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23.01.2021

Leominster hoard

The Leominster Hoard is a hoard of coins and jewelry dating to the Viking period found near Leominster, Herefordshire in June 2015.

The treasure was discovered by metal detectors George Powell and Leighton Davies near Oak, Herefordshire, near Leominster in 2015. Under the provisions of the Treasure Act 1996, they were required to report the find within 14 days. They failed to report the find and instead sold it to dealers, except for a few individual pieces, which were reported to local Portable Antiquities Scheme representative Peter Reeville. The detectors were illegally searching the land owned by Lord Cowley.

Most of the treasure was sold before the conviction. Antiques dealers in Cardiff and London sold individual items from the hoard.

The hoard originally contained about 300 coins, of which 31 were recovered along with a silver bullion, a rock crystal pendant on gold wire, a gold bracelet, and a gold ring. The treasure was buried in the late 9th century, to which most of the items belong. The rock crystal pendant is thought to date from the 5th or 6th century.

The economic value of the treasure is difficult to ascertain as much of it is still missing and presumably hidden or sold. One collector who bought 16 coins estimated the value of the entire hoard at £3 million.

In 2019, two detectives were found guilty of stealing and concealing the find. Coin dealers Simon Weeks and Paul Wells were also found guilty on charges of concealment. Powell was imprisoned for ten years and Leighton for eight and a half. Weeks was imprisoned for five years. Wells fell ill during his sentencing hearing, and the sentence was to be handed down at a later hearing in December 2019.

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