Gold coins found during kitchen renovation could be auctioned off for $290,000

  • More than 260 gold coins dating from the 1600s to the 1700s were found under a house in the UK in 2019.
  • The pieces probably belonged to a merchant family that was influential from the 16th to the 18th century.
  • Auction house Spink & Son said the pieces could fetch at least $290,000 at auction in October.

During a kitchen renovation in 2019, owners of an 18th-century home discovered a collection of more than 260 gold pieces that could fetch $290,000 at auction in October.

According to a press release from Spink & Son, a London-based auction and collectables company, “almost every piece represents the ‘pound coin’ of its day and it is one of the greatest treasures 18th century English gold coins never found in Britain.

The coins, which cover the reigns of King James I to King George I, were found in a salt-enameled cup under the concrete and floor of a house being refurbished in North Yorkshire. The cup was “no bigger than a can of soft drink,” the press release said.

Dating from 1610 to 1724, the coins have a buying power of around £100,000, or more than $115,120 today.

“This is a wonderful and truly unexpected find from such a modest find,” Gregory Edmund, Senior Specialist and Auctioneer at Spink & Son, said in the press release. “It is an immense privilege to share this wonderful discovery and to explore this treasure for the benefit of future generations,” he said, adding that the gold coins, dubbed “Ellerby Area Hoard,” will be ready to bid October 7.

The coins probably belonged to a merchant family, the Fernley-Maisters, who were influential from the late 16th to 18th centuries. The family made their fortunes as importers and exporters of Baltic iron ore, timber and coal, and some family members served in parliament in the early 1700s, according to the press release.

“The family line died out soon after and this is likely the reason the pieces were never recovered,” the press release reads. According to the auction house, Joseph and Sarah, the couple to whom the coins belonged, died in 1725 and 1745 respectively.

Beware of the bank

“Joseph and Sarah were clearly wary of the newly created Bank of England, the ‘banknote’ and even the gold coinage of their time, as they chose to keep so many coins dating from the English Civil War and from before,” Edmund said.

Spink & Son said the coins narrowly failed to be considered treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 because they were found in 2019. By law, two or more gold coins and 300 years or more are considered “archaeological treasure”. says the press release.

Although the discovery of gold coins is “dream stuff”, Edmund said the gold coins themselves are not “mind-blowing”, as “they simply mirror the £50 and £100 coins of the ‘Daily Exchange Buried and Mysteriously Never Recovered by Their Wealthy Owner.’

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