JERSEY’S 2,000-year-old Celtic coin hoard – the biggest of its kind in the world – will remain in the Island after the government agreed to buy it for £4.25 million.
The trove, dubbed Le Câtillon II, was discovered in 2012 by two locally-based amateur detectorists searching a field in Grouville.
It includes the around 70,000 coins from the Coriosolitae, Osismii, Redones and Baiocasses tribes and other piece minted in souther Britain around 40BC.
Also in the trove is Europe’s largest ever collection of torque neck rings, a fabric bag full of gold and silver jewellery and ingots. Flora and fauna, including millipedes, centipedes and other arthropods were also found which are thought to have fallen into the pit where the hoard was buried 2,000 years ago.
In line with Jersey law, when the hoard was found it automatically became property of the Crown. Since then negotiations have been underway with Jersey’s HM Receiver General Alan Blair, the government and the finders – Richard Miles and Reg Mead.
The £4.25 million price was agreed by ministers and the transaction was completed on 17 December. It was paid out of the Civil Asset Recovery Fund.
It included a £250,000 payment to Jersey Heritage for their work in disaggregating the treasure trove to determine its contents, and an additional £250,000 which will be used to establish a trust – used to promote scientific and educational research into the hoard.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said the purchase ensured that a unique part of Jersey’s history remained in the Island for future generations.
‘Since its discovery nine years ago, Jersey Heritage conservators, archaeologists and volunteers have unpicked and studied the hoard, but there is still much that it can reveal about Jersey and our place in the world at the time of Christ.
‘Had it been decided to split the hoard into its component parts for sale to the highest bidders, considerably more money could have been raised and the treasure trove would have been dispersed across the world and its inherent value to Jersey lost.
‘The Crown was under no obligation to sell to the Island and, although it has taken time, we have reached an agreement which satisfies the interests of the finders, the Crown and the Island.’