Coin haul features on TV

Old coins and jug found on Holy Island
Old coins and jug found on Holy Island

A haul of coins dug up on Holy Island was featured on an ITV programme last week.

Builder Richard Mason, of Rothbury, unearthed 10 gold and seven silver coins while he was renovating a house around eight years ago.

Richard Mason with some of the other artefacts he has collected over the year.

Richard Mason with some of the other artefacts he has collected over the year.

While he was working, he dug up a jug, thought nothing of it and put it in his dad’s garage.

Six years later, on a wet day, Richard decided to clean out the jug, only to find that it contained gold and silver coins.

“The first thing we did was wash it out and have a drink of beer from it,” he said.

“After discovering them I got in contact with a close friend who knows about these things.

Richard Mason with some of the other artefacts he has collected over the year.

Richard Mason with some of the other artefacts he has collected over the year.

“We took them to the Hancock Museum and they were very pleased that we had handed them in.”

The find, and Richard, appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Secret Treasures.

But what was missing from the programme was another twist to the story.

Richard added: “They mentioned that in 1963 Alan Short found another haul in exactly the same place on Holy Island.

“But they didn’t say that I accidentally bumped into him. Four days before I was due to be interviewed, we were at a building site and there was a group of lads from Seahouses that we’d never met before.

“One of them asked if we had ever dug up anything and I said about the coins and this bloke said, so did I.”

“I thought whoever dug it up wouldn’t be around.”

The coins came from all over Europe and one of them was found to be a silver thaler, from 1500s Germany.

Another is thought to be extremely rare and from the Papal state of the Vatican from the time of Pope Clement VII, who was the head of the Catholic Church from November 19, 1523, to his death in 1534.

Richard added: “I’m chuffed to bits about it.

“It’s not every day that this kind of thing happens to someone out in the country.”

The coins are now in the British Museum. Any gold and silver over 300 years old is property of the Crown and an inquest is held to establish the circumstances of its loss. The items are now going through this process.