30-Year Quest Ends In $15 Million Gold and Silver Coin Treasure

Thirty years ago, a farmer found a few Iron Age silver coins while working on his land in the island of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy. Now, after combing the soil with metal detectors for three decades, two treasure hunters have found a hoard of silver and gold coins, the biggest of its kind, valued at $15 million.

The treasure was inside a large block of clay. It contains 30,000 to 50,000 silver and gold Celtic coins dating from the 1st Century BC. The coins—which could have been buried to prevent Roman troops from getting them during Julius Caesar's invasion of the British Islands—come from Armorica. They have been buried for more than 2,000 years. According to numismatic experts, each coin is worth 100 to 200 British Pounds ($156 to $311).

Now the treasure is at the Jersey Heritage Museum, where conservator Neil Mahrer is cleaning and investigating them. Mahrer says this is the biggest discovery of its kind: "This is the biggest Celtic coin hoard ever found which is tremendously exciting."

If Mahrer is excited, imagine the joy of the discoverers, Reg Mead and Richard Miles. They spent thirty years of their lives trying to locate this fabled treasure using just metal detectors. Earlier this year, Mead and Miles found a stash of 61 coins, all of them silver except one made of gold.

The good news: there may be more. The bad news: the States of Jersey has to say who actually owns the treasure. [Yahoo and Daily Mail]