Beds, Herts & Bucks

Buckinghamshire County Museum aims to raise £1.35m for hoard

Lenborough hoard Image copyright British Museum
Image caption Some of the 5,251 silver coins after they had been cleaned by the British Museum

A museum has announced plans to raise £1.35m to buy a hoard of more than 5,000 Anglo Saxon coins.

Buckinghamshire County Museum needs the funds after the Treasure Valuation Committee issued a provisional valuation of the coins, which were found in Lenborough in 2014.

The museum said they were a "nationally important" archaeological find.

"If we can't raise the money, [it] will either be split up and sold on the open market, or be sold abroad," it said.

"There has already been interest from abroad in buying the hoard, so there is a chance that if we are not able to save it, then it could be lost forever."

The coins, which were found buried and wrapped in a sheet in the village near Buckingham, depict the heads of King Ethelred the Unready and King Canute and came from 40 different mints around England.

Image copyright Paul Coleman
Image caption Metal detectorist Paul Coleman, who found the coins, has accepted the valuation by the treasure committee

The hoard was declared treasure by an inquest in November and has been at the British Museum awaiting valuation.

Metal detectorist Paul Coleman, from Southampton, who discovered the hoard of 5,251 silver coins, will get a share of the money, which will also be split with the landowner.

The museum previously asked people for pledges ahead of the valuation to show there was public support for them to buy the hoard.

Brett Thorn, from the museum, said: "We hope that most of the money will come from national grants but we need to raise a significant amount locally to show that people want us to have it or national funders might not fund it."

Image copyright Paul Coleman
Image caption The buried hoard was found wrapped in a sheet of lead

Last week, Mr Coleman, who is a member of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club, said he was accepting the provision valuation and wanted the hoard to go to the museum.

"It would probably be very difficult to get the value increased anyway and we would rather see the collection go to a museum, rather than separated and sold to collectors around the world," he said.

The coins are being looked after by the British Museum, which has said it is supporting the local museum's bid to buy them.

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