Medieval ring found in English field sells for $45K at Noonans

The Lady Brook medieval gold and diamond ring, £38,000 (about $45,000). Image courtesy of Noonans

The Lady Brook medieval gold and diamond ring, £38,000 (about $45,000). Image courtesy of Noonans

LONDON – An exceptionally fine ring discovered by a metal-detectorist in an English field and  believed to be the wedding ring given by Sir Thomas Brook to his wife Lady Joan Brook for their marriage in 1388 sold at Noonans in its November 29 Jewellery and Watches auction for a hammer price of £38,000 (about $45,000). It was bought via a commission bid but saw interest on both the telephone and internet as well.

David Board, the 69-year-old who made the happy discovery, could not have envisaged what he was going to find. He tried detecting on local beaches in the 1970s and did not come up with much, but a family friend motivated him to try his luck again in 2019. Armed with the latest detector, an XP Deus, Board gained permission to search near the town of Thorncombe from a local farmer for whom Board had formerly been a milk tanker driver for many years.

On his second outing, nearing the end of the day and having found just a few old copper half pennies, Board got a signal near a footpath in a pasture. At a depth of five inches he saw what he thought was a candy wrapper. After looking more closely, he realized it was a ring and put it in his top pocket.

English metal detectorist David Board, who discovered the ring, intends to use his share of the proceeds to help his partner’s daughter secure a mortgage. Image courtesy of Noonans

English metal detectorist David Board, who discovered the ring, intends to use his share of the proceeds to help his partner’s daughter secure a mortgage. Image courtesy of Noonans

Finds Liaison Officer Lucy Shipley took the ring to the British Museum and confirmed that it was medieval in date and a very rare example.

The ring, believed to date to the 14th century, bears a French inscription that translates to “I hold your faith, hold mine.” Image courtesy of Noonans

The ring, believed to date to the 14th century, bears a French inscription that translates to “I hold your faith, hold mine.” Image courtesy of Noonans

Board and the farmer watched the auction from the comfort of their local pub. Board plans to use his share of the money to help his partner’s daughter arrange a mortgage. He said: “I am so pleased that the ring sold, as I was worrying that it wouldn’t. Despite having media interest from all over the world, we hope that it will remain in this country.”

The medieval gold and diamond ring was found in an English pasture in 2019. Image courtesy of Noonans

The medieval gold and diamond ring was found in an English pasture in 2019. Courtesy Noonans

Nigel Mills, a consultant for coins and antiquities at Noonans, explains: “This ring is in almost perfect condition and has an inverted diamond set into the raised bezel so that it comes to a point. The hoop is composed of two neatly entwined bands symbolizing the union of the couple. Inside the band is an inscription in French, ‘ieo vos tien foi tenes le moy’ (translating as I hold your faith, hold mine).”

Following the sale, Mills said: “This was a great result for this beautiful ring, which had a wonderful aura about it, which made you not want to give it back when you held it.”

 

The current rate of exchange is £1 = $1.20.

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