Thursday 28 April 2011

The Hackney Hoard Again

Here's one for US coin buffs. The Hackney Hoard: Coroner to Rule on Unique and Historic Treasure Case Found in Garden
On 18 April 2011 the Coroner for Inner North London resumed an inquest in relation to a hoard of American gold dollars found in Hackney in 2007. The hoard consists of 80 coins which were minted in the United States between 1854 and 1913. They are all $20 denominations of the type known as ‘Double-Eagle’ and the find is totally unprecedented in the United Kingdom. [...] This represents the first time since the Treasure Act came into force in 1997 that an original owner or direct descendent has lain successful claim to an item that would otherwise have been ‘Treasure’ and the property of the Crown. Dr Roger Bland, head of the department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum, said ‘The case of the Hackney gold coins is one of the most unique and compelling stories that we have been involved with. There is an incredibly human element to this story that is absent from many archaeological finds and we are pleased to see the coins reunited with their original owners after so many years. The finders are to be congratulated for acting responsibly and helping to add further vital information to the corpus of material about the Second World War, Jewish immigration, and the history of Hackney borough’.
Archaeologists from the British Museum and University College London have investigated the site to ensure that no further deposits remained - which is not a luxury present resources allow us in the case of other Treasure finds in the current system where the funds are channelled most often merely to rewarding the finder, and not research into the find itself. But nice to get the background story to this one, pity its so sad.

Vignette: Double eagle (this is the infamous Saint-Gaudens 1933 one, sadly none of these were found in the Hackney Hoard)

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