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£10,000 worth of gold bars buried on Folkestone beach

PUBLISHED: 14:56 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:47 28 August 2014

Gold buried here - Outer Harbour Beach, Folkestone

Gold buried here - Outer Harbour Beach, Folkestone

Archant

Artist says ‘finders keepers’ for anyone who digs it up

An artist has buried £10,000 worth of 24-carat gold bars on Folkestone beach - and when the tides goes out this afternoon, is inviting anyone to go down and dig it up.

It forms part of the Folkestone Triennial which gets under way this weekend.

The tide is due out at 4pm (Thursday) and a major free-for-all is expected at the Outer Harbour Beach.

The beach, which becomes partly covered at high tide, is open to the public. The pieces of gold are dispersed across a wide expanse of beach, which is only revealed during low-tide.

The artist, Michael Sailstorfer, said anyone finding the gold can keep it.

The work, entitled Folkestone Digs, will be a key attraction of the triennial.

Curator Lewis Biggs explained: “The piece lasts forever because no one will ever know if all the pieces have ever be found or not.

“A lot of people won’t admit to having found one even if they have. Would you? We see no end to the artwork. It is meant to be a lot of fun.”

The 30 gold bars are in various sizes and could each be worth hundreds of pounds.

Born in 1979, Michael Sailstorfer lives and works in Berlin.

Previous works have included painstakingly collecting fallen autumn leaves, painting and refastening them back onto the tree to simulate a premature spring. Another work enacts a process of ‘cabin cannibalism,’ with the artist feeding the rotting wooden walls of a small chalet to the wood-burner within, until nothing re-mains in the landscape but the burning stove.

Local people and visitors to Folkestone wanting to dig are encouraged to keep an eye on the weather forecast and the tide times and should pack some suitable footwear.

It had been kept a closely guarded secret until this afternoon.

The RNLI warns those heading to the event to take extra care.

A spokesman said: “We would offer the same advice as we would to anyone visiting a beach for any activity.

“We recommend people make sure they are aware of the tides and take care not to get cut off by the tide coming in. “Also, if people are digging deep into the sand, be mindful of the fact the sand can be unstable and there can be a risk of collapse if digging deep holes.”

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