Ellerby Gold Coins
A couple found 260 highly valuable King George I coins while renovating their late 18th-century house of wealthy merchants
Sometimes to find the famous pot of gold you don't have to go looking for it at the base of a rainbow: just look under the floor. It happened to an English couple who found 260 British gold coins, from the times of James I and George I, hidden in a small metal pot just under the floorboards of the house. Their nominal value is 100,000 pounds, but on the market for ancient numismatic relics they can yield - according to the experts immediately consulted - up to 250,000. The discovery took place during the renovations of the eighteenth-century house where the couple had moved. In Ellerby, North Yorkshire. The auctioneer Gregory Edmund, of the London auction house Spink & Son, said that the small hoard is not particularly strange in itself: they are coins for "everyday" use for a family like the one who lived in that property known as Ellerby in the eighteenth century Hoard, originally inhabited by Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters who married in 1694 and formed the most influential merchant family in the area.
They evidently distrusted the newly formed Bank of England and preferred to keep their money at home. Only two of the 260 coins are particular: a guinea in which the head of King George is missing due to a minting error and a Brazilian gold coin that apparently had reached England. Both bear the date of 1720. And for two years therefore they now fall under the treasury law passed in 1996 according to which any gold or silver coin more than 300 years old must become the property of the Government, which buys it from who found it at a market price to be able to put it in a museum. The others can easily be auctioned off for collectors.