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Yorkshire couple finds £250k gold treasure under their kitchen floor

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A lucky couple who found an incredible treasure of 264 gold coins under the floor of their house will sell it for £250,000.

While metal detectors could spend years searching for such a treasure trove, the unnamed couple was passing their kitchen floor when they found a cup filled to the brim with coins dating back up to 400 years.

The incredible discovery was made in an 18th century detached house in the village of Ellerby, North Yorkshire, just 6 inches below the concrete.

The coins were hidden in a metal can and buried under the floor for several generations

The coins were traced to belong to a wealthy and influential Hull merchant family, the Fernley-Maisters.  This rare 'twin tailed' George I guinea (pictured) has a mint flaw and is expected to fetch £4,000

The coins were traced to belong to a wealthy and influential Hull merchant family, the Fernley-Maisters. This rare ‘twin tailed’ George I guinea (pictured) has a mint flaw and is expected to fetch £4,000

The finders discovered the coins in July 2019 and they are now officially disclaimed and up for auction.  They have a combined total estimate of £250,000 and this rare misspelled Charles II guinea is expected to fetch £1,500 at auction

The finders discovered the coins in July 2019 and they are now officially disclaimed and up for auction. They have a combined total estimate of £250,000 and this rare misspelled Charles II guinea is expected to fetch £1,500 at auction

The gold coins depicted in the ground of the couple's kitchen floor in Ellerby

The gold coins depicted in the ground of the couple’s kitchen floor in Ellerby

The astonished owners, who have lived in the property for over 10 years, initially thought their treasure was an electrical cable.

But when they lifted it from under the floor, they found the stack of coins in a salt-glazed earthenware cup about the size of a Coke can.

Upon closer inspection, they found the gold coins dating from 1610 to 1727, covering the reigns of James I and Charles I through George I.

The couple contacted London auctioneer Spink & Son and an expert visited their property to evaluate the treasure.

The coins were traced to belong to a wealthy and influential Hull merchant family, the Fernley-Maisters.

Some coins date from the reign of King James I - seen here on a portrait of Daniel Myten from 1621

Another coin dates from the reign of King Charles II

Some coins date to the reign of King James I – seen here on a portrait of Daniel Myten from 1621 and another dates to the reign of King Charles II

An unidentified couple has found a pile of gold coins buried under the kitchen floor in their cottage in Ellerby, North Yorkshire

An unidentified couple has found a pile of gold coins buried under the kitchen floor in their cottage in Ellerby, North Yorkshire

The happy couple were passing their floor when they discovered the find buried beneath this rubble

The happy couple were passing their floor when they discovered the find buried beneath this rubble

The astonished owners, who have lived in the property for over 10 years, initially thought their treasure was an electrical cable

The astonished owners, who have lived in the property for over 10 years, initially thought their treasure was an electrical cable

The Maister family were importers and exporters of iron ore, timber and coal and later generations served as Whig politicians and MPs in the early 18th century.

The coins were collected during the lifetime of Joseph Fernley and his wife Sarah Maister. Fernley died in 1725 and his widow remained in Ellerby for the rest of her life until she died in 1745 at the age of 80.

The finders discovered the coins in July 2019 and they are now officially disclaimed and up for auction. They have a combined total estimate of £250,000.

The coins were collected during the lifetime of Joseph Fernley and his wife Sarah Maister.  Fernley died in 1725 and his widow remained in Ellerby for the rest of her life until she died in 1745 at the age of 80.

The coins were collected during the lifetime of Joseph Fernley and his wife Sarah Maister. Fernley died in 1725 and his widow remained in Ellerby for the rest of her life until she died in 1745 at the age of 80.

A highlight of the sale is a 1720 George I guinea, which has a mint flaw. The coin has no king’s head, instead two ‘tail’ sides of the coin, and is expected to yield £4,000.

A 1675 Charles II guinea has a misspelling, with the king’s Latin name misspelled as CRAOLVS instead of CAROLVS, and has an estimate of £1,500.

Auctioneer Gregory Edmund said: ‘This is a fascinating and very important discovery. It is extremely rare that large quantities of English gold coins ever come on the market.

‘This find of over 260 coins is also one of Britain’s largest archaeological finds.

“It was a completely accidental discovery. The owners were redoing the floor of their house and found a jar the size of a can of Diet Coke, full of gold.

“They’ve never picked up a metal detector in their lives. They were just relaying a floor and at first thought it was an electrical cable.

‘A few days later I rushed to see them in North Yorkshire and there were 264 gold coins in this cup – it’s unbelievable, I have no idea how they managed to get so many in that pot.

Auctioneer Gregory Edmund said: 'This is a fascinating and very important discovery.  It is extremely rare that large quantities of English gold coins ever come on the market.

Auctioneer Gregory Edmund said: ‘This is a fascinating and very important discovery. It is extremely rare that large quantities of English gold coins ever come on the market.”

‘The coins date from 1610 to 1727, which is usually a long period for a treasure.

“It also begs the question of why someone decided to bury a lot of coins in the early 18th century, when they still had banks and notes – all the things that involved hoarding should not have happened again.

‘The contents are hardly ‘stunning’ – they simply reflect the £50 and £100 coins from the daily exchange that have been buried and mysteriously never recovered by their wealthy owner.

‘They are not perfect coins, they are coins that have had a hard life.

However, the number of coins and the unique way of burial offer an extraordinary opportunity to appreciate the complicated English economy in the early decades of the Bank of England and the considerable distrust of its newfangled invention, the ‘banknote’.

The unidentified couple found the hoard of coins in an 18th century property in the Ellerby area of ​​Yorkshire (pictured)

The unidentified couple found the hoard of coins in an 18th-century building in Ellerby, near Yorkshire (pictured)

The auction includes this 'pattern bust' James I laure (pictured) Auctioneer Gregory Edmund added: 'The coins date from 1610 to 1727, which is usually a long period for a treasure.

The auction includes this ‘pattern bust’ James I laure (pictured) Auctioneer Gregory Edmund added: ‘The coins date from 1610 to 1727, which is usually a long period for a treasure. “It also begs the question of why someone decided to bury a lot of coins in the early 18th century, when they still had banks and notes – all the things that involved hoarding should not have happened again.”

‘It is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery of such a modest find location.

“As a coin specialist with years of experience, I cannot recall a similar discovery in living memory, and it is therefore an immense privilege to be able to properly document and research this treasure for the benefit of future generations.”

The Ellerby Hoard will be sold in October.

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