Sunday 11 December 2016

Treasure hunter sells 'extraordinarily rare' Tudor ring for five figure sum

Published 14/10/2016 | 09:26

A Tudor ring found by metal detectorist Lee Rossiter near Harrogate
A Tudor ring found by metal detectorist Lee Rossiter near Harrogate

A metal detectorist who only started treasure hunting after his daughter rejected a detector he bought for her has sold an "extraordinarily rare" Tudor ring he found for a five figure sum.

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Lee Rossiter, 43, who found The Green Hammerton Ring, said he bought a cheap detector on eBay for his daughter but she did not want it and so he gave detectoring a go himself.

Eighteen months later, Mr Rossiter was searching with the Yorkshire Searchers Metal Detecting Club at Green Hammerton, near Harrogate, in April 2015, when he found the 15th century gold ring.

But he said he only found it by chance when his detector picked up a signal as he was walking back to his car to get a coat.

Technical writer Lee said: "I got really excited. So far I had only found the odd silver coin but this looked like a proper piece of jewellery, which seemed to be made of gold.

"One of my friends said it was far too yellow to be real gold and looked like costume jewellery, I should just throw it away.

"But the ring was relatively heavy and I thought I better ask our dig organiser, Stuart Littlewood. Luckily he confirmed that this was definitely an antique ring, most likely Tudor Gold."

The ring, which is a double-bezel chased finger ring in the form of a flower is set with a ruby and an emerald and is engraved in Medieval French.

Scans at the British Museum showed the ring was 78-80% gold and confirmed the nature of the precious stones .

The ring was classified as treasure but local museums were not able to raise the funds. Mr Rossiter agreed to split any proceeds from a sale with the landowner.

Cheshire-based auctioneer Mark Littler advised him to sell directly to a collector rather than go through an auction.

Mr Littler said: "I was excited when Lee first approached me as medieval jewellery is more often found in museums, not fields.

"I knew immediately that this was an important find and would require some thought as to how best to sell it. It was decided that an auction might not be the best course of action as the ring would be worth more to a private collector if it had not already been presented to the market."

He said he brokered a sale with dealers Wartski, in Mayfair, who have been supplying the royal family with jewellery for generations.

"I contacted them and negotiated a private treaty sale for a five figure sum for my client which was a great result," Mr Littler said.

Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, said : "We have a strong interest in medieval rings and were thrilled to have the opportunity of purchasing this one.

"Jewels of this calibre are extraordinarily rare and it is magical when the ground presents them as gifts to those who look for them."

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