The Treasure Act of 1996

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The Treasure Act

The Treasure Act, 1996 is a piece of legislation designed to deal with finds of treasure primarily those made by metal detectorists in England and Wales. It legally obliges finders of objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure to report their find to their local coroner within fourteen days. An inquiry led by the coroner then determines whether the find constitutes treasure or not. If is declared to be treasure then the owner must offer the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts. Only if no museum expresses an interest in the item or is unable to purchase it can the owner retain it.

'Treasure' is defined as being:

  • All coins from the same hoard. A hoard is defined as two or more coins, as long as they are at least 300 years old when found. If they contain less than 10% gold or silver there must be at least 10 in the hoard for it to qualify.
  • Two or more prehistoric base metal objects in association with one another
  • Any individual (non-coin) find that is at least 300 years old and contains at least 10% gold or silver.
  • Associated finds: any object of any material found in the same place as (or which had previously been together with) another object which is deemed treasure.
  • Objects substantially made from gold or silver but are less than 300 years old, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown.

Under English law a landowner has sole title to any archaeological artefacts found on his or her property. Legitimate metal detectorists come to an agreement the owners of the land they detect on to share any proceeds from treasure sales. Those who detect illegally, either on Scheduled sites or without the landowners' permission cannot benefit from the Treasure Act. Illegal detectorists have had their loot confiscated and can face fines and prison.

Successful cases involving the Treasure Act include that of the Ringlemere gold cup. Non treasure finds are the remit of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

See also

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Famous Treasures Lost & Found
Famous Treasure Finds in the United Kingdom
Famous Treasure Wrecks, Spanish Galleons
Pirate Treasure - Hidden Plunder
Treasure Maps, Codes & Ciphers
Lost Gold & Silver Mines, Caves & Tunnels
Nazi Gold - The Spoils of War
The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau
Lost Biblical Treasures
The Treasure Hunters
Digging For Relics of War
Danger!!! - A Serious Warning!!!
Digging For Battlefield Relics
Visits to Famous Battle Sites
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Coin Collecting - Numismatics
Collecting Artefacts & Antiquities
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Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries - Dangers In Coin and Artefact Collecting