Sunday, 19 September 2010

"Only interested in the History" but Holding out for my Thirty Quid

From a metal detecting forum near you. This is a real letter of September 2010 from "Muddy Mick" from Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire in England. A guy who as the official position tells us is "only artefact hunting because I'm interested in the history" is complaining about the tardiness of the state coughing up his reward money. Just look how long it took for him to get his thirty quid from the museum:
Dear all at the Treasure Valuation Committee
Thank you so much for the £30 reward i received in my bank account today, for a Treasure find i found in June 08 and the Coroners inquest in Oct 09 and now 27 months on, the whole long drawn out process which is supposed to take roundabout a year is at an end... yippee, No doubt my story is short compared to some of the other members of the Forum, im a member of [] [...]
The money of course does not come from the TVC itself, it was probably raised by donations from pensioners and unemployed people to a museum wanting to help save the glittery bits of Britain's archaeological heritage disappearing into private collections. We could stop "metal detectorists" from complaining about how it took too long for them to get their cash handout for complying with the law or that it's not enough by changing the law of course. Muddy Mick's real name is Mike Smith. I wonder if the TVC replied to this letter and if so, what it said?


Mo said...

Regarding the Crosby Garrett Roman Helmet there some things that I cannot get my head around.

I tend to agree with you about the Griffin as it would seem that there was a wider terminal in place. In one of the reports that you site, the Griffin is referred to as 'associated'. I always took this term to mean that the associated object was not the original. Such as a decanter that has an associated stopper.

Perhaps as in another post of yours these items have been thrown away as they did not appear to be of any value.

With regard to the face of the helmet it looks quite young and boyish in appearance, almost feminine.

Also can't quite understand why the finder is selling this artefact through auction.

By the time the restoration costs have been paid, Christies sellers premium, VAT on resoration costs, VAT on the sellers premium and finally capital gains tax, there may only be about 30%-40% left.

If it was mine and I was totally interested in the money I would have done the maths.

Paul Barford said...

Well, Roger Bland says he's unemployed, its probably still going to be more than his job-seekers' allowance, innit?

Anonymous said...

Capital Gains Tax?! How does that work then?

Not that I hope it doesn't, it would be an excellent way of raising the ransom.

Mo said...

My understanding of the tax implication regarding the find are as follows.

If the find was classed as treasure and a reward was given then there would be no tax payable.

Although this was not classed as treasure, my understanding is that if finder and the landowner offered the find to a museum then the same rule would apply.

Their payment would be classed as a reward and therefore no CGT payable.

So if they were offered £200K by a museum, £100k each with no tax implications. The unemployed person could have asked for an ex gratia payment upfront.

However by selling this item at auction they are disposing of an asset and CGT rules apply.

If the helmet reaches a hammer price of £250K at auction then I would guess that £50k will be eaten up in restoration costs, commission and VAT.

So they end up with £100k each.

Take off the allowance of £10100 =

The amount of tax depends on their current earnings so up to the higher threshold the tax is 18%.

Once their total income reaches the higher rate band then they are taxed at 28%.

So they probably will end up with about £70K+ each if the helmet makes £250K hammer price.

The owner of the land will probably pay more tax than the finder as they probably have an income already so they may have to pay 28% on £89900.

If a museum buys the helmet the museum will have to pay a buyers premium + VAT on the premium.

I wonder if they were given any advice before consigning this artefact?

Not hard to see who are the winners and losers in this scenario.

Mo said...

I still keep looking at this helmet and found another photograph from an American paper.

I had not seen this picture before and it made me think again that the helmet looks very feminine.

Given that there were female cavalry soldiers in that area it's not beyond the realms. However this artefact did not end up on a funeral pyre.

There is also an interesting inscription at Brough on the tomb of Hermes of Commagene. Brough is very near to Crosby Garrett.

I don't think this helmet looks Sarmatian even though Christies have described it as looking like the Sarmatian helmets on Trajan's Column. Sarmatian's surely were more conical?

Maybe Christies have described it as such because of the Arthurian theory and thought that it would attract interest.

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