Artefacts dug up on the same site as the Staffordshire Hoard have been saved for the nation after an appeal gained a donation from the same jewellers who made the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring.
The court jewellers Wartski donated the full amount needed – £57,395 – in order to purchase the 81 additional pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure that were found last November.
It will now join the rest of the 3,500-piece display, which is jointly owned by Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent’s local authorities.
The councils had made an appeal for help to buy the pieces last week, and within hours Geoffrey Munn, Managing Director of Wartski and specialist on the BBC’s The Antiques Roadshow, contacted Birmingham City Council’s leader, Sir Albert Bore, on behalf of the Wartski board to make the offer.
Simon Cane, director of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: ‘This is fantastic news; we are delighted that a prestigious British company such as Wartski has made it possible for us to acquire these unique historic objects for the nation.
“We, along with partners in Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere in the Midlands, look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to marvel at this significant treasure.”
The donation will ensure the entire Staffordshire Hoard, which was found in a field near Lichfield, will be kept together.
Mr Munn said: “Both the chairman of Wartski, Nicholas Snowman, and I are thrilled to have a chance of securing the future of what can only be described as Staffordshire’s Tutankhamun.
“The Hoard is a uniquely important part of England’s heritage, striking at the heart of our national DNA, and consequently its preservation was imperative.”
Wartski is a family jewellery business in London. It has a long tradition of research, scholarship and specialist exhibitions. The firm, established in 1865, specialise in antique goldsmiths’ work and jewellery with a special emphasis on the work of Carl Fabergé.
Coun Paul Shotton, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader, said: “This is fantastic news and will allow the Hoard to be kept together, which was our main aim when we launched the fundraising campaign.
“People can still donate to the Hoard appeal and all money will go to the development of the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery and the conservation work that is taking place with the Hoard items.”
Wartski’s position as sole donors for the new finds will be supported by the generous donations made by members of the public, which go towards covering the costs of conservation, research and display of the Staffordshire Hoard.
Donations can be made here: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/donate