AUCTIONS – “Rare and important” late-medieval gold and sapphire ring, found by metal detector, is up for auction


A “rare and important” gold and cabochon sapphire ring, listed as “The Wisbech” and believed to date from the mid-14th to the mid-16th centuries, found by metal detector in an area of Cambridgeshire, near Wisbech in eastern England this year, is currently offered at auction.

According to the latest bidding information about lot 0530 in the Timeline Auctions sale, the latest bid has reached 8,500 pounds (GBP), above the pre-sale estimate of 6,000-8,000 GBP.

“The HM Coroner report offers a date range of 1350-1550 AD, based on the overall format of the ring, the devotional significance of the Christogram (ihc) and the cut of the cabochon,” Timeline Auctions said in the lot description.

“A date in the later 16th century or beyond is regarded as improbable due to the prevailing religious climate of the Reformation.”

The ring is in “Very fine condition. Rare and important,” Timeline said.

According to a report in the Fenland Citizen in eastern England, a Wisbech land owner is hoping someone local will step in to buy the ring found in one of his fields.

The man, who did not wish to be identified to avoid people trespassing on his land with metal detectors, explained the medieval ring listed as ‘The Wisbech’, was found in the field on January 20, 2020.

The Fenland Citizen quoted him as saying, “An Eastern European chap asked if he could go metal detecting on my land and I agreed. He was there over several months and found various bits and pieces, but I didn’t really take much notice, until one day when he came up and showed me a ring.

“When it was cleaned up it was clear it was something special and we contacted the coroner and the British Museum. The museum experts looked at it and dated it as medieval and described it as a very rare find — they said they had never seen one like it before and said it was a devotional ring.

“It has a blue sapphire in the centre and then two heart-shaped garnets. It is a very lovely thing. The rules are that anything found on your land is split 50/50 with the finder and I tried to negotiate with the chap but in the end it was decided it had to go to auction, after it was returned to us as treasure trove.”Ring

Credit: Timeline Auctions