'Jaw-dropping': collector kept 2,000-year-old Celtic ruler's ring in cupboard for 28 years before getting it checked out

11 November 2022, 13:33 | Updated: 11 November 2022, 13:49

The ring is more than 2,000 years old
The ring is more than 2,000 years old. Picture: Noonans

By Kit Heren

A "jaw-dropping" ring thought to have been worn by a Celtic ruler 2,000 years ago was kept in a cupboard for nearly 30 years.

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The "incredibly important" ring is now set to be auctioned, and is expected to bring in about £30,000.

Its collector unearthed it in a field in North Yorkshire in 1994 and kept it in a cupboard before deciding to get it valued 28 years later.

Experts called in to examine the ring realised it was probably worn by a chieftain of the Corieltauvi tribe in the Midlands and Yorkshire.

They think it is the only ring of its style that exists.

The ring is perhaps the only example of its style
The ring is perhaps the only example of its style. Picture: Noonans

The collector, who wanted to stay anonymous, found it near Knaresborough.

He said: "I'm in my 60s, I don't know how long I'll be around. I thought it really wanted a good home so my children don't have to figure out what to do with it."

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"It's jaw-dropping," he said.

"It's really quite a mysterious thing. We will never know for sure who owned it but it was probably a powerful Celtic chieftain.

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"It's not quite King Arthur's ring but it's the next thing down. We're talking about the beginning of British written history."

The design is linked to the Iceni tribe, which ran a large part of East Anglia before the Romans invaded the UK.

The tribe's queen Boudicca later led an ill-fated revolution against the Roman occupiers.

Nigel Mills, of auctioneers Noonans, said "There is no other ring of this style which exists. It's an incredibly important piece."

The auction begins next Tuesday.

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