Hoard of silver coins fetches £90,000 at auction

By Sam Russell, PA

A metal detectorist has said he was “amazed” as a hoard of 99 silver Anglo-Saxon coins that he found in a farmer’s field sold at auction for £90,000.

The proceeds will be split 50/50 between builder Don Crawley, who unearthed the pennies at the site of a forgotten Saxon church in Suffolk, and the landowner.

The 50-year-old, from Bucklesham near Ipswich, was visiting the farmer’s field for the first time when he made the discovery in 2017.

Auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb said the unnamed landowner did not want to reveal further details of the location of the find.

Builder and metal detectorist Don Crawley holds a collection of Anglo Saxon silver pennies. The hoard of 99 coins fetched a total of £90,000 at auction (Jonathan Brady/ PA)

The coins had a pre-auction estimate of between £30,000 and £50,000.

They sold for £90,000 in Mayfair in London on Wednesday.

“I am totally amazed at today’s auction and loved every minute,” said Mr Crawley. “I will probably never experience anything like this again.”

Mr Crawley also found the remains of human bones at the farmer’s field.

The coins were examined at the British Museum and experts said they dated back to the reign of King Ethelred II, known as Ethelred the Unready, who ruled England from 978 to 1016.

Auctioneers say the coins may have been buried by a pilgrim around 999 as penitence, due to worries about the “impending apocalypse of the Millennium”.

The British Museum considered buying the coins but decided to disclaim them, the auctioneers said.

Nigel Mills, Dix Noonan Webb’s antiquities specialist, said: “This is a fantastic result for Don, and shows how the prices realised at auction for a newly found hoard can exceed everyone’s expectations.”