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The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Idle Technology

Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-that-glitters dept.
Instead of bottle caps and ridicule from his peers, 3-year-old James Hyatt found a locket worth millions with his metal detector. James and his dad found the gold locket last May in Essex. Since then the 500-year-old treasure has been appraised at around £2.5million. From the article: "James’s father Jason, 34, said: ‘My son is one of the luckiest people ever. If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.’"

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Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector

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  • Lucky (Score:5, Funny)

    by Squiddie (1942230) on Monday November 22, 2010 @02:46PM (#34308764)
    I wish I had found stuff like this with my metal detector. Instead I was always that weird kid with the metal detector.
    • by Pojut (1027544)

      If you found a buried metal detector with a metal detector...would the universe implode?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by robot256 (1635039)

        If you found a buried metal detector with a metal detector...would the universe implode?

        No...but then he'd have one for each hand! Double the nerdiness!

      • by camperslo (704715)

        If you found a buried metal detector with a metal detector...would the universe implode?

        The buried metal detector would have also found you. You and the owner of the other detector would then become each others' slaves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nick Number (447026)

        If you found a buried metal detector with a metal detector...would the universe implode?

        Don't worry; for that you need a metal detector detector, AKA a meta-detector.

    • Re:Lucky (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zedrick (764028) on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:44PM (#34309448)
      Weird kid? When I was in school, EVERYBODY wanted a metal detector. Nobody owned one though (partly because they were very expensive back then, partly because of legal reasons), but I imagine that if somebody did, he would have been considered the coolest kid in school.

      I finally got my first metal detector about 5 years ago, and at least here (Sweden) it's not considered nerdy - when I go metal detecting on the beach I get lots of nice curious girls coming up to ask questions and try it. Seriously.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by loom_weaver (527816)

        I was the lucky kid to purchase my first metal detector, a basic Micronta version, from Radio Shack back in grade 6.

        As I proudly searched the sand by the monkey bars I was the star of the playground pack. After several minutes of searching we hit the jackpot--we found a penny woohoo! Then two seconds later, another kid on the other side of the sandbox looked down and exclaimed, 'Hey look, I found a nickel!'.

        Bah.

        • by King_TJ (85913)

          Heh.... I remember one of the kids I hung out with in grade-school had one of those Radio Shack metal detectors too. (I think it was the low-end orange plastic-handled model that just emitted various pitched tones to tell you how close you were to an object, vs. having any kind of actual meter on it.) We tried to go in to the local Dairy Queen, carrying the detector with us, to buy ice cream and drinks, and got kicked out because the manager was afraid of the device!

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday November 22, 2010 @02:47PM (#34308784) Homepage Journal

    That 3 year old will now grow up KNOWING that there is actual buried treasure just under the surface... man, he'll think anything is possible if you just get the right tools and go do it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anrego (830717) *

      A child with hope and enthusiasm and the belief that anything is possible.. oh man this can't be good :(

      All kidding aside.. yeah.. I hope the "wow anything is possible" aspect of this takes precidence and he does something awesome for humanity. The other side is that he can probably live off that without doing anything for the rest of his life (assuming his parents give it to him).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anne_Nonymous (313852)

        >> A child with hope and enthusiasm and the belief that anything is possible

        Don't worry, shortly the traumas adolescence will crush his spirit.

        • a) he's getting his nerdy phase over with early. Metal detecting probably won't be an issue.
          b) He'll show up his first day of highschool in a Porsche, I'm sure he'll do fine.

          • by VJ42 (860241) *

            b) He'll show up his first day of highschool in a Porsche, I'm sure he'll do fine.

            "Highschool" equivalent here in the UK is from ages 11-16 and you can't get a provisional license until age 17, most people (I know, anyway) don't bother actually learning to drive until at least Uni (age 19\20 onwards), so he might show up at college(17-18) in a Porche, but certainly not High school (or secondary school as we call it).

      • by Darinbob (1142669)
        Since he's British, I suspect he isn't thinking that he can grow up to be president of the US.
    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      You may be on to something. We make our own luck, and maybe it's his curiosity that provides opportunities that work out well for him. As long as he's careful to avoid the fate of the curious cat, his approach might have some merit.

  • I say we do this sitcom style!

    Give it to the kid right now.. in cash. Let him spend it on whatever he wants under some weird circumstances where no adult is in a position to stop him! By the end he'll have learnt a valuable lesson about life or something heart warming like that! People still go for the whole coming-of-age personal growth thing right... RIGHT??!!??!!

    I just hope they don't turn this into a damn reality TV show...

