Three Staffordshire treasure hunters attending the Cannock Coronor's Court this Tuesday listened as their find of 33 ancient gold coins was declared a 2000 year-old treasure, to be forwarded to the British Museum for valuation. Gary Starkey, James Rowe, and Mick Blaydes discovered the gold coins over a two-week period near Tamworth, but had no idea of their significance. James, who found the first coin, said "It was really interesting to hear more about them at the inquest. We are all really excited about finding them."
The Tamworth Herald reports that the three were working a field between Tamworth and Harlaston when James found the first coin. While they were all excited, they didn't return to the site for a couple of days, believing it was an isolated find. On that following trip, Mick, who had been in the hobby for only three months, found another. Over the next two weeks, the trio scoured the area, turning up 33 coins in total scattered over the area, a hoard that Teresa Gilmore, Finds Liaison Officer for the area called "one of the largest Iron Age coin hoards to be found in the west of the country, and triples the number of gold staters known in Staffordshire."
The gold stater coins, made of 40% gold and 10% silver, were minted between 40 BC and 20-30 AD, and are of three distinct types. Gary Starkey, one of the detectorists, called the experience of going back to the site over and over, with more gold coins coming out of the ground "a very surreal experience."
Gary had other reasons to attend the inquest, as over the last year he has dug up a coiled silver ring dating from 100 BC to 800 AD; a gold ring inscribed "All My Heart", dating between 1400 AD - 1550 AD; and a gold cross pendant from the 14th or 15th century. All were declared treasure at the same inquest. "it was an extraordinary year for me, to say the least," he quipped.