Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 13:02 UK

Coin hoard exceeds sale estimate

Gold coins
The coins were known as Unites

A hoard of gold coins found by a builder in the cellar of an Oxfordshire flat has sold at auction for £76,360.

The 400-year-old coins, minted during James I's reign, were valued by auctioneers at about £50,000 and were found in Chipping Norton 30 years ago.

They were bought by private buyers and trade dealers in a specialist coin auction in London.

The two rarest coins were sold earlier to the British Museum. There were 50 bidders for the remaining 57 coins.

The coins were known as Unites, signifying James I's intention to unify England and Scotland, and were worth about £1 in England when they were first produced.

Auctioneer James Moreton said the builder had given the coins to his grandson along with some other items in his personal collection.

He said: "The gentleman who found them originally didn't even realise they were gold.

"It was only much later, when his grandson showed them to me in 2005, that I was able to tell him what they really were."

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