The Tudor crown worn by King Henry VIII is one of the most notable pieces of lost treasure in British history. Now, more than 400 years after its disappearance, the crown's $2.7 million gold centerpiece has been unearthed by a metal detectorist in Northamptonshire, England, the Northamptonshire Telegraph reports.
In September 2017, Kevin Duckett was hunting for treasure in a field at the Market Harborough Golf Club when his metal detector picked up something beneath his feet. He only had to dig down a few inches before uncovering the 1.4-inch-tall, 24-carat figurine. Though he couldn't immediately identify the artifact, Duckett knew it dated back to the Tudor period, and he knew it had to be something special.
After years of reaching out to experts and conducting his own research, Duckett was finally able to link the piece to the reign of King Henry VIII. The gold statuette, which depicts Henry VI as a saint, was made for King Henry VIII in the early 16th century. The state crown originally bore figurines of St. George, Jesus Christ, and a young Christ with the Virgin Mary. In light of the Reformation, Henry VIII had these totems removed and replaced with three saint kings: St. Edmund, Edward the Confessor, and Henry VI.
The crown is a precious piece of English history, and for centuries, historians feared it was lost for good. When the monarchy fell in 1649, Oliver Cromwell's anti-royalist parliament melted down many royal treasures to make coins and sold off their jewels. Duckett's discovery confirms that at least one part of King Henry VIII's crown survived. How it ended up in a field near Market Harborough remains a mystery.
The artifact has been handed over to the British Museum, which will further assess its authenticity. The Sun reports that the figure could be worth an estimated $2.7 million, a portion of which may go to Duckett and the owner of the site where it was uncovered.