A metal-detecting fan who unearthed a rare seventh-century sword hilt could have earned £100,000 as a result.
Christopher Baker's find, in a field 10 miles from Lincoln, was described by British Museum experts as exceptional.
The hilt, part of a six-piece find, is thought to have belonged to an high-ranking Anglo-Saxon warrior.
The Lincs coroner has now declared the find treasure trove. The British Museum is expected to keep pieces and pay Mr Baker up to £100,000 in compensation.
The six pieces will be valued by the British Museum, which is expected to decide to keep them and pay compensation to Mr Baker.
Unemployed Mr Baker, 36, who has been metal-detecting since he was aged 10, will split the proceeds with Kevin Walker, the owner of the land.
Mr Baker, of Queen Mary Road, Ermine West, Lincoln, who made the find in October 2002, first took the pieces to Scunthorpe Museum.
They were passed on to the British Museum, which identified them and indicated it would be interested in purchasing them after a treasure trove inquest.
Angela Care-Evans, a curator at the British Museum, described some aspects of the find as "unique" in the context of Anglo-Saxon discoveries.
The parts of the hilt are up to 86% gold and decorated with garnet gemstones, indicating the sword was made for someone of high status. Experts think it may have belonged to a warrior from the Kingdom of Lindsey.
The British Museum has yet to put a final valuation on the find, but experts have suggested it could be worth anything up to six figures.
The exact location of the find is being kept secret to protect the site, which was recently featured on the BBC programme Hidden Treasures.