When you go out scrap metal picking, there’s no knowing what treasures you might uncover. Whilst a stash of forgotten copper wire or an abandoned stainless steel kitchen sink might seem like the best you can hope for, there are some stories of junk pickers coming across valuable finds beyond their wildest dreams. This week, we take a look at three of the best.
A lost hammer and a Roman hoard
In 1992, a Suffolk farmer lost a hammer in one of his fields and asked Eric Lawes to recover it using his metal detector. Whilst the hammer was never recovered, Lawes did stumble across a Roman treasure trove consisting of 24 bronze, 565 gold, and 14, 191 silver coins as well as hundreds of gold and silver spoons, statues, and jewellery. By law, the Hoxne Hoard had to be turned over to the British Government, but they were legally required to pay a fair market price for the treasure, which turned out to be a tidy sum of around $2.8 Australian dollars.
A hole in the wall cover-up worth millions
Sometime during the 1980s and 1990s, and Indiana man bought a picture of some flowers from a junk shop to cover up a hole in his wall. Several years later he was playing a fine art auction board game called Masterpiece and was surprised to find a game card with a painting of flowers by 19th century still life painter Martin Johnson Heade, which looked very similar to the artwork he had on his wall. The Kennedy Galleries in Manhattan subsequently verified the work as a previously undiscovered Heade, and in 1999 it was bought by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for US$1.2 million dollars.
15th century gold found on a Sunday walk
Hertfordshire housewife Mary Hannaby spent 7 years’ worth of Sundays combing fields and beaches with a metal detector and never found anything more exciting than an old dental plate until 2009 when she uncovered a 15th century gold religious pendant worth around $400,000 Australian dollars. Found just four feet below the ground in a field, the pendant is one of only three in the world.
Metal Men Recycling are established scrap metal buyers in Melbourne. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 5941 6677.