A HANDFUL of treasure hunters are set to cash in on their finds ranging from Bronze Age axe heads to medieval coins after an inquest declared them as treasure trove.
In a brief hearing, Essex and Thurrock Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray read out expert analysis of 13 separate finds involving hundreds of coins and dozens of artefacts. She said all of the finds qualified as treasure trove.
The treasure will now be subject to a formal valuation process.
Among the treasure were two Viking coins found in 2008 and a Bronze Age metalwork hoard, including axe heads and sword fragments discovered in August last year. Both finds came from the Uttlesford area in Essex.
Brian Smyth, 65, from Rayleigh, Essex, and Nick Roundtree, 57, from Rochford, Essex, were among the amateur metal detectors present at the inquest.
The duo unearthed more than 500 medieval gold and silver coins on a farm in the Corringham area in Essex three years ago.
Mr Smyth said he believed the treasure was worth at least £20,000.
“It’s going to go before a finds committee and they will decide how much it will fetch at an auction,” he said.
“We’d split the money in half with the farmer and the other half between Nick and me.”
The pair were close to retiring for the day when Mr Smyth’s detector went off one Sunday afternoon in August 2009.
“We dug up the soil and there was all these gold and silver coins,” he said.
“At the time it didn’t sink in what we had found.”