In October, a man with a metal detector stumbled upon a “nationally significant” haul of rare coins. This amazing find consists of 159 pure gold Roman solidus coins from the fourth century. The amateur treasure hunter — whose identity has not been revealed in order to protect his privacy — was sweeping a private field near Saint Albans, England, when he found this latest bounty of rare coins. The exact location of the find is being kept under wraps as well, so as to prevent the land being overrun with looters.
Last June, another large stash of coins that dated from the first century B.C. was discovered in England — again with a high-power metal detector. The collection of 30,000–50,000 gold and silver coins was valued at $15 million. In an earlier find last March, more than 30,000 silver coins from the third century were unearthed about 450 feet from the historic Roman Baths in England.
Experts speculate that the gold coins from the most recent find were probably used for large transactions — like the sale of land or a ship — and were not used in everyday purchases due to their high value. The gold coins were issued over a range of time, and feature the faces of Roman emperors Gratian, Valentinian, Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius. West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins stock a wide variety of coins, including ancient coins, gold bullion and silver bullion. An interesting fact about these coins is that they were also used as forms of propaganda. For example, it has been speculated that Honorius, who was not a strong military leader, printed the coins with his likeness holding an axe and standing on a defeated foe in order to increase the public’s perception of his military prowess.
The rare coins went on display at the St Albans Verulamium Museum, and are now in the process of being valued. It is estimated that the find will be worth tens of thousands of dollars. The treasure hunter and the landowner plan to share what they earn from the sale of the coins.
And we used to get excited about finding loose change in the sofa cushions.
- Claire Herting