A metal detectorist was celebrating today after a 2,000-year-old brooch he unearthed sold for £55,000 at auction.
Van driver Ray Pusey, 64, discovered the Celtic Chieftain’s chariot brooch in a field last year and was initially given a guide price of £7000.
But a bidding war saw the “outstandingly rare” object sell for more than seven times its estimate.
Ray said: “I watched the auction online and wondered if the brooch would just make its reserve, do quite well or do exceptionally well.
“I was really pleased. It was an exceptional result and so exciting to watch.
“The money will be split 50/50 split with the landowner and, when I went round to tell him, he nearly fell over.
“Me and my wife are having a Chinese to celebrate tonight.”
Ray, of Haddenham, Bucks., has been metal detecting for over 30 years.
He discovered the brooch buried 8-10in underground in a field in his home county last October.
Ray considers the find especially lucky he was tempted to stay at home on the day in question.
The brooch would have been used by a Celtic chieftain to attach a blanket to his horse.
It is made from a cast copper-alloy and decorated with red glass.
Expert historian Adam Staples, of Hansons Auctioneers, added: “Horse brooches like this were the fashion statements of the elite.
“Horse and chariot trappings were highly prized possessions.
“The size of this brooch, its prized status and quality make it unlikely to be a casual loss.
“It’s more probable that it was carefully placed in the ground.
“Buckinghamshire, where it was found, was once the territory of the Trinovantes and the Catuvellauni, two of the most powerful and richest tribes in Ancient Britain.”
The brooch was expected to fetch £6000-£8000 when it went under the hammer at a virtual auction on Thursday.
But it smashed its estimate thanks to a huge £55,000 offer from a private UK phone bidder.
Hansons owner Charles Hanson said: “It’s an outstanding and rare artefact, an amazing find and an incredible result.
“Items like this are not only rare, they indicate high status. There are only a handful of known examples from Britain.
“The one we auctioned was exceptional, not only in its size but because of its state of preservation.”