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Couple finds buried treasure during kitchen renovation

Home renovations normally cost a fortune, but for this UK couple, redoing their kitchen unearthed one.

A surprising discovery

It’s every homeowner’s dream: a kitchen renovation project that actually makes money! In July 2019, a couple from the village of Ellerby, North Yorkshire, were working to replace the kitchen floor of their 18th Century townhouse when they hit what they thought was an electrical cable. But as they worked to remove the obstruction, they found a stoneware cup about the size of a soda can containing a trove of 264 solid gold coins, buried about 6 inches beneath the dirt.

When your property value goes through the roof

Expected to fetch in the realm of £250 000 pounds, the coins date between 1610 and 1727, including a rare misprinted George I guinea with two “tail” sides. It’s likely that the coins belonged to a married couple, Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters, who lived in the house in the late 1600s. While the coins are worth a fortune now, during their day, they would have been used as everyday currency, with their worth when they were buried closer to £100.

Finders Keepers

By British law, finds like this need to be reported, and if they meet the specifications for “treasure”, they become property of the UK government. Because the youngest coin in this trove is less than 300 years old, however, the couple get to keep all but one – a rare Brazilian gold coin that was in circulation in the 1720s.

This special buried treasure goes on auction next month at the London auction house Spink & Son.

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