A gold Memento Mori ring dated 1730 which was found last year by detectorist David Nicklin.
Finding the ring
David was out detecting with a friend using his Minelab Equinox 600 on a field in the Vale of Glamorgan in late 2022. The field had been detected many times before but this time it had been deep ploughed for the first time in 40 years.
Searching around the edge of the field, David found a gold ring at a depth of about 3 to 4 inches. At first he thought it was a posy ring but, when his friend noticed that it had a black skeleton, it became apparent that it was a Memento Mori ring.
David recorded the ring with Swansea Museum but, as it is less than 300 years old, it does not qualify as Treasure.
David said: “I have found a few gold rings in the past but nothing like this one. I was over the moon although I didn’t realise its potential value. I hope that the ring sells well as my wife is wanting to buy some new carpets with the proceeds!”
Memento Mori skeletal ring
The ring features a skeleton in black enamel with an arrow pointing downwards between its legs towards the inscription that reads MEMENTO MORI over three lines.
Nigel Mills, Consultant (Coins and Antiquities) at Noonans says “The ring has a coffin shaped rock Crystal inset into the bezel and is dated on the inside 28th Jan 1730 with the name eliz tucker aged 65 and inscribed with Memento Mori which translates as ‘remember thy death’. Worn on the little finger they were a reminder to the wearer to live a life without sin as they will be held accountable in death. This was the height of fashion in the early 18th century.”