National & International Town

18th-century PM’s gold seal ring found near Aylesbury field

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A gold seal ring, formerly belonging to a UK Prime Minister, was discovered in a field near Aylesbury by a metal-detectorist. Since its discovery, the gold ring has fetched £9,500 at an auction held yesterday (11 June).

Experts identified the ring as belonging to George Grenville, who was British Prime Minister between 1763-65. London-based auction company Noonans Mayfair, specializing in luxury items, sold the ring yesterday. It was estimated to fetch up to £8,000 but was bought for £1,500 more by a buyer from the USA.

The 18th-century ring was discovered in May of last year by Tom Clark, 85, in a pasture field for sheep near Aylesbury. At a depth of 10 inches, he found what looked to be a Medieval gold seal ring. Reading the name around the edge, he saw the name ‘Grenvil’ and immediately recognized it as one of the ancestral surnames of the nearby manor house.

Tom, who used to manufacture leather crafts, said: “I didn’t watch the sale as I was out metal-detecting, I only stopped as it began to rain! I am very pleased with the result, which is fantastic. I would like to put the money in my bank account, but I am sure that my wife will have ideas of how to spend it!”

Experts believe the ring was passed down from the former PM to his second son, also named George, as the find spot is close to the son’s residence near Aylesbury. Evidence of re-engraving was also uncovered on inspection.

Nigel Mills, Artefact and Coin expert at Noonans, added: “Just as the country focuses on who will be the next Prime Minister, we are pleased to be looking back to who was in power 260 years ago. The ring dates from the 18th century and originally belonged to George Grenville, who was Prime Minister from April 1763 for just over two years.

He introduced the Sugar Act, Currency Act, and Stamp Act in an attempt to increase revenue in the American colonies and lessen Britain’s mounting debt. The colonies fiercely opposed these new regulations, particularly the Stamp Act, and organised demonstrations against them, which led to George III removing Grenville.

The landowner will receive half of the proceeds.

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