the extremely rare pieces could be worth more than £1 million and Pete Welch, the club leader, said the find was “very significant”.
He said: “They’re like mirrors; no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down.
“It looks like only two people have handled these coins – the person who made them and the person who buried them.
“Metal detecting is a bit random but most farms have a bit of history so you have a chance of finding something.
“I think this was a case of you either move to the right or move to the left and on this case our member moved the right way.
“I’m just hoping that these coins will end up in a museum for the public to see. I wouldn’t want to see them go to a private collector.”
The discovery was made during the annual dig on December 21 on rural farmland the group had visited before.
After they were found an archaeologist was called to help excavate them.
The haul is said to be in “superb condition” and includes coins from the reigns of Ethelred the Unready (978-1016 AD) and Canute (1016-1035 AD).
Mr Welch believes the hoard is equal in importance to the Staffordshire Hoard of gold and garnets found by a metal detectorist in 2009.
He added: “We don’t know how many variations of the coins there are and when we do we will know how significant the find is.
“This would have been a huge amount of money in its day. One coin alone would have been a lot back then.
“Everyone dreams of a pot of gold. The reality is you spend most of your time digging up bits of junk
“This is the first of its kind since I’ve been running the club, which is 23 years.”
A Bucks County Museum spokesman said: “This is one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.
“When the coins have been properly identified and dated, we may be able to guess at why such a great treasure was buried.”
He added that as the coins are precious metal over 300 years old they fall within the remit of the Treasure Act.
They will now be taken to the British Museum for conservation and identification before a coroner will decide whether they are legally treasure.
A museum will then be able to bid for the coins, with the money from the sale being split between the land owner and the treasure hunter.
Originally posted by Rosa Silverman @ telegraph.co.uk.