Is it ‘Treasure’?
We are also the first port of call for objects that may qualify as ‘Treasure’.
The 1996 Treasure Act defines Treasure as any object that is at least 300 years old with gold or silver content of more than 10%, as well as their associated finds, wherever and however they are found. In addition, two or more Prehistoric base metal objects (e.g. bronze) found together also qualify as Treasure.
Groups of coins are defined separately under the Act, so that two or more silver or gold coins, or more than ten bronze coins, are Treasure. In some instances single silver or gold coins may have been modified for a different use (e.g. as a brooch), in which case they may also qualify as Treasure items if they are older than 300 years in date.
You must report all finds of Treasure to the coroner either within 14 days of the day in which you made the find, or within 14 days of the day on which you realised that the find might be Treasure. The obligation to report Treasure applies to everyone, including professional archaeologists. Penalties for non-reporting of finds that you believe (or have good evidence for believing) to be Treasure can include imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to £5,000, or both. You will not be breaking the law if you do not report a find because you did not at first recognise that it may be Treasure, but you should report it once you realise it is.
More detailed information about Treasure finds and the Treasure Act can be found on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website (finds.org.uk/treasure). However, if you think you may have an item of Treasure, or are uncertain whether your find could be Treasure, please contact us as soon as possible.