A TEAM of metal detectorists scouring a field near Malvern had a ‘lottery winning’ moment as they found a hoard of rare 17th Century coins.

The detectorists, from a group called KC Rallys, were at a scheduled meet scouring the field for artifacts when Garry Williams alerted his companions to his discovery of 51 silver shillings and sixpences depicting William III and dating back to 1697.

Keith Campbell, who set up the group, said: “Having looked into the value of the coins, I am fairly sure they are worth around £100 each so together they could easily be worth £5,000.

“I have had a call today saying that the value of the coins may well be even more than that, as most William III coins were turned into love tokens.

“Well done to Garry for finding the coins, and to Anne Ewins, Christopher White and Adrian Harris for helping run the group and organise the dig.”

Mr Campbell, 62, added: “It was so exciting when the coins were found and what is even more interesting is that they were only buried about six or eight inches deep.

“It seems like whoever buried them must have buried them in a hurry. For it to be the first dig we have set up like this, it is incredible to find a hoard this size.”

The coroner’s court will now decide what to do with the coins in line with the Treasure Act 1996. According to the act, treasure is anything which is more than a single coin, over 300 years old and containing at least 10 per cent gold or silver.

Anyone who makes a discovery must declare their find so that museums can decide whether or not they want the articles. If they do, a reward based on the treasure’s value is paid to the finder and, in some cases, the landowner.

The decision on the status of the findings, and whether or not to offer them to a museum, will be taken after an inquest, held at a coroner’s court.