Wednesday 13 December, 2017
Going for Gold
The Goldsmiths’ Company and its affiliated Charity are delighted to pledge £10,000 to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery’s appeal to acquire the Leekfrith Torcs, believed to be the earliest example of Iron Age gold ever discovered in Britain.
The four intricate pieces of ancient jewellery were valued at £325,000 by the government’s Treasure Valuation Committee, sparking a three-month countdown to raise the money so that they can be put on public display at the Potteries Museums and Art Gallery, near where they found.
The Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery are leading the campaign to save the torcs and now have until 5 January 2018 to raise the remaining sum. If the valuation price is not met, the torcs could be separated out and sold to private bidders.
Chairman of the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Ian Lawley said: “We are thrilled to receive such a generous donation from the Goldsmiths’ Company. To gain the support of such a prestigious and ancient Livery Company means a great deal, and indicates the national importance of these rare and beautiful objects. We would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to the Goldsmiths for helping us to ‘go for gold’”.
“We still have a way to go to meet our target and we hope that this will encourage others to step forward to help save these unique examples of our cultural heritage for the people of North Staffordshire.”
When the torcs were unveiled for the first time at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in February they attracted 21,000 visitors in just one month. They were recently featured in BBC4’s Digging for Britain and received a further boost when Prince Charles visited the museum in November and asked specifically to see them.
The Goldsmiths’ Company’s donation takes the total raised so far to just over £95,000, which includes donations from members of the public and local businesses. Other fundraising bodies will be meeting later this month to consider applications made for further grants, which will hopefully take the total raised to its £325,000 target.
Update: On 19 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.