By Adam Dutton

A lucky gardener is raking it in after digging up an ancient Greek coin while weeding and finding a rare Ming-style vase in his mom’s attic.

The 25-year-old was clearing out his mom’s loft ahead of a move and came across what he thought was an old bronze vase.

It turned out his late dad bought the Ming-style antique years earlier and last month it sold for £1,450 ($1,739) at auction – more than twice the expected guide price of £500-£700 ($599-$839).

The green-fingered seller is now looking forward to coining it in again after he discovered a silver tetradrachm from ancient Greece in his garden.

(L-R) The late Ming-style vessel, found in a Herfordshire loft, sold for £1,450 at auction and the tetradrachm from Ancient Greece was dug up in a garden in Northamptonshire. HANSONS/SWNS

He was weeding his lawn when he spotted the coin glinting in the sunlight. He kept the coin in a drawer for two years and only remembered it when he found the vase at his mom’s home.

The seller, who has not been named, took both his discoveries to experts who revealed their true value. He said: “I had no idea if the vase was worth anything but decided to put it on eBay. It immediately sparked a huge bid from China so I thought I better get it checked out by experts and contacted Hansons Auctioneers.

“I thought it was some sort of vase when I found it. It must have belonged to my dad.

This late Ming-style vessel, found in a Herfordshire loft, sold for £1,450 at auction. HANSONS/SWNS

“He passed away about five years ago but he liked to collect antiques. I arranged to take it along to their Derbyshire headquarters, which is a two-hour journey from my home in Baldock, and, at the last minute, decided to take another find too.

“I dug it up it couple of years ago but had no idea if it was worth anything. I was weeding the garden, which at the time was in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire [England]. I was turning over the turf and saw something glinting in the summer sunshine.

“I picked it up and it was an old silver coin. The earth was really dry so wasn’t covered in mud. I put it in my pocket and, later, stuck it away in a drawer.

“I forgot about it but, as I was going to Hansons, I suddenly thought I might as well take it along. I am glad I did. When I showed it to Charles Hanson he was amazed.”

Charles said: “I was staggered. This large silver coin originated from Ancient Greece.

“It’s known as a tetradrachm and this example would have been minted during the reign of Alexander the Great in circa 336-323 BC. The tetradrachm was nominally equivalent to four drachmae.

“Over time it effectively became the standard coin of the Antiquity, spreading well beyond the borders of the Greek World. Due to their often high artistic level tetradrachms are keenly collected today, and well-preserved or rare specimens can achieve strong prices.

The tetradrachm from Ancient Greece was dug up in a garden in Northamptonshire. HANSONS/SWNS

“The coin found by our client depicts Alexander the Great and the guise of Hercules while the reverse shows Zeus seated. In its day this coin could have brought luxuries such as jewelry, horses or weapons. It was worth four times a man’s daily wage.”

The coin is expected to fetch between £200-£300 ($239-$359) when it goes under the hammer on March 8. On January 28 the vase, which was identified as a late Ming-style archaic ring-handled vessel decorated with a clawed dragon, sold for £1,450.

Charles added: “Our client’s father left his family a rather wonderful gift.

“It was an impressive result for a forgotten attic treasure.”


Produced in association with SWNS Talker.

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