Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs
Discovered in the Staffordshire Moorlands, these three gold neck torcs and one bracelet from the Iron Age were declared Treasure earlier this year and have been valued at £325,000. This fabulous gold jewellery, was unearthed by metal detectorists in 2016. The intricate decoration on the bracelet is a rare example of Early Celtic art. The British Museum, which has assessed the torcs, believes that they date to around 400-250Bc and are probably the oldest Iron Age gold found in Britain. They give us a tantalising glimpse of life in North Staffordshire around 2,500 years ago before the arrival of the Romans.
Once the torcs were declared treasure and the national independent Treasure Valuation Committee valued them the race was on to raise the funds to secure the artefacts for the museum and ensure that were not separated and sold to private bidders.
On 19th December 2017 it was announced that the Museum’s fundraising campaign, spearheaded by the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, had reached its target. Donations from members of the public and major support from funding bodies as well as trusts and local businesses have been flooding in since the campaign to save the torcs was launched in September. In early December generous grants of up to £165,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and £80,000 from Art Fund took the total raised to its target. This follows on from a £40,000 grant fund provided by Arts Council England and managed by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and £25,000 from The Headley Trust – one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts – received in November.