Saxon coins stolen from St Albans museum

RARE coins worth thousands of pounds were stolen from the Museum of St Albans earlier this month.

Around 30 Saxon silver coins with an insurance value of around �12,000 were taken from a locked display cabinet in the Medieval Gallery on or around the weekend of January 7.

The display case had been tampered with and the locks broken. A Sixth or Seventh Century silver hand pin was also taken.

The coins were part of a hoard of Saxon silver coins found at the Abbey Orchard in St Albans in 1969 during an excavation by the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society within the area of the monastic buildings attached to St Albans Abbey.

Richard Shwe, head of community services at the district council, said: “The loss of these items is a blow for the museum and indeed for local people as they are part of the heritage of St Albans.

“We are appealing to the public to let the police know if they are offered any of the stolen items or if they have any information that could lead to their recovery.”

The museum understands that the coins were buried during a troubled period towards the end of the Ninth Century and were likely to be the life savings of one individual who had hoped to return and recover them when there was no longer a threat of attack.

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The hoard included a selection of Saxon pence and half pence coins.

The upstairs gallery in the museum on Hatfield Road is now closed until police finish their work and the damaged locks are replaced. The district council has also commissioned a security review of its museums in the aftermath of the theft.

Anyone with any information should contact the police on their non-emergency number 101 or phone the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.