Dear Fellower Landowners,

Soon charity rallies will be starting again, so please remember: ALL finds are yours (or occasionally the country’s) so you alone should say who gets what and if anything can be taken away. So it follows that if you’re offered a finds agreement that says less than that, you’d be foolish to sign it. Incidentally, “ambiguity in a contract benefits the party that didn’t draft it” so if you are offered a pre-printed agreement that doesn’t contain that clause saying that, you should insist it is added. (The official Code, which recommends signing an agreement “to avoid subsequent disputes” ought to say that, but doesn’t!)

But that’s not all you should consider. What does “charity rally” actually mean? Keep in mind, if the stuff is kept by the finders the charity won’t benefit from it and if YOU are giving up your stuff for charitable purposes maybe THEY should give up your stuff for charity too? I saw a doozy in a detecting forum this week, someone talking about lockdown ending: “I think there will be a few pushing the charity boundaries like there were before where they take the money and tell the landowner to give their share to charity”!

Some people are just brigands. Can YOU tell the difference? Why not do the obvious: ask ALL prospective charity rally organisers for audited accounts from previous events, showing exactly where all the money – and all the finds – went? A real charity would supply those details by return.

Best wishes,

Silas Brown,

Grunters Hollow, Worfield, Salop

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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