COLUMN: Lost treasures uncovered from beneath our feet

Hansons Auctioneers column
Hansons Auctioneers column

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.

It is really wonderful what treasures lie beneath our feet in the rich fertile soils of our county. The treasures can be quite evocative and my passion is to wonder about who last held the item, how it was lost and, if it could talk, what it could tell us. For example one item which can be discovered in our fields is a rumbler, or cow bell, which would have been worn around the neck of cows in the Seventeenth Century so the farmer could more easily keep track of his cattle.

My own interest in antiques really started when as a an eight year old boy I took up the hobby of metal detecting. As a youngster I would take my detector out in my parents’ fields and dig for treasure. One of my earliest finds was a Charles I Civil war crown and I can still remember the feeling of seeing the silver hammered coin come out the soil!

Although we often think of seeking out treasures hidden in attics and chests of drawers, it is equally rewarding to uncover objects which were lost in the ground centuries ago. As a valuer and auctioneer an object with such heritage and history blows my mind away.

Remarkably, such treasures of the past from deep underground can be very inexpensive. The cow bell may only make £20-30, so everyone could have the chance to own a real piece of history.

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

For further information, contact Charles Hanson at Hansons Auctioneers on 01283733988 or email charleshanson@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk