Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 19:15 UK

Saxon relic worth up to 15,000

Saxon relic
Mr Pearson found the relic while out metal detecting

A rare Saxon artefact found by a metal detector enthusiast from South Yorkshire is expected to fetch up to 15,000 at auction.

Tim Pearson thought the 9th Century gold pointer was a milk bottle top when he made the discovery while treasure hunting in Aughton near Rotherham.

Three years on the relic has been valued at 10,000 to 15,000 by Bonhams Auctioneers, which will sell it.

The item, known as an aestel, was used by monks to help read manuscripts.

According to the auctioneers it is thought to be one of a few commissioned by King Alfred for a group of bishops.

The find, known as The Yorkshire Aestel, is one of only several thought to date back to 871-899.

Madeleine Perridge, from Bonhams, said: "It is a privilege to be selling this beautiful rare object.

"When handling an object like this, anyone with a love of history and literature knows that they are in touch with centuries of monastic scholarly endeavour, and possibly with royal sponsorship of that work."

The most famous of these, the Alfred Jewel, is now housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

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