Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 09:48 UK

Treasure hoard is seen by 40,000

Gold Anglo-Saxon artefact found in Staffordshire
People queued for up to four hours to see the treasure hoard

More than 40,000 people went to see the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure during the two-and-a-half weeks it was on display in Birmingham.

The 1,500 pieces were put on display at the city's Museum and Art Gallery on 25 September after being found in a Staffordshire field in July.

The hoard is now being sent to the British Museum in London to be valued by experts.

However, a campaign to see it returned to the West Midlands has been set up.

Experts have estimated the hoard will be worth a "seven-figure sum", however it could take up to a year for it to be valued.

'Bit sad'

Birmingham City Council, along with the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent authorities, have launched a joint bid to keep the items in the West Midlands region by buying them from the Crown.

The money raised will be split between amateur treasure hunter Terry Herbert, who found the hoard, and the owner of the land near Lichfield where he discovered it.

Terry Herbert, who found The Staffordshire Hoard
The hoard was found by Terry Herbert on a farm near Lichfield

Museum chiefs in Birmingham said they had already collected more than £32,000 from public donations across the city.

They plan to apply for grants from public bodies and raise money from businesses to buy the collection, which may date back to the 7th Century.

People have often queued for more than four hours to see the gold and silver pieces, even when the museum opened until 2300 BST on the last weekend of the exhibition.

Workers at the venue were spending Wednesday carefully packing up and labelling all the items.

Simon Cane, of the museum, said: "It is a bit sad to see them go, but the sooner it goes away for valuation, the sooner we can get it back."

The collection is almost totally made up of weapon fittings with no feminine objects such as dress fittings, brooches or pendants.

That has led some experts to believe it could have been the spoils of a single battle or the collection of a warrior who had a long military career.

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