Imagine experiencing the rush felt by many explorers and metal detectorists in the discovery of real treasure! Metal detecting is an activity loved and appreciated worldwide. If you're persistent and skilled at this, you can even strick gold! People have found thousands of coins at once in some cases. But what does one do with all these new coins? In this article, we'll go through the five largest coin hoards discovered in the UK and what happened to them:
1. Frome Hoard
The Frome Hoard is the largest coin hoard on this list. 52,503 Roman coins were discovered in Frome (hence the name), in Somerset, in 2010. They were placed inside a large clay pot with a diameter of 18 inches (45 cm). In total, the coins weighed over 116 kilograms.
They were minted during the 3rd century AD and were made from a copper alloy. Only five of them are actually silver coins! Under the Treasure Act, the money from the coins goes to the finder and landowner. After being displayed at the British Museum in London, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) gave the Museum of Somerset a grant of £294,000 so that the museum could keep the hoard local to its discovery. The coins are worth around £320,250.
2. Seaton Hoard
The Seaton hoard was discovered by Laurence Egerton in Devon. This large collection consisted of 22,888 coins Roman coins and three ingots. In total, they weighed just over 68 kilograms, making this the largest coin hoard ever to be discovered in Devon, and the third-largest ever found in Britain. Archeologists needed 3 days to unearth this huge collection which took an additional 10 months to clean.
These coins don't even contain precious metals. The coins are made from a copper-alloy and when they were in circulation, they weren’t considered a fortune. But, because of their historical value, they are now worth more than £100,000. They were struck between AD 260 and AD 348 by various mints across Europe, making them over 1,700 years old. The coins have since been displayed at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.
3. Hoxne Hoard
The man who found this hoard wasn’t expecting to find anything at all. Imagine his surprise when he found an oak chest containing 14,865 coins in addition to jewelry and silver tableware. He was only looking for his friend's hammer using an electronic metal sensor! This discovery is now worth more than £4.3 million!
The Roman coins were issued during the late fourth and early fifth century CE. Unlike the two previous discoveries, this time, most of the coins are made from precious metals. It included 14,191 silver coins, weighing 24kg, and 569 gold coins, weighing 3.5kg. Only 24 coins were made out of cheap copper alloy.
If you want to admire this precious treasure for yourself, you'll find it displayed in The British Museum. Only a portion of the collection is displayed for the public however, along with the cheap rusty hammer that led to the discovery!
4. Lenborough Hoard
The Lenborough Hoard was discovered by Paul Coleman in a field in Lenborough, near Buckinghamshire, on 21 December 2014. It was composed of well-preserved 5,248 Anglo Saxon coins. They were found inside of a lead bucket that protected them from the elements for more than 1000 years.
It was the largest hoard discovered since the Treasure Act was introduced in 1996. The coins were struck by 40 mints across the UK during the reign of Ethelred the Unready and Canute. The scale of the hoard presented an opportunity for new studies on coinage and wider history in the period. Most of the pennies are of known types, but several are more unusual. These include three forgeries made with Ethelred’s name, but in fact, minted abroad (two in Dublin, one from Scandinavia). One coin in the hoard is completely unique and suggests human error when the coin was being minted, making it even more valuable. The Treasure Valuation Committee valued the hoard at £1.35 million.
Source: The Daily Mail
5. Leominster hoard
Not every metal detectorist declares their discovery. George Powell and Layton Davies were accused of failing to declare an invaluable hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins they discovered on farmland near Leominster, in Herefordshire, in June 2015. The pair only handed over three “not-particularly-valuable” coins to the owner of the land where it was found.
By law, they should have reported the discovery, but instead proceeded to sell the items in small batches to various customers on the black market. Their valuable find was said to include a gold ring, bracelet and silver ingot from the ninth century, a crystal ball pendant from the fifth century and 300 coins.
This is the smallest hoard on the list. The coins were placed inside three hessian pouches stuffed with leaves. These sacks were put inside a satchel that was buried under two stones. The coins date from AD 260 to AD 290 and were minted during the reign of several kings and all of them are made from a copper alloy.
The hoard was estimated to have been hidden in the ground more than 1,100 years ago and came from two separate areas of England. Mr Powell, of Newport, and Mr Davies, of Pontypridd, have pleaded not guilty to theft denying conspiracy to conceal criminal property. This trial is still ongoing.
If you don't have time to go dig up your own valuable coins, or maybe you fancy burying your own valuable treasure in the garden for future generations, get in touch with Bleyer Bullion to get your hands on uncirculated and special offer bullion. Call or email Bleyer Bullion to start or increase your investments in actual Physical Precious Metals you can hold and store. Call us on 01769 618618 or email [email protected]
Guest article by: Alex Lemaire