Raymond Barker: I've been detecting for years and never found a good hoard

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The Independent Online

Every time I read that somebody has found a good hoard I'm pleased because it adds to our knowledge and the history of Britain but, like all detectors, I mainly feel envious.

I've never really had much luck. Many a time I've been out and come back empty-handed, wondering why I bother doing this.

I've been detecting for more years than I care to remember and I've never discovered a good hoard. You do find stuff but it's not necessarily of any great cash value or even historical interest.

The best thing I found was years ago: an Anglo-Saxon penny showing Cynethryth, wife of Offa, the King of Mercia. I couldn't get any interest from the museums so I sold it to a collector for more than £1,000. So that was quite a good day. But on the average day mostly you'll just get lots of old modern coinage from about 1800 to the present day. There's never really much demand for that.

I shall be 80 soon and I'm riddled with arthritis so I find it difficult to walk around fields. But most Sundays I'll still be out there because it's the possibility that this time might be the big one that keeps us going. It's like playing the lottery.

Raymond Barker, 79, lives in Dartford in Kent and is a member and former chairman of the Dartford Detecting Club