TREASURE hunters across Britain could have a new hotspot to search – after a gold ring discovered near Loch Lomond sold for £14,000 at an auction.
Michelle Vall discovered the 17th-century item on the shore at Duck Bay in January.
Experts think the ring may once have belonged to Edward Colman, a courtier of the future James II of England (James VII of Scotland).
It went under the hammer in London on Tuesday after the National Museum of Scotland declined the chance to buy it.
The ring was expected to raise about £10,000, but the winning bid was £14,000.
The new owner, a private collector from the US, will pay a total of £17,360, which includes the buyer’s premium.
The ring bears the crest of a family named Colman and dates from between 1640 and 1680.
Its original bearer, from Suffolk, worked for the future king while he was living in Edinburgh before taking the throne.
Ms Vall said: “I am extremely happy.
“It has been an exciting time from the second I held the ring in the palm of my hand to today’s auction.
“To investigate something so precious and full of history has been the most amazing experience.
“Hopefully it’s gone to a place where it might be displayed for others to see and to educate people on the tragic story of Edward Colman and his unfortunate execution, so it can be appreciated for the historical treasure that it is.”
Ms Vall took up her metal-detecting hobby two years ago to deal with panic attacks that left her confined to her home.
She was on a trip to Scotland with her husband and they had brought their metal detectors with them.
She said: “Uncovering the ring was an unforeseen event as myself and my husband were detecting on a field with no particular history of finds in the area.
“We were enjoying the peace and relaxation of our wonderful hobby, finding the usual ring pulls, tractor pieces and miscellaneous metal objects.
“So when I unearthed the ring, which was close to the surface, I knew straight away that it was something special.
“It shone with a distinct bright yellow colour as I carefully lifted it out of the dark muddy hole, where it had waited for at least 350 years.”
Nigel Mills, antiquities specialist at the auctioneer, said: “The Colman seal ring is an excellent example of a high status ring of the period, of which there are only a very limited number surviving in this condition.
“Metal detectorists like Michelle have contributed vastly to our knowledge by finding treasures that would have otherwise been unknown to exist.”
It is not Mrs Vall’s first valuable find since picking up her metal detector.
An extremely rare gold “half angel” coin she found sold for £40,800 at auction in December 2017.