A lot of people enjoy gardening as a hobby. There are even folks who get super into it and would spend hours on end to make their yards as beautiful as possible. But it is not every day that you will find a hidden treasure in your own property. The young girl in the story found a coin that dates back to 700 years ago… It was a fascinating find, but not once did she expect that cops would come knocking on the door because of it many years later.
Helping Her Mom
The story begins when Kate Harding had been 9 years old. At the time, the young girl was working in the garden to help her mother. She had been playing in the ground when she noticed something in the dirt. There was an interesting coin there that piqued her attention. After finding it, she went to the house right away!
Like most children, she decided to hide her treasure from her parents. Kate headed for the house and went directly to her room. She cleaned the piece so that she can take a better look at it. Even though she was young, she figured that it must have been there for a long time considering the state that it was in.
Abandoned In Her Dresser Drawer
For a week, she could not keep the coin off her mind. However, this fascination did not last very long. Once she left it in the drawer, she quickly forgot about it. But this was not the last time that she would look at this coin. A few years after this, she would stumble upon it among her things once more.
Brings Her Back
Back then, she hardly gave it a second thought. At any rate, she decided to hold onto it and tucked it away in the drawer. For years, she would forget that it was even there. The next time that she really gave it more thought was when it was time for her to leave for college.
A Sudden Loss
There was a reason she forgot all about it when she was young. Not long after she first found the coin, her mother died. Of course, there were plenty of other things occupying her mind after a tragedy like that. When she found the coin in the drawer many years later, she was reminded of the happy memories she had of her mom.
A Good Memory
When Kate rediscovered the coin, it turned her entire life upside down. She knew that she had to keep the coin on her person no matter what. After all, it was something that reminded her of her late mother. Every time she looked at it, she could not help but remember all the times they spent on the garden together.
She did not know anything about the coin when she first found it. To be fair, she had been very small at the time. Things changed now that she was much older. She was able to carry out her own research about the artifact. All of a sudden, she wanted to know more about it! But was she going to like what she found?
I Need Answers
Kate made up her mind to learn more about the coin when she was 23 years old. She just wanted to know what it was, as well as where it came from. The small piece of metal fascinated her. There were many questions going through her mind, and she was more than determined to answer them all.
Trying To Understand
The day after that, she went to the local museum to enlist the help of experts in this field. She explained how she came about the coin and asked them for more information about it. At the time, she was just interested in learning more about the artifact. She wanted to have a complete understanding of it if possible.
Looking For Answers
Kate walked down the halls of the museum in search of answers to the questions she had. She wanted nothing more than to find out more about her precious treasure. For the longest time, she had been oblivious to its real value. She was still clueless about how much trouble it was going to give her.
After some time, she took out the coin from her bag and showed it to the staff of the museum. They examined it with great interest. The experts looked at it from all possible sides and observed its edges. After the inspection, they had interesting news for her. She was surprised by what they had to tell her!
Kate was surprised to hear that it was not a coin! Ever since she was a child, she assumed that it was one. The truth was that it was something else altogether. She was shocked to hear that her assumptions had been wrong. After all, what else could it be if it were not a form of currency?
No Doubt In Her Mind
When she first found it as a young girl, she was sure that this silver piece of metal was a coin. It piqued her interest, but not once did she think that it was anything other than a coin. The truth, however, was that it was more interesting and valuable than what she originally had in mind.
Not Good News
The truth was that there were only four different artifacts like this one in the entirety of the United Kingdom. It is easy to assume that this is good news, but this is far from the truth. As a matter of fact, it was going to bring Kate chaos as she had never known before in her life.
Not A Coin
But what was it if it were not a coin? The experts from the museum informed her that it might look like a coin from the outside, but it was a piedfort. Indeed, it looked just like a coin, although they are quite different. For one thing, they are typically double in terms of thickness and weight.
An Understandable Mistake
There was nothing unusual about the way she confused this piedfort for a coin. After all, anyone would make the same mistake unless they were an expert. We are sure that you are curious to hear what piedforts are. Not only that, but how did one of these even make it to her backyard in the first place?
A Heap Of Cash
After learning that her treasure was more valuable than she originally thought, she became even more interested in it. Kate thought that it was going to help her get out of her student loans. Was this what she had been waiting for? Maybe it was what she needed to finally stop living from paycheck to paycheck.
As you can imagine, she was nothing but ecstatic to learn of its true value. We are sure that you would also be thrilled to hear that you are in possession of something so valuable. As the one to discover the piedfort, she assumed that she was in the position to profit off it. Was she right about that?
A Great Find
The truth is that experts are not exactly sure what piedforts were used for. They assumed that it was an object used at the mint to give instructions to workers or at reckoning counters for the use of officials. It is clear that these things are very important objects, but no one knows exactly why this is the case.
