Man discovers ‘modified’ piece of treasure

James Britton with the coin he found at a farm in Horsted Keynes near Haywards Heath. Picture: James Britton SUS-171004-141932001
James Britton with the coin he found at a farm in Horsted Keynes near Haywards Heath. Picture: James Britton SUS-171004-141932001
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A West Sussex man claimed he discovered a piece of ‘modified’ treasure while metal detecting in a Sussex farm.

James Britton, from Aldwick near Bognor Regis, was running a club called Sussex Metal Detecting Club when he discovered the piece of treasure in Horsted Keynes last year.

The coin was found at a farm in Horsted Keynes near Haywards Heath. Picture: James Britton

The coin was found at a farm in Horsted Keynes near Haywards Heath. Picture: James Britton

The piece of treasure has since been disclaimed by Lewes Museum.

Mr Britton said: “Both the members and myself were filled with optimism on this particular site because the farmer had informed us of a lone detectorist who had himself once found a gold coin on the farm and, more importantly, in the fields we had been allocated that day.

“To the mixed joy and annoyance from some of our members (considering they had already been metal detecting for a couple of hours) I walked out onto the field around midday and on my first signal, a target with a depth of about 8 inches, I could immediately see was almost certainly a gold coin.

“After carefully digging it out and plucking it from the ground I jumped with excitement, followed by a short ‘Gold Dance’ often performed by detectorists upon finding gold.

“After the initial excitement had passed we began to examine the coin and we could see that it was a Queen Anne guinea dating to 1713, but also that it had a small silver loop soldered on to the coin, and that it would have been worn as a necklace sometime in the past. “Due to the fact the coin had been modified into jewellery, this meant the object fell under the Treasure Act and was classified as treasure.”

Mr Britton sent the item to Lewes Museum but it was later disclaimed as no museum officially wanted to purchase the coin.

He added: “It was agreed with the landowner that I would purchase the coin from him, and then offer it for loan at Lewes Barbican House Museum for their upcoming exhibition of focusing on twenty years of the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme, a body which records objects made by detectorists for furthering archaeological and historical knowledge.”

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