Treasure dating back more than 700 years found in Carlisle

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Treasure in the form of seven hammered silver coins has been found in the Carlisle area.

The collections of pennies, which date back to 1280 - 1307 during the reign of King Edward I, were found by metal detecting enthusiast Ian Hughes.

The 64-year-old of Belle Vue, Carlisle, has been metal detecting for more than 30 years.

"Once I found more than two I knew it was going to happen [they would be deemed treasure]," he said.

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"You just get a kind of buzz. Not so much because you are finding silver or gold. It's just the history behind it.

"You are the first person to hold it within 700/800 years."

He found a couple of bits one afternoon and then spent a full day with little to show for it.

Not disheartened, he returned the following day and found his first coin and then the others within minutes.

Ian explained that the hammered coins, which are thin and fragile are hard to come by.

"They are in pretty good condition which is nice," he said. "I find some occasionally which look as if they have been made yesterday. Others are really battered and it's a struggle to identify them.

"This is where the British Museum comes in."

Their combined value, Ian thinks, is likely to be about £150.

The silver coins were found on a dig near Carlisle in October 2016 and an inquest yesterday heard how they are in fact deemed treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

The act defines found objects as treasure under various definitions including an object which is not a single coin, which contains at least 10 per cent gold or silver and which is at least 300 years old.

Ian's coins, thought to have been made in the likes of Lincoln, Canterbury and London, have a 90 per cent metal content and are more than 700 years old.

Based on the findings of Dr Barrie Cook, the British Museum's curator of medieval coinage, coroner David Roberts ruled said the coins constitute treasure according to the 1996 act.

"A fascinating find," he said. "I'm satisfied that these coins represent treasure within the terms of the act.

"It must be very rewarding when you find something like this."

Ian travels across the country in search of buried treasure and has a database of more than 1,400 finds.

"Not all are valuable or ancient but everything has a bit of history to it and everything is interesting stuff," he said.

"I don't do it for the money, I do it for the history and the crazy people you meet doing it."

He found his first hammered coin in 2012, an Elizabeth I from 1675.

Ian's biggest find to date was a 13th century Fede Ring worth £1,750 which he unearthed in Perthshire. It is now housed in the McManus Museum in Dundee.

He also found an Iron Age Celtic toggle earlier this year.

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