AN appeal has been launched to keep a secret hoard of gold and silver in the North-East.
The coins, most of which date to the 16th Century, were concealed on the island of Lindisfarne, hidden in a pottery jug and discovered during house renovations.
The oldest coin is a King Henry VI silver groat, minted in the late 1420s or early 1430, and the most modern in a silver sixpence from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Among the hoard is a rare gold scudo, Italian currency from the reign of Pope Clement VII, though to be worth £30,000 alone.
The jug was originally found in 2003, but no-one realised what it contained until 2011. The coins have now been declared treasure and the Newcastle-based Society of Antiquaries now has six weeks to raise the £30,900 needed to put them on permanent display at the Great North Museum: Hancock in the city.
The find was brought to Dr Rob Collins, Portable Antiquities Finds Liaison Officer for the North East.
He said: “This is a remarkable discovery and in light of the recent success of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region it would be very sad to see this treasure leave the North East.”
Remarkably, the find, made by Richard Mason, is the second to be discovered at the same house. The Society already owns a similar jug containing 50 silver coins, also of Elizabethan date found in 1962.
Lindsay Allason–Jones, Keeper of the Collections for the Society said:“As Lindisfarne in the Elizabethan period was used largely as a military garrison, with the Priory used as a supply base, it is possible that the original owner of the two hoards was a military officer who had seen service on the continent.”
Anyone interested in donating to the appeal should visit www.newcastle-antiquaries.org.uk.