Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Jackpot find in Corringham for treasure hunters

TWO friends who uncovered a huge haul of 14th century coins worth up to £50,000 in a farmer’s field in Corringham have promised to split their jackpot find.

Brian Smyth, 65, from Rayleigh, and Nick Rowntree, 57, from Rochford, have been metal detecting for a combined half a century but declared their most recent find as their biggest ever on Friday.

The pair discovered the medieval ‘piggy bank’ containing almost the whole range of English currency circulating in the late 1300’s, including a substantial number of large gold and silver coins, whilst out on their weekly Sunday morning treasure hunt.

Brian told the Enquirer: “We’ve been metal detecting on this same field for over 25 years so we weren’t expecting to find anything. We’d been out for two hours and Nick was back in the car ready to go when I got a ‘beep’.

“I dug about a foot and a half down, got on my hands and knees and the detector was just going crazy!”

After nearly an hour of digging out a large collection of coins from the soil, the retired Argos worker was ready to go home before his friend Nick joined in uncovering a further haul of gold coins on the edge of the hole.

“I had been waiting in the car ready to go but Brian was taking so long I thought he must have found something,” added Nick.

“By the time I got there he was ready to pack up but luckily I convinced him to stay a little longer.”

This week the find, which was discovered back in August 2009, was officially declared ‘treasure’ by coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray and will now be offered to the British Museum to buy.

A Treasure Valuation Committee is set to be held in the next couple of months to find out how much the haul is worth with estimates so far ranging from £20,000 to £50,000. This sum will be split 50/50 between the land owner and the two budding treasure hunters.

When we asked Brian what he would be spending his share of the money on, he joked: “Unfortunately, I think the wife’s already spent it!”

The pair, who are both members of Wickford Metal Detecting Society, returned to the mystery field in Corringham last summer with a digger to search for more coins but were less successful this time.

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