Couple Finds Out Home Is 'One Hell of a Piggy Bank'

UK pair discovered 18th-century gold coins worth up to $290K under their kitchen floor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2022 11:30 AM CDT
Couple Finds Out Home Is 'One Hell of a Piggy Bank'
One of the coins up for auction.   (

Home renovations can be nerve-wracking: You never know what you're going to unearth underneath the old plaster and wood as you make way for the new. For a UK couple, their discovery was more shocking than most: a container filled with 18th-century coins that could end up selling at auction for up to $290,000. CNN reports that the find took place in July 2019, during a home redo at the couple's home in Ellerby, North Yorkshire. After ripping up the concrete and floorboards in their kitchen, the two found a small, salt-glazed earthenware cup no bigger than a Coke can that held more than 260 gold coins, dated from 1610 to 1727.

All of the coins were from England, save for one Brazilian coin, which experts say was in circulation in Britain in the 1720s, per USA Today. "It is a wonderful and truly unexpected discovery from so unassuming a find location," Gregory Edmund of the Spink & Son auctioneer house says in a release. He adds that the coin find is "one of the largest on archaeological record from Britain, and certainly for the 18th-century period." The release notes that the coins likely belonged to Joseph and Sarah Fernley-Maisters, who were married in 1694 and were part of a prominent mercantile family.

"Joseph and Sarah clearly distrusted the newly formed Bank of England, the 'banknote,' and even the gold coinage of their day because they [chose] to hold onto so many coins dating to the English Civil War and beforehand," Edmund says. "Why they never recovered the coins ... is an even bigger mystery, but it is one hell of a piggy bank," he adds of the home. Although the coins have an estimated value of $115,000, auction officials believe they could sell for up to $290,000 at the Oct. 7 auction. (More coins stories.)

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