Losing coin hoard would be ‘a tragedy’

JERSEY’S government could find out how much it will cost to buy 70,000 late Iron Age and Roman coins found in a field in Grouville before the end of the year, the Chief Minister has revealed.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29437905)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29437905)

Senator John Le Fondré said that the government had already paid £737,808 to the Crown, based on an initial valuation, and £250,000 to Jersey Heritage for the restoration of the hoard.

He added that it would be a ‘tragedy’ for the hoard – found by Reg Mead and Richard Miles in 2012 – not to be acquired by the Island for the benefit of the public. Gold torcs, silver bracelets, gold sheet, fine silver wire and a number of glass beads were also found among the coins.

‘Once discovered under customary law, the Crown claimed ownership of the Celtic coin hoard.

‘The Crown also entered into an agreement to recognise the contribution of the finders and that is a matter between the Crown, the finders and the landowner,’ Senator Le Fondré said.

‘However, following recent processes and valuations, the Crown has only recently formalised a proposed offer with a view to the government securing the hoard for the benefit of the Island and this matter is due to come before the Council of Ministers shortly for discussion.’

Deputy Montfort Tadier then asked whether there was any provision under Jersey law not to give the finders any money for the find or whether it was possible for the Crown to gift the trove to Jersey.

But Senator Le Fondré said he thought it would be prudent for the treasure to be dealt with ‘properly’, adding that the Crown was planning to act ‘in the spirit of the UK’s Treasure Act’.

‘That is not only to act appropriately towards the people who discovered it but also because if one does deal with this properly then future finders of any other treasures on the Island will therefore be encouraged to report the find as the find will be dealt with responsibly,’ he said.

It is thought the offer could be brought before the Council of Ministers before the end of the year if some outstanding ‘technical issues’ can be resolved.

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