'Jaw-dropping' Iron Age chieftain's ring found in Yorkshire field in 1994 and kept in a cupboard ever since to be auctioned for the first time

A collector who bought an Iron Age chieftain’s ring found in a Yorkshire field in 1994 and then put it away for nearly 30 years is to sell the jewel.

The ring dates back to 100BC – before the Romans invaded Britain – and was found in countryside near Knaresborough by a metal detectorist.

As the item was declared ‘stray’ rather than treasure by a coroner in 1994, the finder was free to keep the ring rather than give it to the nation, and they sold it to the current owner for just a few hundred pounds.

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Having been kept in a cupboard for 28 years, it could fetch up to £30,000 at auction.

The gold Iron Age ring found in Knaresborough in 1994The gold Iron Age ring found in Knaresborough in 1994
The gold Iron Age ring found in Knaresborough in 1994

It’s thought to have been worn by a Celtic chieftain whose tribe, the Corieltauvi, ruled modern-day Yorkshire thousands of years ago.

The anonymous owner, 66, decided to get it valued because he didn’t want his children to have the hassle of dealing with it after he dies – and was stunned by London auction house Noonans’ reaction.

He thought it could be Roman or Ango-Saxon before British Museum experts told him it dated from the very beginnings of British written history.

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Noonans will auction the ring on November 15 and say it is unique with no similar examples in existence.

The ring is thought to have been made at a gold workshop in Snettisham, Norfolk, by the Iceni tribe, where a similar hoard was found in 1948.

Noonans consultant Nigel Mills said: “It is the most exciting ring I have had the pleasure of examining and is likely to have been worn by an Iron Age chieftain from the Corieltauvi tribe which inhabited Yorkshire at that time.”