Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Hoxne Hoard

The Hoxne Hoard (pronounced 'Hoxon') is the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain, and the largest collection of gold and silver coins of the fourth and fifth century ever found anywhere within the Roman Empire.

Found with metal detector in the village of Hoxne in Suffolk, England, on 16 November 1992, the hoard consists of 14,865 Roman gold, silver and bronze coins from the late fourth and early fifth centuries, and about 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewellery.
The objects are in the British Museum in London. The hoard is conservatively valued at £2.66 million.

Rare Blue Diamond sells for $9.6 million

A rare blue diamond ring was auctioned by Bonhams April 24 2013, as part of its Fine Jewellery Sale in London.

Estimated to fetch between £1 million and £1.5 million, the "Trombino" ring by renowned Italian jeweller Bulgari realised more than four times its high estimate, selling to Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds for £6.2 million. This record price of US$1.8m per carat beat the previous world record price of US$1.68m per carat for a blue diamond.
The diamond is a "fancy deep-blue" stone weighing 5.3 carats.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Minoan Gold

The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age society that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from about the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC.

The term "Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans after the mythic King Minos. Minos was associated in Greek myth with the labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos.

The Bronze Age began in Crete as locals on the island developed centers of commerce. This enabled the upper classes to expand their influence. Eventually the ground would be laid for a monarchist power structure - a precondition for the creation of great empires.

Around 1450 BCE, Minoan culture experienced a turning point due to a natural catastrophe, possibly an earthquake. The palace in Knossos seems to have remained largely intact. The Minoan palace sites were occupied by the Myceneans around 1420 BC. By 1200 BC the Minoans had faded into history.

The Ackworth Hoard

On March 29, 2012 news broke of the Ackworth Hoard. Dr Owen Johnson, 53, was inspecting building work at his home in High Ackworth last July when he spotted a ceramic pot poking out of the earth.

The pot cracked in two spilling out gold and silver coins “like a slot machine.”

Containing 52 gold and 39 silver coins, it is thought the jar had been buried for 300 years, probably at the height of the English Civil War.
The earliest coin is a gold half sovereign of Edward VI minted in 1547-9, and the latest are Charles I silver coins minted in 1645-6. Most of the coins are English coins of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I. The Hoard also includes a few Scottish and Irish coins, and ducatoons from the Spanish Netherlands.
As well as the coins, the treasure includes a single gold ring with the inscription: 'When this you see, Remember me.'

The hoard was valued at £54,492 and Wakefield Council managed to raise the money after donations from various groups to keep the items locally.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The King of the Klondike

Alexander "Big Alex" McDonald (1859–1909) was a Canadian gold prospector who made (and lost) a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush, earning himself the title "King of the Klondike".

The son of Scottish immigrants, McDonald was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He was in the Yukon, employed by the Alaska Commercial Company at Forty-Mile to buy mining properties when Gold was discovered in the region in 1897.
One of the early arrivals in the Klondike, he purchased Claim 30 on Eldorado Creek for a sack of flour and a side of bacon. That claim proved to be one of the richest of the Klondike and made a fortune.

Rather than work claims, he leased them to others, who did the actual work for half of the proceeds. He soon acquired 28 claims and by 1898, he had interests in 75 mines, making him the largest landowner and employer.

"Scraping Bedrock 2 Above Bonanza, 1899, 2 Pans of Dirt Yielded $2,000.00, Alex McDonald Co. Ltd."
Unfortunately the Klondike Gold Rush didn't last and neither did McDonald's money. He died alone in a cabin on Clearwater Creek of a heart attack in 1909 virtually penniless.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

1800 year old golden orbs found in Teotihuacan

1800-year-old, once-metallic orbs have been found under an ancient pyramid in Mexico City. The Teotihuacans knew they were not going to survive and mysteriously abandoned the city in 700 AD. Some say that may have been due to a famine or invasion.
Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History has posted photos of the discovery on its website. Before the Teotihuacans disappeared they hid the orbs at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in tunnels so deep that it took scientists years of planning before they could even dig

The orbs may have been used for religious purposes to present to the gods. The orbs are yellow, which comes from jarosite, which forms as pyrite oxidizes.