In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

February 21, 2024

A builder who stumbled upon 99 silver Anglo Saxon coins in a farmer’s field has hit the jackpot after they fetched £90,000 at auction.

Don Crawley, 50, will take home half of the hefty cash haul, which is to be split with the landowner of the forgotten Saxon church site in Suffolk.

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

The metal detectorist, from Bucklesham, near Ipswich, found the pennies in 2017 on his first trip to the farm.

British Museum historians confirmed the hoard dated back to the first millennium and estimated they were from the time of English King Aethelred II between AD 978-1016.

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

Don Crawley (left), 50, found 99 silver Anglo Saxon coins when combing through a farmer’s field with his metal detector in 2017 (right)

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

British Museum historians confirmed the hoard dated back to the first millennium and estimated they were from between AD 978-1016

Speaking after yesterday’s auction in Mayfair, London, an ecstatic Mr Crawley said: ‘I am totally amazed at today’s auction and loved every minute.

‘I will probably never experience anything like this again.’

The coins were estimated to sell for around £30,000 but to Mr Crawley’s delight were snapped up for triple that price.

At the time of his discovery, Mr Crawley detailed how he struck lucky after combing across the field on his first attempt.

He said: ‘It was my first visit to this farmers land in Suffolk.

‘After walking up an incline in the field, my Deus detector gave off a strong signal and within a short space of time I had recovered 93 coins.

‘The Finds Liaison Officer was called in and they investigated the site which turned out to be a long forgotten Saxon church which had been dismantled by the Normans in the 11th century.

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

The builder (pictured with the coins) will take home half of the £90,000 cash haul which the silver pennies fetched

After carefully examining the markings on the coins, historians estimated they were from the time of English King Aethelred II

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

The coin haul includes two rare mints – coins made in specific locations – including Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and a previously unrecorded mint in Louth in Lincolnshire

‘Excavating around they uncovered the remains of human bones and I found another 6 coins.’

The coin haul includes two rare mints – coins made in specific locations – including Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and a previously unrecorded mint in Louth in Lincolnshire.

Louth had been a fortified settlement in the 10th century with a church containing the remains of St Herefrith who was a bishop.

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’.

In a Suffolk farmer’s field, a fortunate fifty-year-old guy discovered a 1,000-year-old treasure

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.’