A METAL detectorist could be set for a monster payday after unearthing a £20,000 solid gold artefact.
Fraser Bailey, 37, spent a day fruitlessly searching a freshly ploughed pig field before he stumbled upon the "find of a lifetime".
He pulled up a clump of mud and let out a huge cheer when he saw a glint of gold in the middle of it.
The dad-of two explained: "I found a lot of parts of old cans and then I got a really strong signal.
"I dug down and picked up a handful of mud. As I opened my hand I saw some gold.
"I couldn't believe it. It was incredible."
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The shimmering object was a 1,200-year-old Anglo Saxon golden pyramid sword mount for a scabbard.
At 20mm wide, the mount is topped with a small garnet stone and would have been one of a matching pair attached to a leather strap wrapped around the top of the sword holder.
Incredibly, Fraser knew exactly what it was as soon as he saw it – having recently seen a similar object in a local museum.
The spectacular January find was likely owned by an Anglo-Saxon warrior of high status such as a lord or a prince.
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Fraser, a fencing contractor, made the epic discovery in a field near Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk – not far from his home.
After finding the wonder he rang dad Ivan, a fellow detectorist, as well as the landowner who will get a 50/50 split of any money made from the golden relic.
He then handed the mount over to his local Finds Liaison Officer as required by law.
A coroner will determine if the mount is treasure, if so, a museum will have the chance to buy it at fair market value and Fraser will get a reward.
If it is not treasure it will be given back to Fraser as finders keepers.
But keen to find out what it could be worth, the dad found a similar pyramidal mount sold at auction several years ago for £20,000.
Julian Evan-Hart, editor of Treasure Hunting magazine, described the find as "stunning".
He said: "What a lovely and highly ornate example of an Anglo-Saxon pyramid mount."
The Anglo-Saxons migrated to Britain after the Romans left in the 5th century.
What to do if you find treasure:
You must report treasure to the local coroner within either:
- 14 days of first finding it
- 14 days of realising an item might be treasure, even if you’ve had it for longer
You only need to report items officially defined as treasure.
There’s an unlimited fine or up to 3 months in prison for not reporting treasure.
Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/treasure#
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