Wednesday 25 March 2015

‘Overvalued’ Dark Age hoard comes to auction


Not in it fer the munny, 'cept when we are

This is going to happen more and more now as the museums all get their case fulls of glittering trophy artefacts. A group of Early Medieval coins - disclaimed Treasure (YORYM-BC3AB2) - is coming onto the market on March 25 and 26:

This opportunity to buy items from the [...] Hoard is so rare because coins of this nature are normally declared treasure under the 1996 act and go to museums. In this case, both the Yorkshire Museum in York and British Museum disclaimed the hoard - describing it as overvalued - and so the 65 coins and four ingots, found by two metal detectorists in a North Yorkshire field in 2012, went back to their finders. London numismatists Spink have catalogued the material in about 60 lots for their March 26 sale in London. [...] The hoard came to light in two separate batches - with several inches of soil between them - a week apart. One batch of coins is Viking in nature, dating to the 920s,
Since the coins are not going to a museum, the Spinks catalogue is going to be the only record of the hoard while it is still intact. It was disclaimed because the Yorkshire and British museums already possess a larger hoard from this era the Vale of York Hoard discovered in 2007 near Harrogate (617 coins, the two museums acquired it jointly in 2009). The museums felt that the hoard, valued at £80,000 by the Treasure Valuation Committee had been 'overvalued'. Neither museum revealed whether they would be bidding for any lots at the Spink sale.   It is interesting to note that Spink's, for reasons best known to themselves, have christened thius the "Eboracum (Ryedale) Hoard" while in the PAS records it features as "York Area Hoard". The condition of the coin on receipt was bad, the coins had been "harsly cleaned" by the finder and some were badly chipped.

Treasure Hunters will be watching this sale closely, they say the TVC undervalues their finds.  Not, of course, that any of them are "in it fer the munny".

Source: Tom Derbyshire, '
‘Overvalued’ Dark Age hoard comes to auction' Antique Trade Gazette 24 March.
Hat tip to Kyri

UPDATE 28.03.2015
The sales results are now available. By my maths, despite the totally knackered state of some of the coins, the total takings from the entire hoard were 107,955 pounds, so a little more than what the TVC had suggested, though this does not mean that the TVC undervalues, but that Spinks' spin might have affected the bidding. I was surprised that the ingots at the end of the auction went for so much. Two lots are not listed among those sold, 447 and 448, I am not sure what happened there, trying to follow the link brings up an error message.


Anonymous said...

Beyond the peculiar parameters of British portable antiquities policy there are 3 ways in which the cost of the hoard to the museum could have been reduced:

1. "Harsh cleaning" could have prompted a significant reduction in the reward the finder was offered (over and above the reduced valuation. 50% might serve to encourage the others permanently.)

2. An additional sum could have been taken fron the finder's reward and given to the landowner to compensate him for the portion of the reward he has been deprived of by the cleaning. I say deprived but stolen is more accurate. It would be interesting to see PAS encourage a farmer to sue a finder for that reason wouldn't it!

3. The finder, as a history lover and heritage hero could have voluntarily given up a proportion of his reward to enable the museum and the community to acquire the objects.

The latter is one of the pledges in our Ethical Detecting Association which so far zero detectorists out of 8,000 have heroically signed up to.

Paul Barford said...

It is nothing short of scandalous that time after time full rewards are paid out despite the Code of Practice being ignored and as a result we get second-best information from what is EVERYBODY's heritage. The Lenborough hoard is a case in point let's see the PAS recommending a reduction of the ransom - and yes, let the landowner sue whoever is responsible for the balance.

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