Celtic gold coins - dubbed the Silsden Treasure - have been sent to the British Museum to be valued by experts.

The 27 coins, unearthed by metal detector enthusiast Jeff Walbank last summer, are expected to fetch between £10,00 and £15,000.

But Mr Walbank is entitled to appeal if he thinks the coins, which are almost 2000 years old, have been undervalued.

A panel of experts is due to convene later this month at the British Museum, where the treasure is in safe-keeping, to agree a value.

A spokesman for Bradford Council's museum service said: "The committee is made up of experts from various fields including archaeology and metal detecting.

"They make a valuation but it can be appealed against and an independent valuation submitted which would again be looked at by the committee."

Barber Mr Walbank, 47, of Silsden, said: "I expect they'll fetch somewhere between £10,000 and £15,000. I don't go metal detecting to make money - that's just a bonus - I'm interested in the historical aspect."

He said the money raised by the sale of the coins would be divided equally between himself and the landowner.

Keighley Councillor Barry Thorne, chairman of Bradford Council's leisure services committee has pledged to acquire the coins for display in the newly refurbished Cliffe Castle museum in Keighley. Most of them are from the era of Cunoblin, king of a tribe based in Colchester and the northern tribe of Es Vprasv. Two others are from the tribes of Epaticcus and Volisios Dvmnvellavnus.

Coun Thorne hopes to raise the cash by securing grants from the heritage lottery and the National Heritage Museums Fund.

About £300,000 is being pumped into turning Cliffe Castle into a showpiece for the natural and historical heritage of the Aire Valley.

Mr Walbank added: "My real ambition is to get the coins back to the Keighley area and on display in Cliffe Castle as part of the new exhibition. It would be a superb addition for the Millennium."

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