Treasure Annual Report 2003

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The cover of the 2003 reportThis is the sixth Annual Report to Parliament on the operation of the Treasure Act 1996. Like its predecessors, it lists all the finds that were reported as potential treasure to the British Museum, the National Museums & Galleries of Wales and the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland.

The number of finds being reported as Treasure is continuing to increase rapidly. In 2001 there were 214 cases, while this Report contains details of 427 new cases reported during 2003. Of these cases, 200 new Treasure finds have been, or are being, acquired by museums across the country. This increase is largely due to the expansion of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in 2003, when 21 new Finds Liaison Officers were appointed across the country. FLOs play a crucial role in the effective operation of the Act, encouraging finders to report their finds and guiding them through the Treasure process.

This Report contains an analysis which shows that the average number of Treasure finds from those areas where FLOs were newly appointed in 2003 increased by a factor of 3.7, whereas elsewhere the average rate of increase was by a factor of only 1.8. I am delighted that, as part of the Spending Review 2004, my department was able to announce full funding for the Portable Antiquities Scheme from March 2006, when the current period of Heritage Lottery Funding ends, for the forseeable future.

Metal detectorists found 92 per cent of Treasure cases in this report and, like my predecessors, I would like thank them and draw attention to the positive outcome of their contribution. As a result of their participation, museums throughout the country can offer a wider selection of Treasure to the viewing public and therefore promote interest in local history and national heritage. Furthermore, I wish to commend the generosity and kindness of finders and landowners who were willing to forgo their claim to a reward to allow museums and public collections to acquire finds without payment.

I would also like to pay tribute to the contribution that the staff of the British Museum and the National Museums & Galleries of Wales have made to the Treasure process as their workload continues to increase.

The Coroners’ Service has a central role in the Treasure system and we continue to appreciate the part played by all coroners and, in particular, Victor Round, H M Coroner for Worcestershire, and Secretary of the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales. 

I am particularly grateful to the Treasure Valuation Committee and its panel of expert advisers for their work. Last year the Committee, which provides Ministers with independent advice on the valuation of Treasure finds that museums wish to acquire, dealt with 218 new cases. I am indebted to the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Norman Palmer, and to its members, Mr Trevor Austin, Mr Thomas Curtis, Dr Arthur MacGregor, Dr Jack Ogden and Ms May Sinclair for the very careful consideration they have given to these and all the other cases that have come before them.

I would also like to pay tribute to the members of the panel of expert advisers from whom the Committee commissions provisional valuations: Mr Michael Sharp of Dix Noonan Webb, Mr James Ede of Charles Ede Ltd, Mr Tom Eden of Morton and Eden, Ms Elizabeth Mitchell of Sotheby’s, Ms Joanna van der Lande of Bonham’s, Ms Susan Hadida of Faustus Ancient Art, Ms Mary Fielden, Mr Peter Clayton of Seaby’s and Mr Richard Falkiner. Their expertise is a vital part of the valuation process.

Funding bodies play an essential role in supporting the acquisition of Treasure finds by museums, particularly the Art Fund, V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund, and the recently-established Headley Museums Treasure Acquisition Scheme (www.headleytreasures.org.uk), which operates in conjunction with the Purchase Grant Fund. I am delighted that the Trustees of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts have decided to continue the Headley Museums Treasure Acquisition Scheme. It is gratifying that 17 of the finds listed in this Report were purchased with the Scheme’s assistance.

Lastly, I would like to thank the 65 contributors for their entries in this Report as well as the editors, especially Dr Anna Gannon. Besides fulfilling a statutory obligation, these Annual Reports are becoming an ever-more important record of Treasure finds. 

David Lammy Minister for Culture November 2004
 

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