Autumn 2002



Ron Strikes Gold !

ron coin.gif

Ron Tansley was on a club search in August, 2002 detecting on a previously well searched field when he recovered a gold coin.

This fortunate find was a hammered gold quarter Noble of Edward III, 1327-77. Unfortunately the coin was bent double and great care was needed to straighten it.

Ron, however, was up to the task. First he cleaned the coin in soapy water and thoroughly dried it. Then he heated the coin and with the aid of a wooden clothes peg carefully and gently eased it open. Owing to the thinness of the hammered gold coin just a slight pressure was needed to press it flat. The result was a very presentable addition to his collection and winner of the August Find of the Month award.

The gold Noble was introduced in 1344, it was valued at 6s. 8p i.e. 80 pence, half a mark or one third of a pound. The origin of the name Noble in relation to the coin is unclear but is thought most likely to mean simply ‘excellent’ and refer to the fineness of its gold. The coin found by Ron would be worth 20 silver pennies, imagine telling the wife you had lost that!

Ron In Action


This is Ron Tansley supposedly in action in a field near Nottingham. The truth is that he was posing for the picture. He repeatedly asked if it was his good side that was being photographed. Unfortunately we never did find his ‘good side’ so this one will have to do.

Jeff's Ninth Century Silver Strap End


Lost And Found 1,100 Years On

Exclusive By Shafik Meghji

Jeffrey Islip only took up metal detecting because he needed a hobby after he retired. He had also recently had a heart operation and thought it would be a good way of exercising.

And the item is now going on display in the British Museum. "I had not really found anything before, only bits and bobs. It must have been beginner's luck," said Mr. Islip, 69, who made the discovery in August 2001. I was in a field in Newark when the metal detector made a buzzing sound and the screen of the detector said it was silver. It was only about six or seven inches beneath the surface. I thought I'd just found a broken end of a spoon."

Mr. Islip only realised the importance of his find when he showed the silver item to Ashfield Metal Detecting Club.

The pensioner, who took up metal detecting 18 months ago after retiring as an electrician, informed the coroners' office of his find and took it to Nottingham's Castle Museum. The item was then sent to the British Museum for a more detailed examination.

This week, Notts Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman concluded the inquest into the strap end and recorded a verdict of "treasure", which means the item should be displayed in a museum. The British Museum is set to acquire the piece and the strap end will go on display in London later this year.

Susan Youngs, a curator in the British Museum's Medieval department, said the piece was both decorative and functional. She said: "It dates from the 9th Century and has a high silver content of 73%. "Very simply it would be part of a fine leather belt that would go through a buckle and protect the end of the belt. It might also be used to help hold up a garter."

The piece is 63mm by 20mm and weighs 11.5 grammes. Independent valuers are trying to determine how much it is worth, and Mr. Islip and the owner of the field will both receive a reward.

Archaeological experts could not say how much it might fetch. In Anglo-Saxon times, a silver belt buckle would have cost the equivalent of £65 today but similar objects usually sell for no more than £200. Mr Islip said despite the significance of his find he never considered keeping the item. "It didn't cross my mind not to hand it in, I mean what would I do with it?" he said. “It is nice to think that the last person to touch it before me was the person who originally dropped it all those years ago.”

Extract From The Nottingham Evening Post, Thursday, 26th. September, 2002.

Report By Susan Youngs, Medieval Department, British Museum

Large silver strapend (length 63.3mm, width 20mm), split at the narrow end for two rivets with one still in position. Below lies a semicircular field decorated with a simple chevron, while the main field is incised with six panels of ribbon knotwork divided by curved laddered frames. These borders spring from two central concentric circles at the top and bottom. The terminal is a blunt-nosed animal mask with rounded ears.

The design is bold and freely applied.. This is a typical 9th -century Anglo-Saxon piece both in form and decoration, with a terminal typical of strap ends from southern England. The large size is noteworthy and matches two groups of strap-ends from Yorkshire from a northern school thought to be centred in York.

The interlace panels are distinctive and are is reminiscent of contemporary manuscript illumination, while the border is found also on the Trewhiddle style which dominates small metalwork pieces at this period. Despite these unusual features, the competent execution is not of the highest quality suggesting it is an imitative workshop piece. Condition is worn with areas of copper corrosion. Weight 11.5g.

Early Risers


This was the scene at just before 9am.on Sunday, the 18th. of August, 2002. It was a beautiful sunny day and they had more fields to go at than you could shake a stick at. Signals were plentiful, one at almost every swing and the stubble was of a manageable height. However most of the finds appeared to be the result of ‘night soil’ that was spread on the fields in previous years. All the detectorists recovered coins and artefacts but none were of any great age or importance.

The detectorists in the photograph are, from left to right, Tina Dion, Jon Welch, Norman Daynes and John Clarke.

Cumberland Jack

From time to time detectorists recover small copper or brass coin like objects with Queen Victoria on one side and a figure riding a horse on the other. What they are and an explaination of how they came to be made is as follows:-

Salic Law did not permit a woman to be an heir to titles in Hanover when Princess Victoria succeeded to the British Throne in 1837 on the death of William IV. These titles, which had been held by kings of the United Kingdom since George I, therefore passed to the next male heir, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

He was unpopular in England and it was said that the scars on his face had been caused by his Corsican servant in self-defence, before the Duke murdered him. The Duke is believed to have committed other crimes and, to add to his unpopularity, he was opposed to Parliamentary reform and the emancipation of the Roman Catholics in this country.

Worst of all he had shown himself to be greedy for the British throne and to have opposed the succession of the people's beloved Victoria

To express public pleasure at the Duke's departure, these TO HANOVER tokens were struck at various times over the next twenty years as a satirical gesture and for use as card players’ counters or gaming tokens.

The mounted figure on the reverse is the crowned Duke, who in most versions is shown with the face of a monkey.

Find Of The Month July 2002

Roman bronze coin John Wardle
Beast ring Dennis Brown
Roman brooch Jeff Oscroft

Find Of The Month August 2002

Edward III Gold Noble Ron Tansley
Roman Fibula Brooch Jeff Oscroft


Written by John Gough, Club Secretary

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