So who owns your finds?

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Most farmers seem to be multi-millionaires so not fussed about half of a few hundred quid. Though no doubt half of a few grand or so would maybe get their attention a bit more? But then again some farmer's attitudes can be indifferent
from say being completely unselfish to downright very greedy? Okay, technically speaking they own everything that you find on their land unless you have an agreement saying otherwise. A written signed agreement is perhaps best, but most of my landowners and myself are just happy with a verbal agreement as we just get on good on a trust basis. But your insistence of a signed agreement would likely put some landowners off giving you permission so I'm not generally too fussed about it unless they insist!
Smaller landowners would perhaps appreciate any extra possible income more from finds worth say above a couple of hundred quid? But then again it just depends on how they view it and maybe how well off they are? I've tried to give hammered coins to landowners before but they refuse to take them insisting that they are mine because I found them!
I'm completely honest about all finds with my landowners and any finds of say even a few hundred quid they just generally say "well it's you who has put in all the hours and the hard work so you've earned it!". That's still really nice to hear as they just further clarify their views of such. I emailed my farmer pics of a gold sovereign that I found a few months ago, maybe worth £400, but got absolutely no response at all but when I do see him he just says that he has seen the pics of my emailed finds updates, so I'm just doing my bit!
Treasure items are maybe seen as something a bit more special? If bought by a museum then each person is given a direct choice of whether to recieve half or forfeit it.
But if the agreement on normal finds is 50/50 then how many landowners would want to give you 50%? Not many I should think, but they would no doubt gladly take 50% from you! So even with a 50% agreement it is not quite so clear cut. So which side is going to go to the trouble of valuing and selling off their own back for no extra gain?
I've never sold any finds and don't intend to, my landowners are all really cool and not too interested in the value of any finds from their land unless we are talking thousands, so that's not very likely to happen in reality, but even if it did then feel that we'll both be quite amicable about it and so no issue.
Though that is just my current landowners and quite aware that things could be very different with others? :Thinking:
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In the case of my club's farms it all depends on the landowner.

One of our landowners is happy for us to keep pretty much anything within reason, as long as we donate half the value to the charity of his choice, which is the local Air ambulance.

Another will want to keep some, but will give us half the value, and will let us keep some, as long as we give him half the value.

One is not really interested at all, we will offer him half the value, and sometimes he will give us details to give that to him, sometimes he doesn't bother!

Ultimately as you say they do all belong to the landowner, but unless it's something particularly valuable or interesting they're not that bothered as a rule, if they got as excited about all the finds as we do then they would be out detecting with us.

With the farmer that likes to keep some, that was where I found the quarter stater and it was a bit of a nerve-racking trip to see him yesterday, but it's only fair that it should be his decision, he is kind enough to let us detect on many, many acres and according to the law everything we find belongs to him, all we can do is ask nicely and hope he will let us keep them.

Out of choice I would never sell a find, but if I found something where I couldn't afford to give half the value then it would have to be sold or they could buy me out if they wanted to, but in that case I couldn't justify keeping something that valuable in my collection anyway, so I wouldn't mind. The agreement we have as a club is that money changes hands if it's worth more than 100 quid.
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The $99 question! All my land owners have a 50:50 verbal agreement, only one a written one. In reality they all see everything I find, they take anything they want to keep (once recorded if it qualifies), and are happy for me to have the rest.

More valuable items, the type that would justify a money exchange, I would look at on a case by case bases. The gold Georgian wedding ring was handed over to the land owner about a week after being found with no expectation or desire to be offered 50%. Legally the land owner owns it and I have drummed that into my own head since day one (it’s a psychological thing) so I’m delighted if the land owner lets me keep stuff, rather than the other way round. If it was a valuable silver hammered I would struggle though emotionally. I found a stunning John penny (but not particularly valuable) and the land owner was eyeing it and I knew he wanted it. Thankfully it hadn’t yet been recorded so I got to enjoy it for a few more months before handing it over. But a stunning Roman silver coin I would happily hand over instantly and feel nothing nor expect anything.

