Last ditch effort to save unearthed Roman helmet for Cumbria and the UK

A campaign to save the extraordinary Crosby Garrett helmet, which was turned up by a metal detector in May this year in the Cumbrian hamlet, for the UK public is in a race against time to compete in the Christie's auction in which it will be sold.

Now, the Tullie House museum in Carlisle has received a significant boost as a businessman has pledged £50,000 to assist with the bid to add to the £30,000 raised so far from the public.

However the piece, one of three ever found in Britain, has been valued at £200,000-300,000, so further donations will be needed - especially as many think that listing is conservative.



As we reported, the 2,000-year-old bronze helmet includes a full face mask and an unusual Griffin crest on its peak. A cavalry parade helmet, it was not intended for military use and would have been worn for hippika gymnasia, (cavalry sports events). It is extremely intricate, well-preserved and rare.

Back in March 2010, the most valuable Anglo-Saxon treasure ever unearthed on UK soil, discovered by a metal detector, was successfully saved through a campaign to raise £3.3 million based around a £300,000 Art Fund grant and fronted by David Starkey.

However, whilst British law places constraints on the open sale of 'treasure' found in the ground, the laws do not affect the anonymous finder of the helmet, as it is primarily made from bronze and does not contain significant amounts of either silver or gold.

Christie's antique auction, which is 'headed' by the Roman helmet, will take place on October 7.



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