Amateur treasure hunter unearths Elizabethan gold ring worth £10,000
Amateur treasure hunter, 30, unearths Elizabethan gold signet ring worth £10,000 in a field near Glastonbury after mistaking it for a can ring pull
- Factory worker Ben Bishop found the Elizabethan ring while metal detecting
- He originally thought the object found in Glastonbury was a Coke can ring-pull
- The gold signet ring dates back to 1550 and 1650 and could be worth £10,000
- It will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Derby on September 27
A factory worker thought he’d found a Coke can ring-pull while out metal detecting only to discover it was a rare piece of Elizabethan jewellery worth £10,000.
Ben Bishop was searching a farmer’s field when he came across the stunning item, a gold signet ring dates back to between 1550 and 1650.
It will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Derby on September 27.
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A factory worker thought he’d found a Coke can ring-pull while out metal detecting only to discover it was a rare piece of Elizabethan jewellery worth £10,000. Ben Bishop was searching a farmer’s field when he came across the stunning item (pictured together)
Mr Bishop made the discovery in Glastonbury, Somerset.
The 30-year-old said: ‘I thought it was another Coke can ring-pull – I’ve found tons of those over the years along with lots or rubbish.
‘I lifted up the turf and started digging, expecting to find another one. But I saw something shining and, when I broke off the mud, it was an ancient gold ring.
‘It’s the first gold I’ve ever found. I was so gobsmacked I just sat down on the ground staring at it for about 40 minutes.’
The signet ring, featuring a double-headed eagle, has since been identified as Elizabethan and dates back to between 1550 and 1650 – making it almost 500 years old.
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Mr Bishop made the discovery in Glastonbury, Somerset. He initially though the gold signet ring dates, which dates back to between 1550 and 1650, was a coke can ring pull
The 30-year-old said: ‘ I’ve found tons of those over the years along with lots or rubbish. I lifted up the turf and started digging, expecting to find another one. But I saw something shining and, when I broke off the mud, it was an ancient gold ring’ (pictured)
He added: ‘It’s the first gold I’ve ever found. I was so gobsmacked I just sat down on the ground staring at it for about 40 minutes’
It will now be sold be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbys, on mSeptember 27 and is expected to fetch up to £10,000.
Mr Bishop, who has been metal detecting for seven years, added: ‘I did lots of research on the ring and immediately registered it as Treasure Trove.
‘I thought it may have been Eastern European but it turns out that the Eagle symbol was used on lead tokens when Elizabeth I was on the throne
‘The ring was taken away for a couple of months to be examined and the British Museum did a report on it.
No museums wanted to buy it so it was returned to me as the finder. I had an agreement with the owner of the field that if I found anything of high value I would sell it and split the proceeds.
WHO WAS QUEEN ELIZABETH I?
Queen Elizabeth I was the last Tudor monarch and ruled for almost 45 years between 1559 and 1603.
She left a long and lasting legacy, including voyages of discovery that she supported during her reign.
She helped pave the way for an age of expansion, colonisation and trade across the globe.
The England that Elizabeth inherited was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The country was at war with itself and others, and had little international standing.
Elizabeth’s immediate challenge was to reassure her subjects and re-establish the credibility of the Tudor monarchy at home and abroad.
This involved reinstating the Reformation, building a Church of England that was neither Catholic nor extreme Protestant, and reinvigorating the nation’s economy.
When she died, England was a comparatively stable country, with an expanding economy and power on the international stage.
That she succeeded is attested to by the achievements listed on her tomb, religious settlement, maintenance of peace and re-coinage.
The Elizabethan era is now referred to in history as a ‘Golden Age’.
The queen herself is widely believed to have mixed red dye with mercuric sulphide for her red lips — and possibly her rosy cheeks.
It was dabbed on after she pasted white lead and vinegar over her face and neck.
Kohl, a black lead sulphide, was used to outline her eyes to make them appear whiter and brighter — a trick still in vogue today.
She plucked her hair line back by about an inch to increase the size of her forehead, and also plucked her eyebrows to make them appear more arched and fair.
With poor dental care, she was forced to have teeth removed – which she hid by stuffing rags in the gaps.
‘It’s a man’s ring and fits my finger really well, but I have to part with it.
‘I have no idea who it originally belonged to but it would have been a person of wealth and importance. Glastonbury Abbey, an old monastery, isn’t far away.’
Mr Bishop, of Bridgwater, Somerset, took the ring to show jewellery expert Kate Bliss, a regular on TV’s Bargain Hunt and Flog It!
She was at a free jewellery valuations events organised by Hansons Auctioneers at The Malt House in Alveston, Stratford.
Ms Bliss said: ‘This gold signet ring bowled me over. What an amazing find.
‘Ben is an avid and experienced metal detector. It’s been assessed by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
‘Depicting a double headed eagle on a flat oval bezel with beaded border, the ring weighs in at an unusually heavy 17 grams.
This is a rare find and one which will appeal to jewellery enthusiasts and historians alike.’
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