It’s the rare big ticket items that are harder though isn’t it! Would have to be sold and shared as per the agreement I guess. Like Jamesey I’d be trying to buy that stater though, and any gold hammered. A few hundred pounds isn’t so bad but I couldn’t justify a few thousand so it’d have to be sold and you’d find me crying in the corner after the auction no matter how much it went for.
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It does depend on the landowner. I have the written 50/50 contracts in place, just to help protect each other’s interests.
I have one who wants to see everything that comes up, but then doesn't want anything – he’s genuinely interested in the history, and I get to keep everything - I always do a little bit of research to give him detail,,,, then make the rest up so I sound knowledgeable :D
I have another who is not interested unless it's treasure, he doesn’t even want to see the finds. I get to keep everything.
I have another who is interested and I show him the interesting finds. We have the same talk every time I show him, and it goes like this:
Me: Here you go Chris, these are the finds of the day.
Chris: Interesting stuff you've got there kid, what it worth?
Me: £20 - £50 -£100 etc at a guess, I'd have to do some research and come back to you.
Chris: arh, just buy me a drink the next time we’re at the pub and we're quits.
Me: are you sure, they could be worth a lot more than a drink.
Chris: yeah no worries, does it look like I need the money, now F'off and find me some real treasure.
He does get some nice bottles of gin throughout the year to keep him sweet.
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If anything notable or interesting comes up I show the farmer, regardless of the financial worth...One loves the history of his farm, and will "hint" he likes certain objects which I am happy to give the the past these have varied from an 18c silver spoon to part of an anti aircraft shell..

Another chap asked me to search his large garden...on my first visit he hovered over me and practically snatched everything I found out of my hands before I had even looked at them properly. I found a pair of really nice horse bridle bosses, not very old as it turned out, but something I wanted to run past the FLO. The guy however was very reluctant to let me take them home to photograph, and it was only because his wife stepped in, he eventually agreed...When I returned them a few days later, he said he would like the back garden searching, to which I suggested he get a detector himself!
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On my main permission the farmer was never interested in what I’ve found when I used to detect there years back even when I explained what I’d found.Since getting back into detecting and luckily regaining the same permission he will ask me if I’ve found anything if I see him when I’m walking back through the farmyard but I think that’s more out of politeness than any interest in what I’ve found. I’ve kept everything I’ve found except the horse brass with his family history that I found and gave him last week. He seems happy enough with a verbal agreement to split any anything valuable in the event I find anything of significance.
On a smaller permission one lady likes me to show her what I’ve found each time and likes me to send her some pics with info about them after I’ve cleaned any items and let’s me keep whatever I find.
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A landowner was happy for me to keep all of the finds from their 10 acre horsefield including an Anglo Saxon cruciform brooch, large medieval key and a gold watch. Though when I showed them I gave them a nice ringing crotal bell from there as it used to be their family farm and I had also sent them pics of the other items, they were delighted with it though wouldn't take the gold watch which I wasn't bothered about. Also there was a treasure item of a nice silver medieval mount so that has added further interest for them even though it is still going through the treasure process after about 2 years! Thinking about it, just what a great field that was, I must go back sometime as surely there has to be more hammereds than only the Elizabeth I sixpence that showed? :Thinking: But then again there is that evil horse on there that tried to kill me! :shock: :lol:
I really want to get on their other land as it has a great historic feature, the owner is interested to see what finds are there but the tenant is not so keen. :pulling hair out:
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The legalities have already been mentioned above, but fairness goes a long way. All my landowners say I can keep everything (bar the valuable stuff of course) but I always give them the option on individual finds and will make up a display for them now and again. For instance, I've done a small Roman coin display and a similar one for the pottery/roof tiles and handed over lots of medieval finds too. It's part of the farmer's land's history, after all.

My first hammered was found on a permission where I was told to keep everything but I paid half its value nevertheless. The reward for that was the later discovery of a Ferdinand & Isabella half real which I handed over, much to the delight of the owner who had a passion for these two and attended history re-enactments as Isabella! A real history buff, and you'd have thought I'd given her a barrel of gin :D

Just be fair in your dealings :thumbsup:
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He only agreement I have with my landowners is verbal which goes like this that everything I find is there’s but if anything of value is found I hope you do the honourable thing and split 50/50 I have given up some nice finds which is difficult but still have a nice collection of finds
It puts the illness on them to do the right thing rather than me and knowing that I might have to give it to them makes it real and honest
I have had one piece of treasure so far a nice 17 century possie ring which went through treasure process the farmer wanted nothing after it was disclaimed but I went down and put money in his hand and said if I ever sell it will be back to see him with more but it’s to nice a find to sell and my girls are going to fight over it
Honestly is the best policy most farmer know each other like every other trades they meet at shows etc and if your a bad guy the word will get around very quickly and could lose permission your only as good as your last job :thumbsup:
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