Bloke Finds Medieval Ring Worth Up To £35,000 While Out With Metal Detector
A man who discovered an engraved medieval sapphire ring whilst out with his metal detector in Nottinghamshire now hopes that the treasure will sell for as much as £35,000 when it goes under the hammer later this month.
It's a dream shared by metal detectorists, archaeologists, and pirates alike, but for Mark Thompson, it became a reality.
Whilst out speculating with a metal detecting group called 'Find A Field' in May 2016, Mark's detector started beeping in a ploughed field just outside Sherwood Forest.
Now, Sherwood Forest is obviously synonymous with the legendary outlaw Robin Hood, but no-one could have expected that a piece of real-life history was about to present itself to Mark.
In fact, most of the time when a metal detector beeps, it's probably a bottle cap or a bit of farm machinery shrapnel.
Mark said: "I couldn't believe what I was looking at when I dug the clod of soil over and saw the sapphire and a glint of gold poking out of the dirt."
It's a beautiful ring, too.
At the time of the discovery, he told the Sun: "I had been out metal detecting with a group for about 20 minutes when I heard the signal.
"I was really excited when I saw that it was gold, but I didn't realise at that point just how significant it might be.
"I called my friend who came down to take a look and help see whether there was anything else related nearby.
"If it does prove to be as valuable as we think it might be, it would completely change my life."
Yep, it definitely could change his life. Later this month - on Mark's birthday, no less - the ring is to go under the hammer at Christie's auction house in London with a valuation of between £25,000 and £35,000.
If it goes for that, Mark intends to put the money too good use.
He explained: "I got into metal detecting because I'd collected coins since being a kid, so I bought a detector to see if I could find some old coins.
"I was over the moon when the treasure valuation committee valued it.
"If it fetches what is expected then the money will go towards a deposit for a mortgage. The landowner will get half of what it fetches we had an agreement of a 50/50 split."
Seems fair enough.
Christies description of the ring reads: "Rectangular cut cornered sapphire measuring 9.8 x 7.85mm, scalloped cusp setting, gold mount with engraved figures depicting Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the Infant Christ, 15th century."
If you're into jewellery, that'll probably be really interesting to you. If not, just look at it - it's old, it's gold, it's got a big sapphire in it.
Anyway, we'll find out on November 27 exactly how much it is worth, and how much he'll have to put towards the house.
According to Mark, the British Museum valued the ring at closer to £50,000, so perhaps it'll end up going for more than the reserve.
Not bad for an afternoon in Nottinghamshire.
Featured Image Credit: Mark Thompson