Ancient coins worth up to $290,000 found under kitchen floor

(CNN) — A home renovation in the north of England has uncovered a trove of gold coins, which could be worth up to 250,000 pounds ($290,000) at auction next month.

The find is one of the largest hoards of 18th-century English gold coins ever discovered in Britain, auction house Spink & Son said in a statement sent to CNN on Thursday. While renovating their kitchen in July 2019, residents unearthed a salt-glazed earthenware cup excavated from under the concrete and floorboards of their home in Ellerby, North Yorkshire. The cup, described as no bigger than a soft drink can, contained more than 260 gold coins dating from 1610 to 1727. The stash of coins is worth an estimated £100,000 ($116,000) at today’s purchasing power. said the auctioneers. Spink & Son auctioneer Gregory Edmund said the extraordinary treasure was unlike any other British archeology find or coin auction in living memory. “This is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery in such an inconspicuous place,” Edmund said in the news release. “This find of over 260 coins is also one of the largest on record archaeologically in Britain, and certainly for the 18th century period,” he added. “The coins almost certainly belonged to the Fernley-Maisters, Joseph and Sarah, who married in 1694,” the press release reads. According to Spink & Son, the Maisters were an influential merchant family from the 16th to the 18th centuries. They traded in the iron ore, timber and coal of the Baltic countries and several generations served as legislators in the early 18th century. The family lineage was reduced shortly after the couple’s death, so presumably the coins were never recovered, the auction house added. For his part, Edmund said the finds mirror the £50 and £100 coins in use at the time.
“Joseph and Sarah were clearly suspicious of the newly formed Bank of England, the ‘note’ and even the gold coin of their day because they (chose) to keep so many coins dating from the English Civil War and before,” he added. “Why they never recovered the coins when they were really easy to find right under the original 18th century planks is an even bigger mystery, but it’s an amazing piggy bank.”