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The Golden Torc of County Fermanagh

At Manhattan Gold & Silver, we’re experts at identifying precious metals. With our knowledge and testing methods, we can even tell you the purity of any precious metal sample. It takes experience to identify metals. You may have a piece of treasure right under your nose without realizing it. Such was the case of a certain treasure hunter in Ireland last year.

The story actually begins in 2009. Ronnie Johnston was using his metal detector in a bog in County Fermanagh, Ireland. He had searched the area several times before and never turned up much. One particular day seemed to be business as usual when he dug up what he thought was an old shock spring from a car. It was junk, but he cleaned it up, brought it home, and tossed it in a drawer.

Two years later, he saw a picture of gold torc – or waistband – in a treasure magazine that piqued his interest. Even though torcs are meant to be worn around the wrist, neck, or waist (depending on size), this particular torc had been bent and coiled to prevent others from wearing it after the original owner had passed away. The coiled shape reminded Johnston of that old car spring he had dug up in the bog two years earlier. He had it inspected, and sure enough, it was a 3,000-year-old golden torc.

What he thought was junk turned out to be precious metal – about 87% gold and 11% silver. It never hurts to have your antiques, or metal detector finds, appraised.

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