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10-year-old rakes in over $5,000 with rare medieval artifact he found

The relic, which was used by priests centuries ago, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on Thursday, March 24, where it sold to a private UK buyer.



George Henderson (L) with his find (R). ( Hansons via SWNS)

By Bradley Stokes via SWNS

A ten-year-old boy who found an 800-year-old medieval priory seal matrix with his metal detector has raked in a small fortune after it sold for £4,000 ($5,276).

George Henderson was with his dad Paul, 45, when he stumbled across the ancient oval seal during a charity dig last November.

The pair had been scouring a field in Woodbridge, England, for just 10 minutes when George uncovered the 13th century copper alloy artifact 5 inches below the ground.

It displays the Virgin Mary and Child with a Latin seal which translates to Seal of the Priory and Convent of Butley, of Adam, Canon Regular.

The relic, which was used by priests centuries ago, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on Thursday, March 24, where it sold to a private UK buyer.

The proceeds will now be shared between lucky finder George and the farmer whose land the treasure was discovered on.

A wax impression from the priory seal matrix. (Hansons via SWNS)
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Owner Charles Hanson said: “It was an honor to auction this wonderful find.

"I am thrilled by the result – particularly for the metal detectorist who unearthed it, George Henderson.

"What a find to make for a young man of 10 years old.

"I am delighted to say the priory seal has been purchased by a private UK buyer and will be returning to a Suffolk.”

Paul, 45, a windscreen fitter from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts., said his son's discovery had beaten anything he had found during his years of metal detecting.

He added: “The seal’s historical importance rather than value is what’s important to both me and George.

“It’s the most exciting find either of us have ever made.

“George has been metal detecting on and off since the age of five but he doesn’t always come out with me. He’s found one or two interesting things over the years.

“He knew the seal was special when he dug it up but he didn’t know what it was. I did. I knew it was a medieval seal matrix.

“What I didn’t know then was how unusual or valuable it was.

The priory seal matrix on the top of a metal detector on the day that is was found. Hansons via SWNS0

“George was laid back about it at first but, as the day wore on, people kept asking to look at it and he got more excited.

“He seems to be better at making important finds than me. Having said that, there have been plenty of times when he’s come back with nothing.

“I always tell him to keep at it – and he got his reward.”

George, whose find was designated as of ‘Regional Importance’ on the PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) database, said: “I’m happy I discovered it.”

The area where it was found is connected to Butley Priory, a religious house for canons founded near Woodbridge in 1171. Adam served as its prior from 1219 to 1235.

The priory remained in use until 1538 as a religious base for priests and was a site dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Madonna figure on the seal, would have been pressed into wax to seal official correspondence.

Depictions of the Madonna and Child were popular at the time as the Virgin Mary was the subject of great devotion.

Adam Staples, a consultant valuer at Hansons Auctioneers, said: “This is an exceptional find for any metal detectorist to make but to discover something like this when you’re only ten is astounding.

“George must have the Midas touch. I hope it will inspire him to keep metal detecting and unearthing more history.”

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