Fundraisers have just 10 weeks left to raise £2.7 million to bring Anglo-Saxon gold to Birmingham.
Time is running out for the West Midlands councils campaigning to buy the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest collection of treasure ever found in England.
The British Museum valued the Hoard, discovered buried in a Staffordshire field at £3.3 million.
Birmingham City Council, Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield Council and Tamworth Council want to unite and buy the treasure and keep it on display in their museums in the region. But if they can’t raise the money by April 17, the Hoard could be sold on the open market to the highest bidder and is likely to be lost to the Midlands forever.
At the moment, only £560,000 has been raised, with a further £150,000 pledged from charitable trusts but yet to be confirmed.
Council chiefs insist the £3.3 million can still be raised, although they may ask the British Museum to extend the April 17 deadline.
Almost 40,000 people visited a Hoard exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery last September, many queuing for hours to see scores of hand-crafted items including gold plates, jewellery and Anglo Saxon helmets.
Donations were expected to pick up after television historian Dr David Starkey launched a public fundraising campaign before Christmas.
It has also been backed by celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Time Team TV presenter Tony Robinson and history lecturer Dr Tristram Hunt.
The Art Fund charity, which is leading the campaign, intends to write this month to its 80,000 members asking for help.
Birmingham Council leisure boss Coun Martin Mullaney said the appeal was still on course.
He said: “I would urge anyone who wants to help us keep the Hoard in the Midlands to contribute to the appeal fund, safeguarding this unique collection for generations to come.
“The Art Fund involvement is obviously significant and has hugely raised the profile of the fundraising campaign,” Coun Mullaney added.