Take a look at the latest Christie’s catalogue, the Roman Cavalryman’s helmet pictured on the cover was found by a metal detectorist in Crosby Garrett, Cumbria in May 2010 and was recorded by the Finds Liaison Officer at Tullie House Museum.
The helmet dates from the late first to second centuries AD, is made from tinned bronze and is 16 inches high. Christies have placed an estimate of £200,000-£300,000 on the helmet, which seems, to me at least, to be a very conservative estimate on such a large and significant piece of Roman military equipment. I would be very surprised if the auctioneer’s hammer came down at anything less than half a million pounds.
My major concern about this incredible metal detecting find is who will buy it? Does the Tullie House Museum have the cash to buy this incredible piece of Roman military history? Is the British Museum waiting in the wings for auction day to rush in and save it for the nation? After all of the post credit crunch cut backs, does the British Museum even have the money in reserve to buy it? The sale takes place on Thursday 7 October 2010, so time is short, if there isn’t a rescue plan in place is there time to organise one?
My biggest fear is that the Crosby Garrett Helmet is destined to leave our shores forever. Could the helmet go to the US, Japan or who knows where else? Surely any attempt to export the helmet would be blocked?
I would love to see the Crosby Garrett Helmet go to the Tullie House Museum, but if not to Tullie House, then the British Museum would be the next best thing. I just hope the helmet stays in this country and that the helmet ends up somewhere the general public can go and see it.
Is the Crosby Garrett Helmet the best metal detecting find ever? It may well be. I have certainly added stunning Roman Cavalryman’s helmet to my “must find” list!
There are more pictures and information about the helmet in the online edition of the Christies catalogue on pages 118-123 (pages 116-121 of the print version)