Less than a week after the fundraising campaign was launched, the newly-found artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard have been saved for the nation thanks to the generosity of the jewellers Wartski who made the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring.
Today the Court Jewellers Wartski donated the full amount needed – £57,395 – in order to purchase the 81 additional pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure that were found last November in the same Staffordshire field as the initial 3,500-piece collection.
Wartski is a family jewellery business in London. It has a long tradition of research, scholarship and specialist exhibitions. The firm, established in 1865, are jewellers specialising in antique goldsmiths’ work and jewellery with a special emphasis on the work of Carl Fabergé.
Within hours of the announcement of the Anglo-Saxon artefacts’ formal valuation and necessary fundraising campaign Geoffrey Munn, Managing Director of Wartski and specialist on the BBC’s The Antiques Roadshow, came forward on behalf of the Wartski board to make the offer. The generous donation will ensure the entire Staffordshire Hoard – jointly owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council and – will be kept together.
Councillor Paul Shotton, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy council leader, said:
“This is fantastic news and will allow the Hoard to be kept together, which was our main aim when we launched the fundraising campaign.
“People can still donate to the Hoard appeal and all money will go to the development of the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery and the conservation work that is taking place with the Hoard items.
“The new items will be a fantastic addition to the existing Hoard display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and I’m sure the public are just as excited as we are to see them.”
Geoffrey Munn, on behalf of the Wartski board said:
“Both the Chairman of Wartski, Nicholas Snowman, and I are thrilled to have a chance of securing the future of what can only be described as Staffordshire’s Tutankhamun.
“The Hoard is a uniquely important part of England’s heritage, striking at the heart of our national DNA, and consequently its preservation was imperative.”
Simon Cane, Director, Birmingham Museums Trust said:
“This is fantastic news; we are delighted that a prestigious British company such as Wartski has made it possible for us to acquire these unique historic objects for the nation.
“We, along with partners in Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere in the Midlands, look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to marvel at this significant treasure.”
Wartski’s position as sole donors for the new finds will be supported by the generous donations made by members of the public, which go towards covering the costs of conservation, research and display of the Staffordshire Hoard. Donations can be made here: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/donate
Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council continue to work in partnership with Lichfield District Council, Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council to ensure the story of the Staffordshire Hoard is told across the West Midlands region. For more information on visit http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/