3-Year-Old Boy Finds $4 Million Treasure On Very First Metal Detecting Outing

James Hyatt may only be three years old, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to go metal detecting with his family. Equipped with his own detector and headphones to hear when he’d found something, the little boy set out to discover some treasure. No one would have expected him to find a literal fortune.

  1. The little boy found a piece of gold. Not just any gold, either. Instead, little James had come across a 16th-century locket thought to contain an image of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. “It went beep beep beep,” James recalled of finding the jewelry in a field in Essex in England.
  2. James’ dad, Jason Hyatt, and his grandfather had no idea what they were in for. When they pulled the 500-year-old Virgin Mary pendant from the ground, they thought it might be valuable. However, they never would have thought it would be worth millions.
  3. The pendant came out of nowhere. “All of a sudden we got a buzz from the metal detector, quite a strong buzz,” Jason told BBC News. “We dug six to eight inches down and lo and behold, we got a flash of gold. “I moved the earth around and brought it to the surface and there it was.”
  4. They did have to do some digging to bring it to the surface. James knew that there was something worthwhile in the ground, but they were going to have to work to get to it. “Then we dug into the mud. There was gold there. We didn’t have a map — only pirates have treasure maps,” Jason told the Daily Mail.
  5. The pendant is a reliquary dating back to the 16th century. It’s about an inch long and is believed to be about 73% gold. It has a back panel that slides out, allowing items of religious importance to be held within.
  6. James Hyatt’s incredible discovery went on to be displayed at the British Museum. The pendant, which is inscribed with the names of the wise men — IASPAR, MELCIOR, BALTASAR — also has four eye-shaped symbols that appear to be weeping. Experts believe the locket could have been owned by a member of the royal family during the reign of Henry VIII.
  7. The Hyatts had no choice but to sell the item to a museum. Because it was deemed to be a treasure rover during an inquest, the Hyatt family sold it to the British Museum. They decided to share some of the money they made from the sale with the landowner. “James was so excited when he realized he had found real treasure. Dad was blown away. In 15 years doing it as a hobby I’d never found anything like it. If we get any money it will be for the children,” Jason said.

Not a bad day out!

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill