Homeowners are often surprised by the hidden costs that can surface during home renovation projects. But for one lucky English couple, ripping out their kitchen flooring revealed an unexpected bounty instead.
In July of 2019, an unidentified couple living in Ellerby, a small village in North Yorkshire, embarked upon what they assumed would be a standard kitchen remodel of their 18th-century home. However, buried beneath the floorboards and concrete slab was a salt-glazed earthenware vessel — roughly the size of a soda can — filled with more than 260 gold coins dated from 1610 to 1727.
Now referred to as the “Ellerby Area Hoard,” the gold coins harken from the reigns of James I through that of King George I. And while these treasures are worth between 50 pounds and 100 pounds each at face value, the lot is expected to fetch at least a quarter of a million pounds (nearly $290,000) when they are put up for auction by Spink of London on October 7, due in no small part to the archeological significance of the find.
Per a press release shared with Nice News, research conducted by Spink reveals that the stash was presumably accumulated by Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters, who were married in 1694. They died in 1725 and 1745, respectively. The couple belonged to a prominent family that made its fortune in iron ore, timber, and coal, with several family members ensconced in Parliament in the early 1700s.
Spink auctioneer Gregory Edmund said the hoard is “unlike any find in British archaeology or like any coin auction in living memory,” according to the release.
Given that the most recent coin in the stash was dated 1727, the hoard was 292 years old at the time of its discovery. Only one coin will be turned over to a museum, while the rest will be up for auction. (“A coroner officially adjudicated that the cache of coins should be disclaimed because they were less than 300 years old at point of deposition,” the release explains.)
“It is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery from so unassuming a find location,” Edmund said. “It is an enormous privilege to share in this wonderful find and explore this hoard for the benefit of future generations, as well as wield the gavel for the many lucky bidders who will join me on Friday 7 October!”