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Metal detectorist to sell ‘Nobby’ the fertility figure he found in a field

The fertility figure was found in a field in Cambridgeshire (Noonans/PA)
The fertility figure was found in a field in Cambridgeshire (Noonans/PA)

A metal detectorist who unearthed a Celtic fertility figure which resembles the Cerne Abbas Giant is to sell it at auction.

Retired lorry driver Bob Jemmett found the bronze figure, which measures 37mm by 10mm, in a ploughed field in Little Chishill, Cambridgeshire.

The 75-year-old, of Manningtree, Essex, was at an organised rally when he made the discovery in September 2018.

He kept the figure, which he nicknamed Nobby, for years but has decided to sell after a recent burglary.

Bob Jemmett discovers Celtic fertility figure
Bob Jemmett found the figure in a ploughed field in Little Chishill, Cambridgeshire in 2018 (Noonans/PA)

Recalling the day he found the figure, which is estimated to date from the first century BC, Mr Jemmett said: “The weather was appalling with the rain lashing down, but I persevered and received a lovely signal from my Minelab 3030 detector.

“Digging down four inches, I uncovered a small, bronze, nude, male figure, which featured a prominent erection similar to the Cerne Abbas Giant, that is carved into a hill in Dorset.

“The figure was identified as a Celtic fertility figure and published on the Portable Antiquities website and subsequently used as a logo by the rally organisers in their promotions.

“As a result, detectorists from all over Europe at rallies would ask me if they could see Nobby who I always keep in my pocket as a constant companion.”

The figure will be part of a sale of ancient coins and antiquities at Noonans Mayfair on Thursday June 20 from 10am.

It has a pre-auction estimate of up to £1,500.

Nigel Mills, artefact and coin expert at Noonans, said: “This unique figure dates from the first century BC, he has an oversized bald head with deep sockets for eyes, wedges for arms and short legs.

“There is a loop behind for suspension.”

Mr Jemmett has been metal detecting for almost 30 years and is married with two daughters and eight grandchildren.

He hopes to use any money from the sale of the figure on home improvements.