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      What? The results of the kid's fallout or a reality metal detecting show? I can see it now... "Metal Detecting WARS" !!@!@121!!@ Next on TLC. (Right after Storage Unit Wars... I'm not kidding, I saw a commercial for the thing recently.)
  • IASPAR (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday November 22, 2010 @02:49PM (#34308810)
    "James was so excited when he realised he had found real treasure. Dad was blown away."

    Right after that, James and his dad joined together in a happy little jig and sung "I've got a golden locket!" over and over and over...
  • Treasure Act of 1996 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Monday November 22, 2010 @02:57PM (#34308894) Journal

    Under the British Treasure Act of 1996, such a find like this belongs to the Crown. However, the boy may be compensated as a reward by the Secretary of State.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/24/section/10 [legislation.gov.uk]

    Section 4 of the Treasure Act

    (1)When treasure is found, it vests, subject to prior interests and rights—

    (a)in the franchisee, if there is one;

    (b)otherwise, in the Crown.

    • http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/24/contents [legislation.gov.uk]

      Whoops, here's the proper link. The other was just section 10 of the Treasure Act.

      • by ClintJCL (264898)
        But what is the legal definition of treasure?
        • Re:Correct Link (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:20PM (#34309190) Journal

          It is defined in the first section of the law:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/24/section/1 [legislation.gov.uk]

          Meaning of 'Treasure'

          (1)Treasure is—

          (a)any object at least 300 years old when found which—

          (i)is not a coin but has metallic content of which at least 10 per cent by weight is precious metal;

          (ii)when found, is one of at least two coins in the same find which are at least 300 years old at that time and have that percentage of precious metal; or

          (iii)when found, is one of at least ten coins in the same find which are at least 300 years old at that time;

          (b)any object at least 200 years old when found which belongs to a class designated under section 2(1);

          (c)any object which would have been treasure trove if found before the commencement of section 4;

          (d)any object which, when found, is part of the same find as—

          (i)an object within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) found at the same time or earlier; or

          (ii)an object found earlier which would be within paragraph (a) or (b) if it had been found at the same time.

          (2)Treasure does not include objects which are—

          (a)unworked natural objects, or

          (b)minerals as extracted from a natural deposit,

          or which belong to a class designated under section 2(2).

          The object found was at least 300 years old and "(i)is not a coin but has metallic content of which at least 10 per cent by weight is precious metal;". Thus, it will likely fall under the definition found in the statute.

          • by ClintJCL (264898)
            Man. That's weak. Finders keepers!
            • by xaxa (988988)

              The intention is that treasure (as defined, i.e. the historical and cultural artefacts of the UK), can go in a museum to be appreciated by everyone rather than some rich guy's pocket.

              (The British Museum is free to visit, and a must-see if you're ever in London.)

              • by ClintJCL (264898)
                Yes, because now of course, the rich will just hand it over, rather than use the lucrative black market. And the tax-writeoff benefit doesn't exist either. It's a bit like posting a sign outside a bank that says "no bank robbers". All this really does is remove the legitimate route for people to donate to the museum, and remove the incentive for treasure hunting. The actual rich guy who's pocket something like this would sit in -- if he's the type to not donate it -- certainly isn't going to follow the law
              • by ClintJCL (264898)
                Basically, if I were this kid, and aware of the law, I would melt it down and just sell it as gold. Only because of the law. Otherwise, I would sell it intact.
                • by xaxa (988988)

                  That would be stupid and selfish, it's certainly worth a lot less as gold than as the object (culturally and economically). The boy is forced to sell it, not forced to give it away. £1.25 million (the boy's share, as it wasn't his land) still looks like a good incentive to me.

                  (If it were solid, which it isn't, it would weigh 120g and have a scrap value of £1000-£3000 depending on purity.)

                  • by ClintJCL (264898)
                    I got a news flash for ya - most people aren't looking for things with metal detectors out of selfless reasons. So he's forced to sell it? That's a bit more reasonable, but still quite statist and authoritarian.
                    • by xaxa (988988)

                      Are you suggesting £1.25 million isn't sufficient incentive? Remember this is only for "treasure", i.e. old objects with sufficient precious metal content. You can do what you like with things less than 300 years old -- perhaps that figure explains our difference in attitudes. It's also only for things of national cultural significance, if there are already several in museums it's less likely to be declared treasure.

                    • by drsquare (530038)

                      Property law by definition is statist and authoritarian.

