British flagTreasure Act

Treasure Act

Can I Keep All My Finds?
In most cases, yes. You will detect on several different sites. In the event a "Treasure Trove" is discovered (as defined under the Treasure Act, 1996), English law prevails and the find becomes the property of the Crown; however, the finder is entitled to receive a reward determined by the Treasure Validation Committee, which consists of independent experts. Also **Assistance will be provided obtaining export licenses as it is required**

Here is a brief Treasure Act Summary:
The Treasure Act 1996 came into force on 24th September 1997 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, replacing the common law of treasure trove. Provided on these pages is a summary of the main points of this law; further information will be found in the Code of Practice on the Treasure Act, which can be obtained free of charge from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (formerly the Department of National Heritage) (Telephone: 0171 211 6200). Metal detectorists are strongly advised to obtain a copy of the Code of Practice which, among other things, contains guidance for detectorists, sets out guidelines on rewards, gives advice on the care of finds and has lists of useful addresses.

What is the definition of Treasure?
The new definition of treasure. The following finds are treasure under the Act (more detailed guidance is given in the Code of Practice):

1. Objects other than coins
Any object other than a coin provided that it contains at least 10 per cent of gold or silver and is at least 300 years old when found. (Objects with gold or silver plating normally have less than 10 per cent of precious metal). Also recently added; Now prehistoric base-metal assemblages found after 1st January 2003 also qualify as Treasure. *All prehistoric base-metal objects from the same find (two or more).

2. Coins
All coins from the same find provided they are at least 300 years old when found (but if the coins contain less than 10 per cent of gold or silver there must be at least 10 of them; there is a list of these coins in the Code of Practice). An object or coin is part of the same find as another object or coin if it is found in the same place as, or had previously been left together with, the other object. Finds may have become scattered since they were originally deposited in the ground.

Only the following groups of coins will normally be regarded as coming from the 'same find':

  • hoards that have been deliberately hidden
  • smaller groups of coins, such as the contents of purses, that may have been dropped or lost
  • votive or ritual deposits Single coins found on their own are not treasure and groups of coins lost one by one over a period of time (for example those found on settlement sites or on fair sites) will not normally be treasure.

3. Associated objects
Any object, whatever it is made of, that is found in the same place as, or that had previously been together with, another object that is treasure.

4. Objects that would have been treasure trove
Any object that would previously have been treasure trove, but does not fall within the specific categories given above. These objects have to be made substantially of gold or silver; they have to have been buried with the intention of recovery and their owner or his heirs cannot be traced.

The following types of finds are not treasure:

  • objects whose owners can be traced
  • unworked natural objects, including human and animal remains, even if they are found in association with treasure
  • objects from the foreshore, which are wreck. If you are in any doubt, it will probably be safest to report your find.

Information taken from the leaflet "The Treasure Act" Printed in the UK for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport DCMSJ0229NJ. July 1997.

For more detailed information on the Treasure Act, please see our treasure hunting links page.