She Couldn’t Believe It
Even though they were not sure of its function, it is still an ancient object. They estimated that it was 700 years old. After Kate heard the news, she needed to sit down because she got dizzy. Sadly, she probably ended up wishing that she paid even more attention to the words of the experts.
Discovering Its Value
After they inspected the object, they told her that it marked an important event. To be specific, it was a symbol made to commemorate the start of the rule of Charles IV in 1322. As you can imagine, this only made the coin more valuable. It was attached to a significant event in French, after all.
The piedfort in question was believed to be worth $3,000. Even though Kate was already thinking about all the things that she could do with the money, they all paled in comparison to her memories. After all, there was no way to put a price on all the times that she spent in the garden with her late mother.
Forego The Cash
For her, it was even more priceless thanks to the sentimental value that she attached to the coin. She held onto it for the longest time because she felt connected to her late mother with this in her possession. In fact, she would have preferred to keep the coin than to sell it for monetary gain.
On Different Pages
Sadly, life had other plans for Kate. Even though she had a great story to go with it, the British police had not been all that merciful. It turns out that the coin was so valuable and historic that the officials wanted it for themselves. How was Kate going to react to this unexpected turn of events?
A Messy Situation
It came as a complete shock to Kate. At any rate, she did not plan to give in to their demands. But the authorities could not understand why she refused to give up the item. It did not make sense to them. They did not know why she was putting up such a big fight over it when she was getting the money.
The Ludlow Museum urged Kate to inform the local corner about this incredible and rare find. By doing this, they would be able to inspect and appraise it to start the negotiations. As soon as they saw the piedfort, they wanted to purchase it from her! So how did things develop after that moment?
She Didn’t Want To Sell
Sadly, Kate had already made up her mind. She did not plan to sell the piedfort and wanted to keep it with her. At the time, she assumed that they were going to let it go if she simply ignored their request. She clearly had no idea how things were going to escalate after that.
The museum continued to send her requests to acquire the coin. On top of that, they also called her on the regular. Despite their efforts, Kate simply ignored the requests and refused to budge. It was a coin full of sentimental value. There was no way that she was going to part with this reminder of her mother.
Can’t Hide Forever
However, it turned out that the problem was not going to go away by simply ignoring it. After some time, the news reached a man called Anthony Sibcy. He was a coroner at Southern Shropshire. It turned out that there was no way for Kate to escape the people who wanted to acquire the piedfort.
A Terrible Surprise
Not long after that, the authorities came knocking at her door. Someone filed a request, which is why she got a summons. She could not believe this. After all, she could not remember doing anything that would lead to this situation. She had always believed that it belonged to her as the person who found it.
In Too Deep
It turns out that there was a law that she had no idea existed. Who would have guessed that there are laws about historical coins? It did not even occur to her! As you can imagine, she was at a loss for what to do next. She was in too deep by then and needed to look for the nearest exit. Did something like that even exist?
She actually made history as the first person charged under something called the Treasure Act of 1996. Kate had no idea that she would suffer harsh consequences for her innocuous decision. After all, it was not like she tried to do a heinous thing. She just wanted to know more about a relic from her childhood!
The Treasure Act
But what does the Treasure Act of 1996 even say? This law was created by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It states that a person who discovers an object considered to be a treasure needs to get in touch with the authorities to inform them of the discovery. Kate had no idea that such a law existed.
However, there were more rules that she should have been mindful of. The law says that an object that is not a coin and has been in existence for over 300 years with 10 percent special metal should be announced to officials in no more than 14 days. As we all know by now, Kate did not do this.
Kate did not do any of these things. In all fairness to her, she had no idea that the law was in place. Not only that, but she had no idea how valuable the item was for the longest time. Even though she tried to explain her side to the officials, they did not express any remorse for her.
Who Was Right?
She had to be careful because she now knew that her decision was considered to be a criminal offense. What made it even worse was the fact that she did not report the coin after the museum told her to do so. But who was in the wrong and who was right in this situation?
No one saw this coming, least of all Kate. When it exploded in her face, she had no idea what to do. On top of that, she missed the presence of her mom more than she ever had. She needed help and advice, but she was instead arrested and prosecuted. Not once did she think that she would go to jail for this.
In Her Defense
It was a good thing that she found a great lawyer by the name of Brendan Reedy. He was from Shrewsbury and had the experience to get her out of this mess. In the past, he has dealt with the Crown Court, the Court of Appeal, and the authorities. Kate knew that hiring him was her best bet.
On Her Side
He was completely on her side and wanted to do everything he could to defend the young woman in court. It must have been overwhelming and stressful to go through the motions. In the end, it was down to two things. She would either win the case or be forced to turn in the valuable piece of metal.
