Christmas arrived in September for a British bird watcher who found a million-dollar hideout of ancient Celtic coins while watching a “dog fight” in the countryside of England.
The gold medallions – almost mistaken for an ancient piece of machinery – date back more than 2,000 years, from the time when the fierce Celtic queen Boudicca was at war with Rome, according to the evaluators, who estimate the prize at £ 845,000, or about $ 1,144,000.
It is a “life changing” sum for the happy discoverer, presumably in his 50s, who chose to remain anonymous in a recent interview with Treasure Hunting magazine.
“That night, I was watching the birds a little bit,” he said. “After watching a dog fight between a vulture and a pair of magpies, I looked down and saw something lying on a piece of deep plowed soil that ran around the edge of the field.”
He almost passed, thinking that the metal chip was an old washing machine. Then he “rubbed and felt its thickness”.
“I saw the gold sparkle and realized it was a beautiful Celtic gold stater, which made me sit in shock,” he said. “So I located the second coin half a meter away and ran home to get my [metal detector]. This gave him a “very strong” signal that more was just below the surface.
After about 45 centimeters of excavation, he dug up a copper bracelet – probably the handle of a jar of gold coins. “Gently”, he lifted the vase and a golden “waterfall” came out – “a vision that will remain with me for the rest of my life”, he recalled. “I had to sit down to catch my breath. I had just gone for a walk and found a Celtic treasure. “
As if he had written for a film, a dog walker nearby passed the man and shouted, joking, “Have you found gold yet?” he claimed. “If you only knew,” he thought.
The man said he prayed that his two shopping bags full of 1,300 gold coins – each worth up to $ 880 – would endure the walk home. He then notified the local coroner’s office, which oversees the protocol under the UK Treasury Act of 1996, including the decision of who gets the coin: the discoverer, the landowner or a local museum.
Treasure Hunting editor Julian Evans-Hart said in a statement: “Coins make a substantial, if not enormous, contribution to our academic numismatic knowledge and will undoubtedly be subject to many assessments in the coming year.”
“It is possible that they will form a deposit as a ‘war chest’ for campaigns in eastern Boudicca,” he continued.
“The previous record was 850 and this was the Wickham Market Hoard found in 2008. At this stage, it seems highly likely that the discovery could very well take that finding out of the first place.”