Bucks County Museum has launched a ‘pledge campaign’ to help it buy a unique collection of more than 5,200 silver coins uncovered in the county.
To mark the start of the campaign a small display of about 21 coins has been loaned for exhibition in the foyer of Bucks County Museum, with the permission of Bucks’ coroner Richard Hulett.
Pledges from across Bucks and around the world, including as far afield as the United States, have already been made, raising more than £3,000 so far.
The hoard was found in December 2014 by metal detectorist Paul Coleman in a field at Lenborough, near Buckingham.
Mr Coleman was searching the field as part of a rally with the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club.
The silver coins, which were wrapped in a sheet of lead to protect them, turned out to be Anglo-Saxon pennies.
They are about 1,000 years old, and were made in the reigs of two kings – Aethelred the Unready, and Cnut (sometimes called Canute) the Great.
Brett Thorn, keeper of archaeology at the museum, said: “This is possibly the third-largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard ever found in England, and is probably the most important find in Buckinghamshire for years.
“In the county museum, after almost 150 years of collecting finds from Bucks, we have over 4,000 Roman coins, but less than 30 Anglo-Saxon coins at the moment, indicating just how unusual they are.
“Although the coins are called pennies, they were much more valuable than a modern penny.
“Each coin could buy you about the same amount of things as a £20 note would today.”
The coins are now being identified by specialists at the British Museum.
Their report will then go to the coroner who will hold an inquest to see if they legally qualify as treasure.
Mr Thorn added that if they are classed as treasure the county museum would get the chance to try and buy them.
He said: “We would like to acquire them, as they are a very important part of the county’s heritage.
“Although we will apply for grants to raise much of the money we will still need to raise a lot of money locally, and we would really appreciate any help that you can give, to help us keep this incredible find safe for the future.
“We cannot speculate on any final valuation yet, but we know it will be a substantial amount.
“When we know the value, probably later this year, the fundraising appeal can begin in earnest, but for now, we would like to ask people to make pledges to help us keep these coins in the county.”
To make a pledge e-mail email@example.com or phone 01296 331441.
Alternatively, you can post a pledge to the County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 2QP.
All pledges should be marked Lenborough Hoard Appeal.