The Knaresborough Iron Age Gold Ring

This gold finger ring, dating to c. 100 BC, was found in Knaresborough in 1994. It was considered as Treasure under the old Treasure Trove law but as it was declared to be a stray find it was not considered to be Treasure. A collector bought it for a few hundred pounds and kept it in his cupboard for three decades before deciding to get it valued this year. He said “It’s jaw-dropping. It’s not quite King Arthur’s ring, but it’s the next thing down

Snettisham Hoard in the British Museum. Photo: British Museum, CC By 2.0

The decoration on the ring is in the Snettisham style V, from the hoard of gold torcs and armbands found in Snettisham, Norfolk in 1948; now on display at the British Museum.

The style of design if linked to the Iceni tribe of East Anglia and it is thought that it may have ended up in Yorkshire as part of a treating between feuding tribes.

The auctioneer says “It is likely the Knaresborough ring was worn by a Corieltauvi chieftain along with a neck torc and armbands as a symbol of his high status. There is no other ring of this style which exists. It’s an incredibly important piece


The hammer price of £36,000 was above the top estimate. Nigel Mills, specialist in ancient jewellery at Noonans, said: “We were delighted with the result of this beautiful ring.

It was bought by a British private collector and Nigel said that the auction house was “so pleased” the item was staying in the UK. He added that the buyer was talking with York Museums Trust about loaning it for public display.

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