Aladdin’s cave of historical finds

Britanicus new store, (left to right) Matthew, Timothy and Simon Wicks.
Britanicus new store, (left to right) Matthew, Timothy and Simon Wicks.

A TREASURE hunter opened his Aladdin’s cave of historical finds in Eastbourne last week.

Simon Wicks has been legally plundering historical sites for the past 40 years unearthing everything from trivial Victorian coins to a golden garnet cross belonging to Anne Boleyn.

His shop Britanicus in Terminus Road holds everything from £5 medieval buckles to £15,000 gold snuff boxes.

He said it is the realisation of a 30-year-old dream.

Mr Wicks, a 48-year-old former chef, said, “It’s like going into a museum, looking at a lot of lovely stuff but most would only get a chance to look at it. But to actually buy it and take it home with you, that’s a whole new concept.”

His treasure trove is made up of historical trinkets which have surfaced from his days patrolling historical sites across the country with metal detector in hand.

It will also feature purchases he has made at auctions and modern reproductions of old designs.

Alongside his hoard is a metal detector section and a jewellery repair workshop. Mr Wicks’ passion for treasure hunting was ignited when he was just eight-years-old.

Mr Wicks, his dad – an antique enthusiast – and his cousins would scour the forest for hours.

His hobby saw him stumble across a piece of Boleyn’s jewellery in 1986 near Groombridge which he later sold for £15,000.

Mr Wicks also found 30,000 Roman coins in a field in Cambridge over a 10-year period. But he insisted it was not about monetary reward.

“You get a real buzz when you find something and you have it in your hands – it’s unbelievable, people do not understand. There’s so much more to it, there’s history, you can travel and get involved at clubs.

“People just think it’s silly and see people out and think ‘look at that nutter in the field’. It’s not about the money, it’s about the enjoyment.”