A retired man has found a 14th Century gold ring in his garage, nearly 40 years after he first discovered it.
Tom Clark, 81, located the seal ring in a tin at his Buckinghamshire home among items which had come from his late mother’s house.
The Aylesbury metal detectorist had first discovered it on farmland between 1979 and 1982, but had not realised the significance of the find.
It could now fetch up to £10,000 at auction.
The ring has an engraving of the god Mars holding a spear. It bears a Latin inscription and contains what is thought to be a semi-precious carved gem.
Such rings would be used to leave a mark in wax to show that a document was legitimate and unopened.
Mr Clark said: “I had completely forgotten about it. I found it… on farmland just outside Aylesbury. There’s a big housing estate on the land now.
“At the time I’d only been metal detecting for 10 years and didn’t realise the ring was anything special. It was all twisted and broken when I dug it up.”
Mr Clark, a retired leather craftsman, said he had taken the ring, along with others, to a museum to be recorded but was told they were “fairly modern” so he had put them in a tin at his mother’s house and forgotten about them.
Mark Becher, historica expert at Hansons auctioneers, said: “The ring bears a Latin inscription – NVNCIE.VERA.TEGO – which may translate as ‘I hide the true message’.
“This could relate to the role of a seal ring in securing correspondence.”