Back in August, Gainesville Coins reported on the discovery of the Wold Newton Hoard near York. Of course, this news electrified the numismatic community, with many a party wishing to lay claim to the treasure, the Yorkshire Museum in particular. Today, after much financial struggle, the 4th-century hoard, the second-largest from that era ever found in the country, has found a home at the museum, and it’s all thanks to private and public donors.
Two years ago, the Wold Newton Hoard was discovered in a buried vase by metal detectorist William Blakely. While it is customary for found treasures such as this one to end up in a local museum, the acquisition of this collection for the Yorkshire Museum proved a bit trickier than many had anticipated. The reason was simple, yet no less disheartening: a want of funds.The estimated value of the hoard was £44,000 (approximately $55,216.70), and in order for the public museum to make this trove a permanent fixture, it needed to raise this money. They were given four months to do so.
So, in July of 2016, the Yorkshire Museum made their appeal.
“We hope to now save the hoard to make sure it stays in Yorkshire for the public to enjoy but also so we can learn more about this fascinating period as well as why it was buried and to whom it might have belonged,” said Andrew Woods, curator of numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum.
A fundraising campaign was launched, drawing financial support from numismatic enthusiasts across the globe. Richard Beleson, in honor of Roger Bland, and Dr. Marjorie Gardner and the late Professor Michael L.G. Gardner were among the many small private donors who contributed. A £10,000 grant from the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund and a contribution of £9,981 from the American Friends of the Art Fund also helped push the Yorkshire Museum toward its once-seemingly-unreachable goal.
On November 10, 2016, the Yorkshire Museum announced to the numismatic community that they had succeeded in securing the Wold Newton Hoard.
“We are thrilled that so many people have given so generously to allow us to buy this hugely significant find,” said Woods.
“The hoard is a once in a lifetime find and was buried at a turbulent point in Yorkshire’s history. We hope we will now be able to carry out research on the hoard which may reveal more about what was happening in the county at that time and why it was buried where it was.”
The hoard is comprised of 1,857 Roman copper coins, or nummi, that date back to the era of Emperor Constantine the Great. A portion of the hoard, along with the ceramic vessel it was found in, is currently on display at the Yorkshire Museum. It will remain there until January 11, 2017, after which it will be taken for conservation. The full hoard, however, will be presented during the five-day Eboracum Roman Festival 2017, beginning on June 1.
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