Reporting treasure finds to the Coroner

Treasure is strictly defined by the Treasure Act 1996. A review of the act can be found on the website of The Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Treasure Act 1996

What is Treasure?

Although Treasure includes any item found which is over 300 years old and has a content of more than 10% gold or silver other, older items which do not comprise precious metal will be regarded as Treasure.
Coins have to be two or more in number and be found in the same locality at the same time.
Any object which is found in association with Treasure (eg a container or an item obviously placed with the Treasure) will also be regarded as Treasure.

Looking for Treasure

If you use a metal detector then always obtain permission from the landowner before using a metal detector on his/her land. It is a good idea to agree in advance how you will deal with anything you might find on his/her land. Please check with bodies such as English Heritage before using a metal detector on their property. Council owned common land may also be governed by bye-laws. Further information can be obtained from The National Council for Metal Detecting

If you find something...

If you find any ancient artefact (man-made object), take it to your local museum or police station. All Treasure finds must be reported to the Coroner within 14 days. In the first instance please report your find to the Coroner’s Office.  Failure to do so is a criminal offence. The Coroner will contact the relevant body to investigate your find.
You will need to have as much as possible of the following information available when reporting your find:
Your name and contact details:

  • Date of find
  • Location of find (including a map reference if available)
  • Name of land owner

If the find is declared to be Treasure then it may be claimed by the Crown, and if so, the Treasure Valuation Committee will value the find and you will be awarded the full market value of the Treasure.
Click here to access the Information leaflet 'The Treasure Act, Information for finders of treasure in England and Wales'

For further advice about Treasure:

British Museum
Treasure Registrar Tel: 020 7323 8611
Portable Antiquities Scheme Tel: 020 7323 8611 E-mail:

Department for Culture Media & Sport
Cultural Property Unit Treasure section: Tel: 020 7211 6181 Fax: 020 7211 6170

What if the find is not Treasure?
Remember that even if your find does not fit the Treasure criteria it may be of historical importance. It may be that your find can provide additional information about the past to archaeologists / historians. These finds can be recorded voluntarily under the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Last Updated: 22 August 2020