A LEADING museum has launched an appeal to raise more than £50,000 in a bid to ensure a Viking’s long-lost life savings are not snapped up by the highest bidder.

The Bedale Hoard was found by a metal detectorist in May 2012 and includes a gold sword pommel and a silver neck ring and neck collar, the likes of which have never been recorded before.

It was discovered in an area where very little is known about in the Viking period, so the very fact it exists sheds new light on the region 1,000 years ago.

The hoard has now been valued at £51,636, with the Yorkshire Museum in York hoping to raise the funds before March to keep the nationally-significant find in the county and on public display.

Curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul said: “This is a spectacular find featuring gold and silver items which would have been a wealthy Viking’s life savings. It was buried for safekeeping but for some reason never returned to.”

She added: “There are two factors that make it especially interesting to us. The first is that a number of the silver neck rings and the collar are unique – we have not seen any other examples in the Viking world that exactly match these finds.

“The second is they were discovered in a part of Yorkshire which very little is known about in the Viking period. This discovery proves that there was wealth here.

“We hope if we can buy the hoard we will be able to conduct research to help us get a better understanding of the people who lived in Yorkshire at that time.”

The full hoard consists of a gold sword pommel, the unique silver neck ring and neck collar, a silver armlet, 29 silver ingots, two other silver neck rings, gold rivets and half a silver brooch. It could date from the late ninth-century.

Part of it was first found by metal detectorist Stuart Campbell and his metal detecting partner on land near Bedale. They reported their find to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and officials from the museum later unearthed the rest.

To raise awareness of the appeal the hoard will go on show at the museum from Wednesday.