Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hoard's 3.285m figure based on 'fair market value'

By Katie Dawson
BBC News

Gold Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in Staffordshire
The artefacts were valued at the British Museum in London

The hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found in a Staffordshire field has been valued at £3.285m. But how was that figure arrived at?

By the time the Treasure Valuation Committee (TVC) met to officially value the hoard at 1000 GMT on Wednesday, its eight members had already spent days reading masses of paperwork on the Anglo-Saxon treasure.

Reports written by four independent valuers were compiled to help the committee.

They all needed to be carefully considered before the final figure of £3.285m was reached.

The valuers had analysed the hoard using a number of "principles", said Professor Norman Palmer, chairman of the committee.

Market value

These included its historical significance, its market value and, if it was to be sold at auction, what interest it would generate.

Professor Palmer said the £3.285m figure was based on a "fair market value" that would be paid in the open market - even though it was unlikely the hoard would ever be sold in such a way.

The overall objective is to give a fair and adequate incentive to finders and land owners
Professor Norman Palmer, chairman of the TVC.

To reach the figure, the committee firstly valued a group of 80 items, which included up to 30 of the most significant pieces.

They then valued a sample group of 80 other items, chosen to be representative of the whole hoard.

These figures were then used to calculate how much the whole hoard was worth overall.

After taking into account other factors - such as the likely price the gold would fetch if sold at auction - the final figure of £3.285m was reached.

The committee was guided by the Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice when valuing such finds.

By law, treasure is the property of the Crown, so the finder or landowner cannot legally sell it.

Instead they are given a reward, designed to encourage future finders to come forward with their discoveries and not sell them illegally.

Reward system

"The overall objective is to give a fair and adequate incentive to finders and land owners," said Professor Palmer.

"The reward system almost certainly gives somebody more than they would have got if they tried to sell it clandestinely because they would not be selling it legally that way.

"People sometimes think it's a question of the Crown and government making an offer to buy it from the finder, but it's not that because it is the Crown's property in the first place."

The money will be split between Terry Herbert, who found the hoard, and Fred Johnson, who owns the farm where it was discovered.

The money will ultimately come from whichever museum acquires it from the Crown.

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