June 4, 2023

  • In 2019, more than 260 gold coins from the 1600s to the 1700s were found under a house in the UK.
  • The coins likely belonged to a commercial family that was influential in the 16th to 18th centuries.
  • Auction house Spink & Son said the coins could fetch at least $290,000 at auction in October.

During a kitchen renovation in 2019, the owner of an 18th-century home found more than 260 gold coins that could fetch $290,000 at an October auction.

According to a press release from London-based auction and collectibles company Spink & Son, “Almost every coin represents the ‘pound sterling’ at the time, and it is one of the largest collections of 18th-century British gold coins ever found in the UK.”

The coins, spanning the reigns of King James I to King George I, were found in a salt-glazed cup under the concrete and floor of a house being renovated in North Yorkshire. The press release said the cup was “no larger than a soft drink can.”

From 1610 to 1724, these coins have a spending power of around £100,000 today, or over $115,120.

Spink & Son’s senior specialist and auctioneer Gregory Edmund said in a press release: “From such an inconspicuous location, this is a fantastic and truly unexpected find.” It has been a great honour to discover and explore this treasure,” he said, adding that the gold coin, dubbed the “Treasure of the Ererby Region”, will be Tender October 7th.

The coins probably belonged to a commercial family, the Fernley-Maisters, who were influential from the late 16th to the 18th centuries. The family made their fortune as importers and exporters of Baltic iron ore, lumber and coal, and some family members served in parliament in the early 1700s, according to the press release.

“The familial lineage was quickly lost, which may be why the coins were never recovered,” the release said. Joseph and Sarah, who belonged to the pair, died in 1725 and 1745, respectively, according to the auction house.

don’t trust banks

Edmund said: “Joseph and Sarah clearly did not trust the new Bank of England, the ‘banknotes’ or even the gold coins of their era because they chose to hold so many coins dating back to the English Civil War and before.”

Spink & Son said the coins were barely considered treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 because they were discovered in 2019. Under the act, two or more gold coins that are 300 years old or older are referred to as “archaeological hoards.” The press release said.

Although the discovery of gold coins was a “dream thing”, Edmund said the gold coins themselves were not “exciting” because “they just reflect the daily exchange of £50 and £100 coins that were buried and mysteriously never got used by them. The rich master takes it back.”

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