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Jeweller launches nationwide treasure hunt to find rare silver coins

PUBLISHED: 15:01 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:58 02 October 2020

Alistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with two of the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with two of the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

A Norwich jeweller has got people across the nation scratching their heads over his riddles which reveal where 49 special coins are hidden.

Alistair Zelley, of Zelley jewellers, in St Giles Street, had 50 pure silver coins commissioned bearing the head of his beloved pet dog, Willow.

In fact the coins are even named ‘Willows’ after the sprocker spaniel with the firm’s logo embedded on the reverse side.

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Mr Zelley has kept one coin for himself and is now hiding the rest in various locations all across the country. He has been posting cryptic clues on social media as well as short video clips to help treasure hunters find the bullions. The treasure hunt was only launched this week and already the first three, all hidden in Norwich, have been found.

People who've found the coins in Norwich are posting on social media. Pic: Zelley jewellersPeople who've found the coins in Norwich are posting on social media. Pic: Zelley jewellers

The coins are pure silver and weigh 31gs each – equivalent to an ounce.

An ounce is currently worth about £18.50 but because there are only 50 coins world-wide, Mr Zelley believes they could be worth hundreds of pounds or more to collectors.

The first three were hidden in Mousehold Heath, Eaton Park and the University of East Anglia, and all were found in less than 40 minutes of the clues being posted.

Jordan Browning, a window cleaner, found the one in Mousehold Heath after Mr Zelley posted a photograph of a bench near Zaks restaurant which he recognised.

People who've found the coins in Norwich are posting on social media. Pic: Zelley jewellersPeople who've found the coins in Norwich are posting on social media. Pic: Zelley jewellers

“I literally rushed upstairs to my wife and shouted, as I was putting on my jeans, ‘do you want to go on a treasure hunt?’ We got in the car and drove to Mousehold Heath and the most difficult thing was finding the correct tree but then I saw a fern and I had seen the coin being hidden under a fern in the video and I shouted: ‘The coin’s still there.”

Mr Zelley was inspired after reading about a famous treasure hunt in 1979 called Masquerade.

“I grew up reading about Tintin and watching Pirates of the Caribbean, and just love the whole idea of going out to find buried treasure,” he said. “It’s been difficult for retailers because of Covid so I thought this might help and also put a smile on people’s faces in these gloomy times.”

Mr Zelley is exploring parts of the UK in a campervan while hiding the coins and has posted safety guidelines for people looking for them. The coins are encased in plastic containers, glued shut so that they don’t get damaged while hidden, and Mr Zelley advises finders not to remove them as they are so pure silver, even a fingerprint can damage them.

Mr Zelley hiding one of the silver coins. Pic: Zelley jewellersMr Zelley hiding one of the silver coins. Pic: Zelley jewellers

Zelleys recently gave away lab grown diamonds to a lucky winner.

To see the clues click here

Mr Zelley hiding one of the silver coins. Pic: Zelley jewellersMr Zelley hiding one of the silver coins. Pic: Zelley jewellers

Alistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with the silver Willow coins, the treasure in his treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jordan Browning who found one of the silver Willow coins in the Zelley jewellers' treasure hunt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJordan Browning who found one of the silver Willow coins in the Zelley jewellers' treasure hunt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The silver Willow coins, the treasure in Alistair Zelley's treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe silver Willow coins, the treasure in Alistair Zelley's treasure hunt for seekers all over the UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alistair Zelley, right, manager at Zelley jewellers, with Jordan Browning who found one of the silver Willow coins in the treasure hunt. With them is Willow, Alistair's dog who is on the coin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlistair Zelley, right, manager at Zelley jewellers, with Jordan Browning who found one of the silver Willow coins in the treasure hunt. With them is Willow, Alistair's dog who is on the coin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with Willow, who is on the silver Willow coins, the treasure in Alistair's treasure hunt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlistair Zelley, manager at Zelley jewellers, with Willow, who is on the silver Willow coins, the treasure in Alistair's treasure hunt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


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