Of the donation, £900,000 goes to the acquisition of the hoard, the rest to its conservation and its display. With the support from the HLF, the museum now has 80% of the £1.35m value placed on the hoard by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Other funds have been donated by individuals and patrons of the museum.
“The hoard sheds new light on a momentous period of English history and the Ashmolean will give it a fitting home,” said Stuart McLeod, head of the HLF.
The Watlington hoard, which is the largest of its kind ever discovered in Oxfordshire, was declared a Treasure in February this year. It includes more than 200 coins dating from the late 870s and features previously rare coins of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and King Ceolwulf II of Mercia.
In the public appeal, Dr Xa Sturgis, director of the Ashmolean said that if the museum cannot raise the required funds, the hoard is “likely” to be broken up and “sold at auction to private collectors.”
“If it came onto the market it would certainly cause a stir,” said Christopher Webb of auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.
The Ashmolean has until January 31, 2017 to raise the remaining funds.