Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 12:43 UK

Hoard highlight of 18-year hobby

Terry Herbert
Terry Herbert says he plans to buy a bungalow with his share of the reward

Discovering the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure has been the highlight of Terry Herbert's 18-year hobby.

"People laugh at metal detectorists," said the unemployed 55-year-old, who stands to make a fortune.

"I've had people go past and go 'beep beep, he's after pennies'. Well no, we are out there to find this kind of stuff and it is out there."

He made the find in a field near his Staffordshire home with a detector he bought in 1995.

Experts have said the collection of 1,500 gold and silver pieces, which may date back to the seventh century, was unparalleled in size.

One has suggested the find was the hobbyist's equivalent of uncovering Tutankhamen's tomb.

"I just flushed all over when he said that. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, you just never expect this," Mr Herbert said.

Lucky touch

Mr Herbert, from Burntwood, said he dug up so much gold over five days in July he was seeing the precious metal in his sleep.

He bought his first metal detector for £2.50 in a car boot sale.

A member of of Bloxwich Research and Metal Detecting Club, he is known for having a lucky touch.

Field where haul of Anglo-Saxon gold was found
Hundreds of gold artefacts were discovered buried in the field

But he said the find went far beyond past triumphs.

"My mates at the metal detecting club always say if there is a gold coin in a field I will be the one to find it.

"I dread to think what they'll say when they hear about this."

The financial worth of the hoard may take months to assess, but its market value will eventually go to Mr Herbert and the owner of the farmland where it was found.

"It's been more fun than winning the lottery," Mr Herbert said.

He plans to spend some of his share of the Crown's reward on a bungalow.

"I have this phrase that I say sometimes; 'spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear', but on that day I changed coins to gold," he said.

"I don't know why I said it that day, but I think somebody was listening and directed me to it."

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