                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      The statute didn't appear to have this wiggle room you speak of. I am curious where you got the 1.25M from though -- the statute doesn't specify a specific reward. Why can't they just say, "You're reward is 1$." [No, I'm not gonna figure out how to make a pound symbol :)]

                      Without a reward, I'd take the surefire legal, tax-declarable method of melting it down. Or I'd sell it on the black market. I'd never just give away gold that I found (i.e. if it was required to be repossed by The Crown and I got nothing

                    • by xaxa (988988)

                      This isn't "every old trinket", that's the whole point, and nothing is magically property anyway -- we decide collectively what is or isn't property.

                      Most museums allow photography in most places, except flash is sometimes banned.

                      I'm going to stop arguing though, you're clearly determinedly anti-government regardless of what the government has done.

                      The majority of British people will support this decision, including (judging by the ones I've met, and a quick look at a forum) metal detectors.

                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      Of course. Tyranny of the majority: There are more people without treasure than with, therefore we petition our government to steal it from those who find it, and redistribute it to everyone. I believe in socialism with universal health care, roads, and lots of other things, but not being able to own something I found myself is b.s.

                      The majority of people have believed in a lot of things, and it's often been the wrong thing. I mean, this is the country that invaded most of the world ;)

                    • by VJ42 (860241) *

                      but not being able to own something I found myself is b.s.

                      He found it on someone else's land. Why should it belong to him & not the land owner? This law solves that problem by saying that it belongs to the state and he & the land owner have to split the proceeds of the reward (it's sale). It's far better than protracted civil action between the two parties whilst preserving the cultural heritage of the nation. It seems like a win-win situation to me, no pointless court cases & all parties are rewarded. What's the problem?

                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      That doesn't seem to be what the statute pasted a few messages above said, which is what I was responding to.
                    • by VJ42 (860241) *

                      That doesn't seem to be what the statute pasted a few messages above said, which is what I was responding to.

                      The way it works in practice is that anything found and declared "treasure" (i.e. old enough or otherwise culturally significant) is automatically the property of the crown, in return the crown usually gives a reward split between the finder and the land owner, the value of the reward is usually the price they get at sale from a museum or similar institution. As I said, if not for this law there would either be countless civil cases about who gets the treasure and\or reward or the crown would take it withou

                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      It seems that way. But I have to wonder if, pre- that act, the law tilted a certain way. For example, if it was always the property of the owner of the land it was found on, then this law steals half their profit away in the name of compromise. If it was always the property of the person who found it, then this law steals half their profit away. Minus lawyer fees, of course. :) Compromise is cool and all, but I don't want to compromise on my half of the booty. Nobody does.
                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      Without property law, every property owner in the country would be subject to banditry and anarchy. Something that gives freedom and rights to people at large doesn't strike me as exclusively statist. Eminent domain is statist and authoritarian. Property law is for the people. Indeed, the right to own property used to be something only for aristocracy, before people revolted and gained these rights.
                    • by VJ42 (860241) *

                      It seems that way. But I have to wonder if, pre- that act, the law tilted a certain way. For example, if it was always the property of the owner of the land it was found on, then this law steals half their profit away in the name of compromise. If it was always the property of the person who found it, then this law steals half their profit away. Minus lawyer fees, of course. :) Compromise is cool and all, but I don't want to compromise on my half of the booty. Nobody does.

                      Totally understandable, however if all of it was the property of the land-owner, there would be no reason for people to hunt for treasure and you would have got zero because the guy with the metal detector didn't search your land. He needs an incentive too.
                      You could make the argument that the metal detector people should all draw up contracts with all the individual land owners but what land owner would want to pay for a lawyer to draw up or check a contract every time some nutter with a metal detector wa

          • Not a good world for pirates these days, I'm afraid.

            All this legislation crap would take all of the fun out of it. You wouldn't have '15 men on dead man's chest', you'd have a dozen lawyers. Just not the same.
        • by Menkhaf (627996)

          "Professor, what's another word for 'pirate treasure'?" "Well, I think it's booty. Booty, booty, that's what it is.

          FTFY

    • Constitutional monarchy, for the loss.
    • by Joe Snipe (224958) on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:11PM (#34309062) Homepage Journal

      I like how you brits make your laws rhyme:


      (1)When treasure is found it vests;
      subject to prior rights and interests --

      (a)if there is one in the franchisee,

      (b)otherwise, to her Majesty!.

      • I like how you Brits live in a country where such finds are possible. Here in the States if we're lucky we might find an arrow head. Worth a few bucks, MAYBE.
        • by Machtyn (759119)
          Yeah, I think meteorite hunting or beach combing for rings is more profitable, if possible. If you get REALLY lucky, you might find some coins washed up from a 1600's boat wreck.

