Rare coin hoard donations reach £12k

Part of the Lenborough coin hoard
Part of the Lenborough coin hoard

Donation pledges to bring the rare hoard of Anglo Saxon coins to the Old Gaol in Buckingham have reached £12,000.

The discovery of 5,000 silver coins near Lenborough last Christmas is said to be the biggest hoard in modern times.

It was declared treasure last month and the coins are currently at the British Museum, awaiting valuation in the New Year.

But the pledges represent the amount of local support for Bucks County Museum to buy them.

The hoard, which is believed to be worth £1 million, would then be split between the museum, the Old Gaol and MK Museum.

Brett Thorn, archaeologist at Bucks County Museum, said: “It looks good to funding bodies if they can see significant local support – it’s a fantastic start.

“Once we know how much it will be, our trustees will then make a decision as to whether or not we are going to try to raise the money.

“Hopefully we will be able to, as we feel it is important to keep this in Buckinghamshire, and keep it available in public hands for any future research.

“If it’s a ‘yes’ our fundraising will begin in earnest, as we’ll be doing our best to promote it across the county, and get everyone behind keeping it safe.”

Treasure hunter Paul Coleman, 60, stumbled on the 11th Century coins, assuming his metal detector had found another manhole.

He was digging with other members of the Weekend Wanderers on December 21 when his device started beeping furiously.

But perfectly preserved and featuring the faces of Anglo Saxon kings, the coins were found in a lead bucket two feet underground.

They are about 1,000 years old, and were made in the reigs of two kings – Aethelred the Unready, and Cnut (sometimes called Canute) the Great.

Mr Thorn said the hoard was either on its way to a mint in Buckingham to be melted down and re-cast or it is family savings, built up over 20 years.

He explained that one of the coins - an Agnus Dei containing a lamb and flag- could be unique because it was printed with ‘the wrong back’ by mistake.

Just 30 Agnus Dei coins had ever been discovered and 25 of those were in Scandinavia.

Email museum@buckscountymuseum.org to pledge your support.