Couple find gold coins worth £250,000 while renovating kitchen of North Yorkshire home

The find of over 260 coins is one of the largest on archaeological record from Britain, and certainly for the 18th Century period. Credit: Spink

A couple quite literally struck gold while renovating their kitchen after they discovered a hoard of rare coins, worth £250,000, buried under the floor.

The couple, from Ellerby in North Yorkshire, thought they'd hit an electrical cable beneath the concrete floor, but it turned out to be a cup filled to the brim with over 260 gold coins.

The oldest dates from the reign of James I and the coins cover the Stuart period right up to the dying days of George I.

The cup's handle was broken and it's thought this is why it was used as a storage vessel for the coins. Credit: Spink

The collection has been valued at £250,000 and will be sold by auctioneers Spink in October.

The couple, who want to remain anonymous, reported their find to the auctioneers shortly after they made the discovery in 2019.

Coins can be declared treasure and become crown property if two or more are found and are at least 300 years old.

As the youngest coin was only 292 years old when the couple found it, the entire collection was ruled as being less than three centuries old.

This meant the couple were declared the official owners of the hoard and could put it up for sale.

The coin hoard in situ. The couple were putting a new floor in when they made the find. Credit: Spink

The original owners of the coins are thought to have been Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters, who married in 1694.

The Maisters were perhaps the most influential merchant family in Hull from the late 16th to 18th centuries.

They traded iron ore, timber and coal, and several generations of the family served as Members of Parliament in the early 1700s.

Auctioneer Gregory Edmund from Spink said: "It is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery from so unassuming a find location.

"It is an enormous privilege to share in this wonderful find and explore this hoard for the benefit of future generations."

Watch: Auctioneer Gregory Edmund explains the significance of the find