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Amateur Treasure Hunter Unearths Missing Centerpiece of Henry VIII’s Crown — And It’s Worth Millions


How many times has this happened to you? You are a soon-to-be fired British monarch fleeing the Battle of Naseby of 1645 with a priceless gold diadem on your sweaty fist, but due to the drooling Roundhead horde nipping at your heels, you don’t have time to stop. and retrieve the not-so-lucky totem when it inadvertently slips away while making a hasty retreat.

Some archaeological historians speculate that it could be how an enameled gold statuette worth an estimated $ 2.7 million arrived in the Northhamptonshire countryside where amateur treasure hunter Kevin “Kev” Duckett found it in 2017.

Kevin Duckett via Facebook

“There may be a thousand reasons why the golden figure of Henry VI ended up in a Northamptonshire field,” the British historian writes. Leanda de Lisle. But it is surprising that the site of the find is exactly on the route that Charles fled from the Battle of Naseby in 1645, and in a place that saw extreme violence.

To escape the conflict, Charles was forced to charge Oliver Cromwell’s cavalry. It is said that he dropped his pistols after firing them in the process of jumping a stream. “Maybe it wasn’t all he dropped,” De Lisle posited.

Although Duckett has been hunting buried loot for three decades, it was during his first metal-sweeping foray searching for a site that had previously been undisturbed that the impressive icon appeared just inches below the topsoil.

Duckett knew that what he had found was a Tudor relic, but he had no idea what that 1.4-inch piece of history really was until he dived into the investigation. After three years of examining actual inventories dating back centuries, he ironically determined where they came from after seeing his doppelganger in a YouTube video of the historic royal palaces with a reproduction of a crown that belonged to Henry VIII.

Portrait of Henry VIII by Henry VIII, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Duckett made a pilgrimage to Hampton Court Palace to see the duplicate of the crown in person. What he saw was enough to convince him that the statuette of King Henry VI depicted as a saint that he had unearthed had once been his centerpiece.

“The very idea that Henry VIII used to wear this figure in his crown on his head more than 500 years ago when he was the most powerful man on earth is just mind blowing,” Duckett told the Harborough Mail. “I still can’t believe I found this magnificent real piece in a humble farmer’s field near Market Harborough.”

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By law, Duckett turned his find over to the authorities, who sent it to the British Museum in London for further study. If it turns out to be a true piece of the Tudor crown, Duckett and the owner of the site where the royal trinket appeared will receive a generous reward for its sale to a museum.

Duckett is not alone in his enthusiasm for treasure hunting, and during the pandemic the number of “detectorists”, as they are called in the UK, has been on the rise. Metal detecting is a hobby that suits both social distancing and our sense of adventure.

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“There are many more people who use metal detectors than archaeologists, so they are finding a lot more things and it is transforming our view of the past,” said academic archaeologist Professor Carenza Lewis. ITV.

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For Kev Duckett, the journey from finding a priceless piece of history to authenticating it has been a long and arduous one. While the end result is still in limbo at the moment, Duckett is not in the least discouraged. “The treasure hunt is in my blood, it is in the depths of my DNA” he said on his facebook page, “And finding treasure doesn’t get any better than this.”

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