The Staffordshire Hoard has been “saved for the nation” after a cash boost from a Government heritage fund ensured it will stay in the West Midlands.
The collection - the largest ever find of Anglo-Saxon gold - was unearthed on farmland in Burntwood, Staffordshire, by metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert last year and later valued at £3.3 million.
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the Government’s fund of last resort for heritage items at risk, pledged £1,285,000.
The grant, added to the amount already raised during a nationwide fundraising drive, means that the hoard can now be purchased and displayed permanently in the UK, probably in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent.
The fundraising drive to ensure the hoard remained in the West Midlands was overseen by The Art Fund, an independent charity.
A spokeswoman said: “The Art Fund is delighted to announce that the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest archaeological Anglo-Saxon find ever unearthed, has been saved for the nation.”
Members of the public donated more than £900,000 towards the appeal, which also received financial support from Birmingham and Stoke city councils.
The campaign had been set a deadline of April 17, meaning it reached its target more than three weeks ahead of schedule.
The Art Fund’s director, Stephen Deuchar, said: “We have been absolutely bowled over by the enthusiasm and fascination the Staffordshire Hoard has sparked amongst the British public, as well as visitors from abroad.
“It is wonderful news that the National Heritage Memorial Fund has enabled the target of £3.3 million to be reached ahead of the deadline, and I hope that this will give the West Midlands a head-start with the next stage in fundraising for the conservation, research and display of the treasure.”
Historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey helped to launch the fundraising campaign in Birmingham on January 13.
Reacting to the announcement, Dr Starkey expressed delight that the treasures would be saved for posterity.
“This is wonderful news for historians worldwide - the Staffordshire Hoard provides us with vital clues to our ancient past, and now we can set about decoding them,” he said.
Martin Mullaney, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “Not only have we managed to raise the necessary £3.3 million to return the hoard to its rightful home a month ahead of schedule, but a staggering £900,000 of this has been raised by personal donations.
“I have been overwhelmed by the public response and can’t thank enough everyone who has given and supported our campaign in helping us bringing the hoard home.”
More than 100,000 people have so far viewed items from the hoard, which have been on display in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and at the British Museum.