Treasure hunters’ delight at the discovery of Roman coins bounty
THREE treasure hunters have unearthed 62 Roman coins which date back 1,700 years.
Adam Staples, Lisa Grace and her 14-year-old son, Tom Grace –- out with his metal detector for the first time – made the discovery on land near Stanton-by-Bridge.
The trio, from Derby, were scouring the soil when their equipment began to beep.
Mr Staples scooped up the earth and in his hands were the first of 62 ancient coins they would find over the next six days.
Yesterday, an inquest held at Derby Coroner’s Court decided they were treasure – which means they are more than 300 years old and contain less than 10% gold or silver.
The items must now be offered for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts. Only if a museum expresses no interest in the item, or is unable to purchase it, can the owner retain it.
The coins date back to the reign of four emperors, Diocletianus, Maximianus, Constantius and Galerius, who ruled Britain between 296AD and 305AD.
Ms Grace, 35, of Reeves Road, said: “We were so excited when we found the coins, absolutely ecstatic. We have found coins, ingots and other Roman pieces before but nothing as old as this.”
The haul was discovered between September 27 and October 3 last year.
The treasure hunters handed the coins to Derby Museum, which in turn sent them to the British Museum in London to be catalogued.
Mr Staples, 32, said he had been searching for treasure with a metal detector for more than 15 years.
He said: “The coins were found below the surface of the ground where the land had been ploughed quite deep.
“We were hovering the metal detectors above the soil when it started beeping really fast to indicate there is a real hoard of metal.
“We found 20 coins on the first day and a similar amount the following day. Then it was a case of a couple here and there after that.”
Mr Staples said they were the size of a £2 coin but were heavier because they were mainly made of lead.
He said he unearthed a gold ingot in a field in Leicestershire last year and a hearing is yet to take place to decide who owns it.
Once the independent valuation has taken place, the trio will be eligible for 50% of the value of the coins as the finders.
The other half will go to the landowner, David Grummett, 62.
He said: “I always give Lisa, Adam and Tom permission to go searching on my land because they are such nice people.
“When the money comes I’ll probably take my wife out for a meal, or maybe I should go out and buy a metal detector for myself.”
A spokesman for the British Museum said valuing them was a difficult job.
He said: “We never like to say how much things are worth until they have been independently valued.”
Ray Rippingale, assistant director of cultural services at Derby City Council said he hoped the city museum would buy the coins.
He said: “These coins would be a valuable addition to the extensive collection we already have at Derby Museum and we would be delighted to provide a home locally for this splendid find.”
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