Treasures from the Staffordshire Hoard are to return triumphant to Birmingham after attracting more than 50,000 paying visitors during an exhibition in America.
The four-month show at the National Geographic Centre in Washington, which ended at the weekend, proved a major hit with thousands paying eight dollars a head to view 117 prized items, including the famous folded cross and the helmet cheek piece.
Britain’s largest ever Anglo-Saxon treasure haul was the centre’s second most popular visiting attraction after the Chinese Terracotta Army.
And the US show should swell the coffers of the Hoard restoration and research fund for Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and its equivalent in the Potteries, which own the treasures.
Susan Norton, director of the National Geographic Museum, said: “The discovery, excavation, conservation and scholarship related to the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found is just the sort of story that we love to share with our visitors.”
The Hoard is made up of more than 3,000 pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure, which was found buried in a farmer’s field near Burntwood two years ago.
Birmingham culture chief Coun Martin Mullaney said: “From the very beginning the Hoard has captured the imagination of people across the world, so it’s hardly surprising the Washington exhibition was such a huge hit.
“As we saw when the Hoard went on display here in Birmingham and elsewhere in the Midlands, people are fascinated by this remarkable collection and we’re thrilled so many people went along to see it in Washington.
“We’ve said all along that the Hoard is a global phenomenon and this proves that’s the case.”