European amateur treasure hunters, from Viking silver to Roman bronze, are finding all kinds of treasure with their metal detectors. Now a new treasure is making headlines: as ChronicleLive reports, a custodian at an elementary school in Northumberland, England, used his own electronic device to find a cache of medieval silver coins hidden under the school playground.
The discovery took place at Warquorth Anglican Church Elementary School in the tiny village of Warquorth. The school is next to a well-preserved medieval castle that once belonged to the House of Percy, an influential noble family.
"The collection was found on the playground by a caretaker who asked to discover the metal and got permission," Fred Wirley-Berch, director of Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland, who will auction off some of the coins, told Mental Floss. "The hoard was then declared a treasure trove and was appraised and confirmed by the British Museum." The stash consists of 128 silver coins forged during the 15th and early 16th centuries, during England's transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It includes croup and half-crop coins that date from the reigns of Kings Edward IV and Henry VII, as well as nine coins from the 1460s associated with Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. Together they are worth £11,000 (nearly $15,000).
The British Museum would not buy the silver currency, so the caretaker of the elementary school and the landowner, the Diocese of Newcastle, agreed to share the treasure.