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An NHS nurse is set to net a huge sum of money after finding a tiny “golden Bible” during a metal detection search of nearby farmland.
Buffy Bailey, from Lancaster, Lancashire, is an amateur metal detectorist, and came across the amazing discovery while scouting farmland near Sheriff Hutton Castle in North Yorkshire with husband Ian.
The item was found down a five inch hole near a footpath and the couple reckon it could be worth £100,000 or more.
According to The Daily Mail, the small object, that is just 1.5cm long, weighs around 5g and is either 22-carat or 24-carat gold, dates back to the 15th century and is believed to have belonged to a relative of King Richard III, who was on the throne more than 500 years ago.
The castle near the farmland was owned by Richard III – hence the possible connection to him.
Mrs Bailey, 48, said: “Me and my husband go all around the country metal detecting. We decided to visit York because we knew it had a lot of history.
“We arrived at the farm and the landowner asked if we wanted to go out straight away – we said yes please.
“Metal detecting is not a very sociable hobby and people will often try to start conversation by saying things like, 'oh have you found anything good?'
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“I just wanted to focus on detecting so I turned my back to the footpath so walkers wouldn't talk to me and just as I did I got a signal in that exact spot.
“I dug down five inches and it was just there – I still didn't believe it was anything special. I just thought it'd be an old sheep's ear tag or a pull ring.
“But when I took the clay off I realised it was something a bit different. My first thought was that it was some kind of charm from a gift shop.
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“I took a photo and enlarged it on my phone and that's when I knew it was gold.
“It was so heavy and shiny – just absolutely beautiful. When you held it into the light it threw rainbows at you.
“I couldn't believe it. I called my husband who was in another field and asked him to come get me because I just couldn't move.
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“I told him, 'I need to sit down,' but he said 'I need to carry on looking!' He left me standing there for another hour”
The book is currently being assessed by the Yorkshire Museum, where its provenance will be determined.
It is possible that the museum will buy the item – after raising funds to do so.
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Mr Bailey said: “Whoever had it commissioned must have been incredibly wealthy – there's nothing else like it in the world. It could be worth £100,000 or more.”
Expert Julian Evan-Hart said that the book is dated between 1280 and 1410 “when sumptuary law made it illegal for anyone other than the nobility to carry gold”.
She explained: “Automatically, then, it would have been the possession of someone highly notable such as a member of royalty.”
Any money raised from the item will be split between Mrs Bailey and the current land owner.
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