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5 fascinating lots in our Historica & Metal Detecting Finds Auction

Posted on 20/08/2019 in Press Coverage

Ancient history will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 27 when Hansons hosts its Historica & Metal Detecting Finds Auction at its Derbyshire saleroom.

A team of experts have been busily cataloguing more than 400 fascinating items. Here, they share five star lots. They have been chosen to demonstrate the calibre and sheer scope of material in the sale and range in date from the Middle Bronze Age through to the early Modern period.

1. Middle Bronze Age ‘Liss-type’ bracelet or arm-ring, c. 1400-1200 BC - Lot 210


This extremely large and impressive piece was found in Merton, Oxfordshire, and originates from the so-called ‘ornament horizon’ of the Middle Bronze Age. First discovered near the village of Liss, Hampshire, bracelets of this form are known from both southern England and northern France, suggesting either the presence of cross-channel trade contacts or similar metalworking traditions in both locales. A close look at the item reveals the painstaking nature of its ornate decoration, as the entire surface is covered with finely-incised patterns forming rows of herringbone designs and ‘eye’ shaped motifs within rectangular panels. Estimate £1,500-£1,800

2. British Iron Age uninscribed gold stater, ‘Whaddon Chase Big Wheel’ type, c. 60-20 BC - Lot 31

One of two coins discovered together in 2017 near Dinton-with-Ford, Buckinghamshire, this is effectively a piece of Iron Age art in miniature. On the reverse, a horse facing right is depicted in the act of prancing, a wheel between its feet and a ‘sunburst’ design just off the flan. The type is named after the original ‘Whaddon Chase’ find (Bucks), a hoard of several hundred Iron Age gold coins discovered by a farmer in 1849. Estimate: £800-£1,200

3. Heraldic pendant of Sir Ralph de Monthermer, c. 1300-1325 - Lot 295

This item is one of the few objects in this upcoming auction that can be attributed with a degree of certainty to a specific individual. Ralph de Monthermer (1270-1325), styled for much of his life as the Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, is perhaps best known for his secret marriage to Edward I’s daughter Joan in 1297 and subsequent heroics in the former’s Scottish campaigns. His arms are prominently blazoned on this pendant: Or, an eagle displayed Vert beaked and membered Gules. These objects tend to be identified as being a decorative component of horse harnesses, identifying the allegiance or affiliation of the bearer. Estimate £150-£250

4. Extremely large ‘crotal’ type animal bell, probably dating c. 1755-1798 - Lot 328

‘Crotal’ or animal bells are frequent finds made by metal detectorists, though the vast majority are of small size. They are a find whose function has not changed in centuries, being utilised as a means of tracking herd animals across the landscape. The latter is especially important when one considers the prevalence of driving animals long distances cross-country, either for new pastures or to market. This example was probably worn by a bull or cow, based on its sheer size. The founder’s mark ‘R W’, probably refers to Robert Wells or his son of the same name. It was manufactured in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, between c. 1755-1798. Estimate £300-£400

5. Penny of Eadberht Præn, King of Kent c. 796-798 - Lot 86D

Under the rule of Offa, Mercia became the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom during the later 8th century, annexing or gaining submission from the old kingdoms of Kent, Essex, Wessex, Sussex and East Anglia. After his death in 796, two kings took the opportunity to take power and re-institute the independence of their respective kingdoms: Eadwald of East Anglia and Eadberht Præn of Kent. Though initially successful, both were ultimately defeated by Coenwulf in 798 and their kingdoms brought back into the Mercian fold for good. Pennies of Eadberht are very rare under any circumstance, this example being only the second known example of its type. The reverse bears the name of the moneyer: Æthelnoth, who probably struck this coin at Canterbury. Estimate: £800-£1,000

Auction Information

Hansons' Historica and Metal Detecting Finds Auction will be held on August 27, 10am, at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire DE65 6LS. Preview lots on Friday, August 23, 10am-4pm. To browse the catalogue CLICK HERE.

You can bid in advance or arrange to bid by phone by providing the lot number and your details. Email [email protected]

You can also bid in advance and live by browsing Hansons' own online catalogue at [email protected] - due live August 21. Please note, bidding fees are 4% less if you use Hansonslive compared to the-saleroom.com.

Next Historica Auction

We are now gathering items for our next Historica and Metal Detecting Finds Auction which will be held at our Derbyshrie saleroom on November 25. If have an item you are considering selling and would like us to value, please email our Historica expert Mark Becher: [email protected]