Lucky Metal Detectorist Will Soon Learn How Much His Medieval Ring Is Worth

Retiree David Board had only recently taken up the hobby
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2022 7:20 PM CST
He Made Find of a Lifetime Just After Buying a Metal Detector
   (Getty - Tomasz Majchrowicz)

Nearly four years after it was unearthed by a lucky metal detectorist—and roughly six centuries after a husband gifted it to his beloved wife in medieval England—a gold ring is set to be auctioned later this month at Noonans Mayfair in London. Per the BBC, the ring was found in a field by one David Board, 69, who had only been metal detecting for a couple of months when he made what he now regards as a once-in-a-lifetime find. The ring is made of two entwined bands of gold weighing about 0.1oz; it has a small diamond setting and a French inscription that translates, "As I hold your faith, hold mine."

According to CNN, Board initially thought the ring was a candy wrapper or metal scrap, which is about all he had found that day. He didn't realize what it was until he got home and washed it off. Based on the ring's location, experts surmised that it was given by one Thomas Brook to his wife, Joan Brook, a wealthy widow he married in 1388. "There will probably never be another one like it," Board told CNN. "Back then, each ring was individual and unique, not mass produced like today. It's stunning."

Per the New York Post, the ring is expected to fetch upward of $47,000 in auction on Nov. 29. Board will split the money with the farmer who owns the land where the ring was found. The auction will also feature a small silver seal discovered by another old chap with a metal detector; it’s at least 800 years old and is valued up to $4,500. Both finds pale in comparison to the so-called Staffordshire Hoard, a mass of Saxon treasure unearthed by Terry Herbert in 2009. As the Daily Mail reported, it brought great wealth to both the metal detectorist and his friend who owned the land; however, Herbert later regarded it as a "curse," as the feud over the money ruined their friendship. (More metal detector stories.)

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