An exceedingly rare medieval silver gilt seal that was discovered by a metal detector has sold for £1,900 ($3,000).
Prior to the sale, auctioneer John Leatt said: "This seal was discovered in a field in East Keal, Lincolnshire, in the last two years and is extremely rare. We are aware of very few seals of this age that have come onto the market and certainly none that have been in as good condition or quality."
The seal had been identified and authenticated by the British Museum, enhancing its value considerably.
Seals were used during the middle ages as a way to authenticate documents and prevent, or demonstrate, tampering. Preceding the advent of wide spread literacy, seals such as this would have largely been the preserve of the nobility. Seals were also sometimes used by the illiterate as a way to declare consent.
Since the seal in question is fashioned from silver, it can be safely assumed that it belonged to a member of the elite.
The impressive item sold in Lincolnshire on December 19 and was bought by a telephone bidder from the south of England. Probably commissioned at great expense by its original owner, the seal is decorated with the faces of a pair of lovers, with a distinctive plant in bloom between them.
A bird in flight is also apparent, swooping high above the lovers' heads towards the Latin inscription: Ami Ames Leavement, which roughly translates as "love your love loyally".
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