Treasure hunter’s medieval find is sold at auction

DISCOVERY Peter Beasley and the ring
DISCOVERY Peter Beasley and the ring
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A medieval ring found in a an Hampshire field has been sold at auction for £12,000.

The 24-carat gold ring was found by metal detector Peter Beasley, from Waterlooville, on a Buriton farm in 2008.

Experts believe the jewellery belonged to William the Conqueror’s eldest son, Robert.

It is inscribed with Robert on one side and DVX, the Latin word for duke, on the other.

Mr Beasley, 72, said: ‘The British Museum said it was real and I couldn’t believe it.

‘They wouldn’t buy it so I had to sell it through Timeline auctions.

‘I want to chase it up for myself and for the Queen as it should be in the museum.’

The ring was part of a royal exhibition at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London last year and was viewed by more than 28,000 people.

Although it was valued at £60,000 to £80,000, it failed to reach its full value because of issues surrounding its authenticity.

Mr Beasley said: ‘I’m sad to have sold it as I don’t do this for the money – it’s a great hobby of mine.

‘If I won the lottery and had the money, I would buy the ring back and take it to France and the Bayeaux Tapestry where it belongs.’

Mr Beasley began his hobby in 1979 when a colleague sold his metal detector to him for £80 after he fell down a well on a previous dig.

His biggest find was in 1996 where he found 250 Roman coins in fields near Petersfield and sold them for £100,000 to the British Museum in 1996.

Another important find was a military button.

He was using his metal detector in a field in Hambledon when he made the find – dating from a battle fought in Afghanistan in 1880.

Among those who died were officers and soldiers of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot.

The button bears the figures ‘66’ and a crown insignia, and has been identified as having come from the tunic of a man who would have fought for the regiment in Victorian times.

Mr Beasley, a former bricklayer, also unearthed a Roman gold pendant.

It had a bust of the Roman emperor wearing a laurel wreath and dates back to the first century AD.

It was inscribed with the letters ‘Ti Caesar’.

Mr Beasley, 68, used a metal detector to uncover the thumb-size piece of jewellery in a field near Alton, in December 1999.

It was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder at the auction for £30,000.

It is not known who bought the latest gold ring.