The Celtic coins found by a group of amateur treasure hunters in the United Kingdom are thought to be worth close to $15.6 million, or, if you prefer, £10 million. The discovery was made on the Channel Island of Jersey, and is considered to be the largest haul of its kind in northern Europe. However, ownership and official valuation has yet to be determined, though the hunters’ booty do fall under the island’s Treasure Act. According to English law, the coins belong to the Queen.
For the past 30 years, explorers Reg Mead and Richard Miles have been digging around the same area in search of something historic and rare. This cache of 50,000 bronze and silver coins, which are thought to have originated in or around 50 BC, should fit the proverbial bill quite nicely. Considering the duo have powered through a number of disappointments over the past three decades, this significant unearthing has to be nothing short of overwhelming.
“The fact that it has been excavated archaeologically is also rare and will greatly enhance the level of information we can glean about the people who buried it,” explained Olga Finch, curator of archaeology at the Jersey Museum. “It is an amazing contribution to the study of Celtic coins.”
Mead and Miles are understandably anxious to see what else is buried in the area. In order to do so, archeologists are attempting to keep the location a secret for fear of looters showing up and stripping the place clean of potential valuables. The huge clump of coins, which reportedly weights in at nearly one ton, has been carted off to a safe place.
Although their discovery is nothing more of astonishing, this isn’t the first time archeologists have found buried treasure on the island. In 1935, a collection of 11,000 valuable coins were discovered in the same area by explorers.