          My one time search in FL this year netted me a penny, a dime, and a toy among the normal trash.
        • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:52PM (#34309556) Journal

          Well if you're looking along the coast like they probably were in England, you have a chance of finding something of value. You may not find something 500 years old, but perhaps 300 or so from when the first settlers came across.

          Canada got kind of lucky in that there are actual Viking remnants along our Eastern Coast. I think that's impressive. It also suggests something odd that they never made the return trip, otherwise you think the Western world might have known about the Americas if the Scandinavians already knew about it. (So Christopher Columbus might have known something was there). To put it in a historical perspective - L'Anse Aux Meadows (which is the only entirely confirmed Norse Settlement in Canada) - is expected to have been settled around 1003 AD. That's 63 years before the battle of Hastings - which is considered by many to be the most influential battle in the history of England. To think - one of the reasons the Anglo-Saxons lost the Battle of Hastings was because just weeks prior they were fighting the Vikings at the Battle of Fulford. Were they aware of the New World at that point? Would they have bothered trying to Conquer England if they had known they could have settled this entire continent? Seems like one of those focal hinging points in history to me.

          I think I got a bit off track there - anyways, there should be plenty of shipwrecks along the coast to find things. You might be able to find some stuff from the WW2 era - I hear a bit of sea battles actually took place along the US Coast.

          • "- I hear a bit of sea battles actually took place along the US Coast."

            Uh, you're kidding, right? The only hit on US soil since 1814 was Pearl Harbor, and Hawaii wasn't a state then, and of course 9/11 10 years ago. At best a Japanese sub MAY have sneaked into San Francisco harbor or Puget Sound during the war.

    • by istartedi (132515)

      At current exchange rates, 2.5 million pounds is about $4 million.

      With that much money on the line, I would consider the possibility of flagrantly violating the law, and moving someplace nice that will legally protect me in exchange for a smaller tax.

      Of course, he's not a corporation so the other sovereigns will probably just tell him to piss off; but it's worth researching.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Sonny Yatsen (603655) *

        And the boy will also live in the forest with a band of merry toddlers who may accost the rich and give to the poor.

      • At current exchange rates, 2.5 million pounds is about $4 million.

        With that much money on the line, I would consider the possibility of flagrantly violating the law, and moving someplace nice that will legally protect me in exchange for a smaller tax.

        He should have called it a "old family heirloom" and not a "treasure find". But then governments being what they are, they'd probably ask for back inheritance taxes for 10 generations.

      • by itwerx (165526)

        "For all intensive purposes"

        Completely OT, but had to chuckle at the grammar-nazi-bait sig. :)

    • by g1zmo (315166) on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:17PM (#34309156) Homepage

      FTFA:

      The reliquary has been declared treasure trove at an inquest, meaning the proceeds of its sale will be shared between James’s family and the landowner.

    • by magarity (164372)

      Note that while this particular piece was ruled a treasure, this isn't automatic. It depends on how rare of an artifact it one finds. This is apparently a specialty religious item. If it were a a more plain medallion then it might not be ruled a treasure even if it was gold and the same age.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      The hell with that, they should grab that locker and skip the country.

  • Not so crazy now, is it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RapmasterT (787426)

      Not so crazy now, is it?

      I used to work right on Waikiki beach, and every morning I'd see these old guys out there with their thousand+ dollar detectors and sifters.

      every time I'd ask on of these guys what they find, they'd say "keys...lots and lots of keys".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Stray7Xi (698337)

        Bah first rule of digging up pirate treasure is that you don't tell people you just found pirate treasure. Just be glad you didn't know the truth or they would have had to run you through with a cutlass (which they also found).

  • He found a locket with his metal detector?

    Wow. Mrs. Metal Detector is gonna be some pissed!
  • by Teun (17872) on Monday November 22, 2010 @04:23PM (#34309910) Homepage
    When looking carefully at the photo I would say some of the larger elements of the flowers left and right of the cross seem to have been made with a rotary engraving tool, not necessarily a tool I'd associate with 500 years ago...
    • When looking carefully at the photo I seemed to see the lovechild of Jamie Oliver and Ricky Gervais on the left, and a small version of Richard Hammond on the right.

      Well... I say "small", but...

    • You're right! It's been photoshopped! Just like that sword in xkcd!

  • If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.

    They sure keep their choirs in strange places in the UK.

  • What the locket was doing with a metal detector, I'll never know

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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