A Big Headache
In court, her lawyer told everyone that she did not come forward since she kept it hidden in her drawer for years. After all, it always reminded her of her deceased mother. On top of that, she had been a little girl when she first stumbled upon the piedfort. There was no way for her to come forward back then.
Only Time Would Tell
They hoped that this argument was going to be enough to make them reconsider. Was it going to work? It was not like they could do much but to hope for the best. The courts, after all, can be very strict in order to get the result that they want. Only time could tell what was going to happen next.
Gardening With Mom
Kate was candid as she talked about how she failed to report the discovery as soon as she found out about the law. Even though it was not the best course of action, she did not want to let go of it. After all, the special artifact served as one of the few reminders of her late mother that the young woman had in her possession.
It Was Priceless
Despite everything that was at stake, Kate was still determined to hold onto the piedfort. She did not care how rare or valuable it really was. The only thing that mattered to her was the sentimental value that came with it. No one else could understand where she was going from, but it was priceless to her.
She Had Nowhere To Turn
How could anything replace something like that? Her mother was gone, and she did not want to let this coin away from her sight either. They hoped that the charges were going to be dropped, but she knew that they would still want the coin. This was why she had to think long and hard about what to do next.
Speaking To The Coroner
It had been exhausting to go through the trial. Fortunately, they let her go in the end. There was just one condition that she had to follow. She had to pay legal fees of $30. Even though she still felt like she owned the object, she did not have any right to hold onto it.
Still A Surprise
Once the case had been dropped, Kate took responsibility at last. She finally did the thing that she should have done such a long time ago. She talked to the coroner about the matter, but it turned out that there was still a surprise waiting for her. But what could it be this time?
She Lost It
There was an offer for her. The Ludlow Museum, which helped her know more about the piedfort, offered her $3,000 for it. However, none of them expected to hear what she had to say next. Apparently, she lost the treasure. This is the reason the piedfort did not ever make it to the museum.
When people got wind of the story, they could not believe the way that the authorities handled the case. They were shocked to hear about the lack of consideration that they showed poor Kate. “Since when did museums become law enforcers? I too would ignore threatening letters from a bunch of ‘collectors,” one of them even said.
They could not believe that they went as far as to file a lawsuit. The public was angry about how it all went on. How could they do something like that to her? “I’m all for preserving English heritage, but quite rightly this is her property…” a netizen said. We are glad that people supported Kate once the word got out.
Bending The Law
One of the netizens questioned what the law said by asking, “I’m all for preserving English heritage, but quite rightly this is her property…” On the other hand, another person just could not see the logic in it. Why were they asking Kate to surrender something that was rightfully hers in the first place?
A man called Alan also pointed out something important. It might be something that would change the course of the story. He asked, “If the find was in 1996, did it occur before or after the Treasure Act came into force?” This was a very valid point of contention that no one seemed to have brought up just yet.
The truth is that there did not seem to be any way for the prosecuting attorney to prove the date of the discovery. It had been so long ago, so it was practically impossible to determine this. But it was clear that the museum wanted the piece. They have shown us that they were willing to do anything for it!
Alan had other questions in mind. He also asked, “If it took place 14 years ago she was only 9 years old. What was the age of criminal responsibility at the time? For juveniles under the age of 15, the prosecution would still have to prove that she knew that the act was seriously wrong.” Good point!
Alan finished the argument by saying just how appalling and ignorant the court had been towards Kate. He believed that she should file an appeal before a judge. Hopefully, she would be able to have it taken off her criminal record. Who would have guessed that something that small would cause a lot of issues?
No Matter What
Let us talk about the fact that Kate lost the treasure. Some expressed skepticism at it. Could she really have lost it after holding onto it for 14 years? It is hard to believe this when the court had been chasing her for it. We are not sure what really happened, but we know how much she wanted to keep it.
Kate really did not want to let it go. She refused to give it up even though they were offering her a good sum of money. This was a priceless object for her, so we do not blame her if she resorted to unethical means to keep it. The piedfort reminded her of her late mother, and that made it invaluable to her.
Willing To Do Anything
This was probably a difficult position to be in. Who knows what we would have done had we been in her shoes? It was a special item that reminded her of her late mother. Even though it had a lot of historical value, Kate refused to give it up. It was just far too precious to her.
Into Thin Air
Things finally calmed down once she announced that she had lost the coin. The harassment has since stopped. At last, she could breathe again. The museum must have been disappointed by the news. After all, there was now no way for them to acquire the coin since no one knows of its current whereabouts.
Even though Kate had been in the position to gain a huge amount of money, she chose not to give up the coin. There is speculation that she had simply hidden it away somewhere in her house. We do not know what the truth is, but we are sure that she has now earned some peace of mind. Let us hope that the coin will resurface in the future. After everything that had happened, it would be such a huge shame if it has truly disappeared.