Amateurs With Metal Detectors Find £1 Million Hoard Of 1,000-Year-Old Anglo Saxon Coins

Talk about striking it big. A group of amateur metal detectorists in England have come across one of the bigger finds of the year: a massive trove of 1,000-year-old Anglo Saxon coins that’s expected to net the group about £1 million.

Just before Christmas, more than 100 people from all over Britain took part in a gathering of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club. The group gets together with its metal detectors and sees if it can find anything of note in whatever location they wind up scanning. This time, though, one member found something that nobody expected.

About two feet below the surface was buried a lead bucket or container. Inside that container, more than 5,200 Anglo Saxon silver coins. In perfect condition.

“They’re like mirrors,” Weekend Wanderers founder Pete Welch told Buckingham Today, “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.”

The massive treasure haul includes coins that date back 1,000 years, to the reigns of Ethelred the Unready (978-1016 AD) and Canute, or Cnut (1016-1035 AD). Experts believe that the coins could be worth at least £250 each.

“At the moment,” Welch continued, “it looks like a find of national importance.”

That’s one way of putting it. One museum spokesperson called last week’s discovery “one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.”

It’s at least the second big buried currency find in Britain this year. In September, an East Devon man made headlines when he discovered 22,000 buried coins dating back to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.

For the Weekend Wanderers, it might be enough that they’ll help ensure that the coins will go to the British Museum for conservation and identification. The haul could be worth more than £1 million in total, but it’s unclear whether the group that dug up the coins is going to see any of that cash from a sale.

[Lead image via YouTube user ringfinger1962.]