Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Treasures from Underground LOST to Auction

It is really wonderful what treasures lie
beneath our feet in the rich fertile soils of our county.

Going for gold in Matlock
Charles Hanson, 'Lost treasures uncovered from beneath our feet' Matlock Mercury Tuesday 19th July 2016
From merchant lead weights and rumbler bells of the Seventeenth Century, to a medieval key, Roman coins and a Henry VIII gold hammered coin - all treasures found across Derbyshire. When a metal detectorist visited our saleroom in Derbyshire recently this remarkable hoard of treasures tumbled onto a valuation table. It is fascinating to see what can emerge from bags and boxes brought to our saleroom. This vendor had been detecting across many areas of Derbyshire, including Ashbourne, for the past two years and already had amassed this marvellous array of items.
And no doubt would be among those who claims he or she  is in it out of a passionate interest in history and "not in it for the money at all". Anyway, other people "not in it for the money" will be selling their Treasures from beneath our feet (that's the archaeological record to you and I)
On the back of this collection we will be holding an inaugural auction of such metal detectorists’ finds on Tuesday, November 29, at our Etwall saleroom. We are keen to see further entries for this unusual and exciting specialist sale. Entries for the auction will close on November 2 so there’s still time to go treasure hunting! Hansons are delighted to have metal detecting find experts, Lisa and Adam involved. In creating such specialist auctions and being able to be of service to both sellers and buyers we are excited in opening up a new market and specialist department within our auction showrooms
Have these sales got the Alastair Willis seal of approval? Has the local FLO been along there to make sure that the items are responsibly reported and ensure that the finder has shown a valid landowner release document for each of the pocketed items being put up for sale? After all, Heatons would not want to run the risk of dealing with stolen property, would they? Or are they all that bothered, can any old metal detectorist turn up with a carrier bag full of bits including gold coins and tip them on the valuation table to get their finds accepted no questions asked?

I see that Mr Hanson admits to having been a metal detectorist, I suspect it is pointless to ask him therefore whether he thinks it is OK ripping holes in the historical record so people like him can make a profit selling bits of it off while the artefact hunters have decimated the rest. Thank goodness wild bird eggs and rare animal species are now safe from the collectors and auctioneers. Roll on the day when the carefree, random and selfish destruction of the historical record for personal profit goes the same way.

UPDATE24th July 2016
Charles Resized
The auctioneer has updated his site with a twee page on "metal detectives" (sic):
The recent surge of interest in such history created by television programmes such as Time Team, [Britain's Secret Treasures PMB] along The Vikings, The Tudors, and of course the award winning dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, has opened up this market; and the recent discoveries of treasure hoards by amateur metal detectorists have captured the public’s attention [through the PAS press releases on them PMB]. Hansons look to present the finds discovered under our feet, along with the treasured heirlooms passed from generation to generation, encouraging an ever wider audience to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of those who went before us. Specialist Auction Dates Metal Detecting Finds Tuesday 29th November - 10.30am (Closing date 2nd November) Metal Detective Finds are also included in a specialist section of our monthly Antiques and Collectors Auctions and quarterly Fine Art and Antiques Auctions. 
What else has "opened up this market" are TV programmes like "Britain's Secret Treasures" and the coverage of the amount of Treasure found by metal detectorists through the incessant PAS press releases (all except one find, eh Kent FLO?). As far as I know, real detectives do not flog off the evidence they uncover in the course of their investigations. These ones must be some mercenary cowboy ones.

And this brings us to the point, why when Mr H. wants to make a profit from flogging off the loot, does he call the persons who bring it to him "amateur metal detectorists"? The moment they walk through his door they become commercial artefact hunters.

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