A METAL detectorist from Keighley looking for a friend's lost wedding ring discovered a haul of gold coins worth an estimated £100,000.

Paul Raynard, 44, screamed “there's millions – this is the moment we dreamed of!” to best pal Michael Gwynne, 52, when he realised the scale of the find.

Businessman Paul “broke down in tears” when he stumbled across his very own pot of gold – a cluster of 84 coins in a field near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.

Stunned Paul and Michael found the coins – dating back to the 1500s – whilst looking for the wedding ring a farmer friend had lost in his field.

The pair failed to find the ring – only digging up a horseshoe and a 5p coin – but after just 90 minutes of searching they found the collection of coins.

Lighting engineer Paul said experts have told him it could be the biggest haul ever found in Ireland and worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

One of the hoard – an ultra-rare Henry VIII coin – is estimated to be worth £5,000 on its own.

Dad-of-two Paul said: ''I jumped up and down and ran down the field in tears to find Michael.

“It’s something I have dreamed of finding since I was a kid. It was an amazing feeling. It’s like checking your lottery numbers and realising you’ve hit the jackpot.

“I saw one or two coins at first but had no idea of the size of the hoard to begin with.

“I went to fetch Michael who was across the field so we could share the moment together. I was shaking, I still can’t believe it now.”

Paul and Michael were in Northern Ireland for a short holiday when their friend recruited them to help find his missing wedding ring.

The coins have been sent to Ulster Museum for official identification and valuation by a team of experts.

It will take several months for the 84 coins to be valued in full, but Paul has said other experts have told him the whole hoard could be worth more than £100,000.

The earliest coin is the Henry VIII one, dated 1512.

Other coins – such as one dating from 1546, when the famed boy king Edward VI reigned – could be worth up to £3,000.

Paul said he and business partner, Michael, usually study old maps looking out for signs of ancient settlements or battlegrounds where hoards may be buried.

He said: “We had just come back from a busy business trip to China and Michael said he knew of a nice little place we could go to in Ireland for us to take our detectors.

“But we only went to that field to try to find his mate’s wedding ring. He lost it and reckons it could be in the field somewhere.

“We didn’t find the ring and had only been there a couple of hours when we found the coins.

“I dug a small hole and there they were.”

Paul has been interested in metal detecting since he was seven, when his parents bought him a Treasure Island book.

But he only took his hobby seriously when he turned 35 and purchased a £600 metal detector, capable of picking up gold and silver items buried up to four feet below ground.

Paul described his find as a “once in a lifetime” discovery.

He added: “I’ve handed all the coins over to the museum to be properly identified and valued. It will take several months for that to happen.”

The value of the coins will be split equally between Paul and the landowner if they choose to sell the hoard on for cash, following the completion of the valuation process.