Three friends on camping trip dig up £40k worth of gold coins

A band of metal detectorists who stumbled upon a huge hoard of over 150 Roman coins are set to make £40,000. The trio of friends were on a camping trip near Pewsey, Wiltshire, when they uncovered the buried treasure just 6ft from where they pitched their tent.

At first finder Robert Abbot, 53, thought he had just found a handful of old metal tent pegs after his machine activated. But hidden further down was a silver Roman Siliqua coin. He carried on searching and his detector went into a frenzy.

Companions, Dave Allen, 59, and Mick Rae, 63, joined up and frantically dug up dozens of the coins by the end of the weekend they had uncovered 161 silver coins, all around 1,600 years old, which they carried home in their washing up bowl. The coins, which date from 340 to 602 AD are thought to have been buried as Anglo-Saxon invaders overran Britain in the ailing days of the Roman empire.

The ‘Pewsey Hoard’ is now tipped to sell for £40,000. The coins will go under the hammer at London-based auctioneers Noonans. Rob, who owns a computer shop in Essex, said: “Having finished breakfast first, I turned on my machine and having walked around six paces from the tent, I found several tent pegs and just under the surface a late Roman silver siliqua in pristine condition.

“A few moments later beside it, I found another one. Ironically, we had been camping there two weeks previous for a week-long detecting outing. What we hadn’t realised is we’d actually camped right on top of the area where The coins were found. We were so excited and we’re looking forward to the auction – but we have no idea how we’ll spend the money.”



A silver Miliarensis Trier coin found in the hoard

Nigel Mills, a coin specialist at Noonans, said the coins were in ‘mint’ condition. He said: “Virtually, all of the coins are in mint condition and have not even needed to be cleaned since their discovery. The hoard was buried at a time when Roman rule in Britain under the Emperor Honorius was no longer viable with the army being recalled to protect other provinces.

“In AD 410 Britain was told to protect itself by Honorius. As a result, Britain has become a treasure island of late 4th Century and early 5th Century gold and silver Roman coin and jewelery hoards as the local population buried their valuables and then fell victim to Saxon raids. “Detector finds in recent years include the Thetford and Hoxne hoards.” The hoard will be sold on May 17.

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