Lost treasures discovered by metal detectors go up for auction

  • Watch Hannah Pettifer's report on the treasures found in the ground

Treasures discovered by metal detectorists in the Anglia region are going up for auction.

Andy Carter iunearthed an extremely rare gold leopard coin, dating from 1344, in North Norfolk.

At first he didn't appreciate the significance of his discovery:

"It was folded in half covered in soil and from its size I thought it was a half noble which is still an amazing find, but much less rare, it was only when I brushed the soil off and saw this hind leg of a leopard that I thought maybe it's a foreign coin I didn't know about then I saw the letters EDW on the same side and that could only mean it was an Edward the third leopard, and that's when things started to go a bit blurry."

Andy holds up his rare find Credit: ITV News Anglia

Adding to its rarity the coin was only in circulation for just seven months before being withdrawn. It's now being sold at auction with these two other metal detector finds, with a guide price of 140 thousand pounds.

But that's only a guide - a less rare, smaller Henry the third gold penny recently went for more than half a million.

Andy says he's not in it for the money: "Nobody does metal detecting to think they're going to earn money, most of the time I spend more on diesel to go out to the field than I do in anything I bring back, we do it because you dig something up and you're the first person to hold that for hundreds or thousands of years."

Also up for auction is a medieval gold cross and a tiny Anglo Saxon gold shilling dating from 650 AD.

It was found by Mark Pallett in Haslingfield near Duxford.

Mark knew immediately that he'd found something rare:

"It's one of them moments you know you have something special even though I've found a lot of coins in my time, earlier ones, iron age in fact, but this one Saxon gold is everyone's dream in a detectorist's point of view we all want to find something Saxon, this is really an important find for me and it's an important find for the farmer as well."

The money raised at auction has to be split half way between the finder and the landowner. Legal metal detecting can only take place with their consent.

Nigel Mills from Dix Noonan Webb auction house in London is selling the treasures:

"The level of finds being made now is unprecedented. And I think it's the numbers of people doing it, around 30,000 people are active and the detectors have improved so much now.

"The leopard we have in the sale was 10 inches deep and folded when it was found now a few years ago that would not have been possible to do that, it's incredible they've found these things, we call it saving them for our heritage because many of them would have been destroyed."