The Crosby Garrett helmet has been sold for £2,281,250 at Christie’s, which – the newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries reports –
was a cruel blow to the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, which had raised £100,000 through a well-supported public appeal aimed at securing the helmet for public display in the region in which it was found. The museum can now hope that the new owner is public-spirited enough to lend the helmet to the museum, or — if the new (and anonymous) owner wishes to take the helmet out of the UK — that the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest might ask for a temporary export licence block in order to let a UK buyer match the auction price — something it can do if the helmet is judged to be an object of national importance.
Carlisle and Crosby Garrett are in my old stomping ground as an archdeacon. Tullie House has done wonders for local and tourist engagement with the history of its area, and Crosby Garrett is a moorland parish with more sheep than people with a Cathedral of a church. I hope that whatever the next steps are they bring joy to both.