Metal detecting woman finds 17th century ring that sells for £17,000

Michelle's ring
Michelle's ring
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A fascinating gold armorial ring, dating from the 17th century, discovered by a Blackpool woman witha metal detector on the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland sold for £17,360 in an auction.

The ring was sold at Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu at Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) in London yesterday (Tueaday). It was expected to fetch in the region of £10,000.

The finder, Michelle Vall from Blackpool, started the hobby of metal detecting just over two years ago, and on a trip to Loch Lomond in Scotland last November, she struck gold with the discovery of a beautiful ring at Ducks Bay, on the shores of the lake.

She declared the ring as Scottish Treasure Trove, but was told that the state did not want to purchase it. Following the sale, she said: “It has been an exciting time from the second I held the ring in the palm of my hand to todays auction.

“To investigate something so precious and full of history with the help of Dix Noonan Webb and the story that has unfolded has been the most amazing experience.”

She continued: “I am hoping the ring has been purchased by someone who is able to display it and so educate people on the tragic story of Edward Colman and his unfortunate execution, so it can be appreciated for the historical Treasure that it is.”

DNW have further researched the ring and discovered that the crest belonged to the Colman family of Brent Eleigh, Suffolk who used the arms shown on the bezel of the ring from 1598 and this ring is thought to date from 1640-80.

The Colman family made their fortune in the mid-16th century from the cloth trade, in the Suffolk town of Lavenham. It is thought to have belonged to Edward Colman, who became a convert to Catholicism and had a reputation as an effective proselytiser of his new faith, gaining a number of converts.

Edward also had high political ambitions for himself, which began in 1661 when he established himself at court acting as a bodyguard to the King. By 1673 Edward had been appointed Secretary to fellow Catholic, Mary of Modena, wife of James, Duke of York, the younger brother and heir presumptive to the Protestant King Charles II. During the end of the 1670s James and Mary had been living in Edinburgh and in 1680 the King made James Commissioner for Scotland.

DNW’s Antiquities specialist, Nigel Mills, noted: “We were very pleased with a strong result at the auction today, the ring selling above top estimate to an American private collector, who was delighted to be the successful bidder.”