Home renovations can be a real money pit—but for one English couple, remodeling their kitchen revealed a pit filled with money.
As the unnamed family peeled back the 18th century floorboards and concrete below their East Yorkshire home during a 2019 remodel, they unearthed a small pot filled with 264 gold coins that date back to the early 1600s. Those coins were just auctioned off one-by-one, going for a total of $842,330.
The coins are believed to have belonged to the Fernley-Maisters, a family which was involved in the Baltic maritime trade network out of the port city of Hull, located nearby to where the bounty was found. Auctioneer Gregory Edmund called the discovery “120 years of English history hidden in a pot the same size as a soda can.”
“Picture the scene: you’re choosing to re-lay your uneven kitchen floor, you put a pick-ax through the concrete and just beneath, you see a tiny sliver of gold,” he said. “At the time, you think it must just be a bit of electrical cable, but you find it’s a gold round disc and beneath it, there are hundreds more.”
The 17th- and 18th-century coins would be valued at approximately $113,070 in today’s money, according to the auction house, Spink & Son in London. And ahead of the sale the house estimated the collection would fetch $250,000. But the price rose as more public attention surrounded the listing, with interest from international buyers from Japan, Australia and around European. The historic find eventually sold for $842,330 in individual lots. The piece that sold for the most dated back to the 1720s and was dubbed the “Unbelievable Mint Error” coin because it was struck during the reign of King George I, but instead of a head and a tails side, it incorrectly has two tails. It hammered down for nearly $70,000.
“I have never seen a response to an auction like that before, and the results testify it, my provisional estimate was demolished three times over,” Edmund told Business Insider. “It dwarfed any preconceived expectations and set dozens of world records along the way.”