Surprise Treasure: Couple Discovers £250,000 in Hidden Gold Coins at Home

A Yorkshire couple is set to be £250,000 richer after finding gold coins underneath their kitchen floor.

The anonymous pair uncovered a remarkable haul of 264 coins at their 18th century detached property in the village of Ellerby, North Yorkshire.

The couple were ripping up their kitchen floor, in order to relay it, when they stumbled upon 400-year-old coins which were filled to the top of a metal can. They were found buried under six inches of concrete.

The owners, who have lived in the detached property for over 10 years, believed they had found some ordinary electric cable.

However once the pair lifted up the floor, they found a cup that was the same size as a can of Coke – but filled with valuable coins.

Some of the gold coins date from 1610 to 1727 and covered the reigns of James I and Charles I and to George I.

The anonymous pair uncovered a remarkable 264 coins at their 18th century detached property ( Image: Spink/BNPS)

The pair wanted a professional opinion on their find and quickly contacted London auctioneers Spink & Son who visited their house and provided expert analysis on their discovery.

After some research, it was revealed the coins belonged to a wealthy and connected merchant family from Hull, the Fernley-Maisters.

The Fernley-Maisters were importers and exporters of timber, coal and iron ore with latter generations serving as Members of Parliament in the early 1700s.

The coins were collected in the lifetime of Joseph Fernley and his wife Sarah Maister.

Joseph died in 1725 and his widow Sarah died aged 80 in 1745.

The auction includes this rare James I Scotch double-crown ( Image: Spink/BNPS)

The coins were initially discovered in July 2019 and can now officially go to auction.

It is thought the coins have a combined total estimate of £250,000.

Auctioneer Gregory Edmund said: “This is a fascinating and highly important discovery. It is extraordinarily rare for hoards of English gold coins to ever come onto the marketplace.

“This find of over 260 coins is also one of the largest on archaeological record from Britain.

“It was an entirely serendipitous discovery. The owners were relaying the floor of their house and found a pot about the size of a Diet Coke can, full of gold.

They’ve never picked up a metal detector in their life. They were just relaying a floor and thought it was an electrical cable at first.

A ‘pattern bust’ James I laurel was found in amongst the buried treasure ( Image: (Spink/BNPS)

“I rushed up to see them in North Yorkshire a few days after and there were 264 gold coins in this cup – it is unfathomable, I have no idea how they managed to fit so many in that pot.

“The coins date from 1610 to 1727, which is an usually long period for a hoard.

“It also raises the question why has someone decided to bury a lot of coins at the beginning of the 18th century, when they had banks and bank notes – all the things that meant hoarding shouldn’t have happened any more.

“Its contents are hardly ‘mindblowing’ – they simply reflect the £50 and £100 coins of day-to-day exchange buried and mysteriously never recovered by their wealthy owner.

“They’re not mint perfect coins, they are coins that have had a hard life.

This rare Charles II guinea with spelling mistake is expected to fetch £1,500 at auction ( Image: Spink/BNPS)

The gold coins pictured in the ground of the couple’s kitchen floor in Ellerby

“However the number of coins and unique method of burial presents an extraordinary opportunity to appreciate the complicated English economy in the first decades of the Bank of England and significant distrust of its new-fangled invention the ‘banknote’.

“It is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery from so unassuming a find location.

“As a coin specialist of many years experience, I cannot recall a similar discovery in living memory.

“And it is therefore an enormous privilege to be able to properly document and explore this hoard for the benefit of future generations.’

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