A BID to raise £50,000 to keep Viking treasure in North Yorkshire has been launched today.

The nationally significant Bedale Hoard of gold and silver was found by a metal detectorist in May 2012 and includes a gold sword pommel and a silver neck ring and neck collar which have never been recorded before and are thought to be about 1,000 years old.

The hoard has been valued at £51,636, and the Yorkshire Museum hopes to raise the funds before March to keep the find in Yorkshire and on public display.

"Items from the hoard will be on show in the Yorkshire Museum until the end of March to help raise awareness of the appeal.

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology, 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.

“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.“ Donations can be made at the museum.

The full hoard also includes a silver armlet, 29 silver ingots, two other silver neck rings, gold rivets and half a silver brooch.

Archaeologists believe it is from the late ninth or early tenth century. Part of the hoard was found by Stuart Campbell and his metal detecting partner on land in Bedale.

They informed the North Yorkshire finds liaison officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Rebecca Griffiths, based at the Yorkshire Museum. She and her colleague from the museum then went to the site and unearthed the rest of the hidden treasures.