Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 12:31 UK

Historic coins valued at 50,000

Gold coins
The coins date back to the reign of James I

A hoard of historic gold coins found by a builder in Oxfordshire are to go on sale, valued at £50,000.

The 400-year-old coins, minted during the reign of James I, were discovered in the cellar of a block of flats in Chipping Norton 30 years ago.

The builder gave the 59 coins to his 10-year-old grandson, who has now been given permission to sell them.

The two rarest coins have been bought by the British Museum. The remaining 57 will go on sale in London on 9 June.

Different designs

"During the English Civil War, people buried their money underground," said auctioneer James Morton.

"There were no banks, so hiding it seemed the safest thing to do.

"However, the person who buried this hoard did not go back to collect it. "

Each of the 59 coins - also known as "jacobuses" - bears a different design. It suggests they were deliberately chosen as a reliable store of wealth.

The coins will be sold individually at auction house Morton and Eden. Estimates range from £400 to £2,500 per coin.

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