We’ve all been there – browsing eBay or stopping at a roadside antique store, sorting through jewelry and thinking, “What if I find a really valuable antique here?”
Most of the time, that doesn’t happen. But a young Norwegian, Mari Ingelin Heskestad, found herself living that dream when she bought a collection of cheap jewelry from an online auction house, only to notice one item sticking out.
Heskestad felt like the twisted gold ring was something unique. “It was really heavy and shiny,” she told the newspaper. Bergensavisen, BA. “It looked very special.”
But instead of taking it straight to a dealer or auction house to cash in, she delivered it to the municipal department of cultural heritage in Vestland county in western Norway. Karoline Hareide Breivik, Acting Head of Department, confirmed in a statement that the ring dated from the late Iron Age or the Viking Age. She noted that the find was extremely rare; it was also the first time she was aware that a Norse Viking Age ring had been found in an online auction.
“We are so impressed with her – the fact that she reacted in exactly the way you should when you find something that you might believe has historical value,” said Sigrun Wølstad, a senior county councilor. Science Norway.
County officials say the size of the ring – which weighs nearly 11 grams – suggests it belonged to a man, likely a powerful man. Gold was rare in the Viking Age, so it was reserved for the wealthiest in society.
The county has contacted the auction house, which has not yet been identified, to inquire about the loot. But the house was unable to release additional details beyond that the ring was from an estate whose contents arrived in a series of banana crates in the summer of 2021.
The ring has since been delivered to the University Museum in Bergen, where it is due to be displayed this fall. A representative for the museum did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Artnet News.
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