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Housewife finds $400,000 15-century treature with metal detector

A metal-detector hobbyist in Hertfordshire has found a 500-year-old treaure, part of a reliquary or pendant, worth over $400,000.

Under the Treasure Act of 1996, finders must report potential treasure such as gold and silver objects more than 300 years old. Finders are offered the market value for their discoveries which museums have first option to buy. Roger Bland, head of treasure at the British Museum, describes the item – which at 2.8cm by 2.3cm, is barely larger than a postage stamp – as an “important find”, and said he regrets that the museum does not currently have the funds to buy it.

As one of only three of its kind to have survived, the find could be worth even more than £250,000, and its engraving is being compared to that of the Middleham Jewel, which sold at auction for £1.3million in 1986 and was later resold to the Yorkshire Museum for £2.5million.

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