Metal-detecting group digs up Roman treasure

METAL-DETECTING enthusiasts could soon be coining it in after discovering a hoard of silver Roman money dating back 1,500 years.

Three members of Bridlington Quay Detecting Society found 75 silver coins and 10 bronze coins, dating back to the year 355AD, on farmland near Filey.

The coins were issued during the reign of several Roman emperors, including Julian, Valentinian and Valens.

Now their discovery has been officially confirmed as treasure by Scarborough coroner Michael Oakley at a special inquest.

That means the British Museum Trust has "first refusal" on the find.

One estimate puts the value of almost pure silver coins at up to 150 each, with the value of bronze coins up to 5 each.

The money is likely to be shared between the land owner and the three metal detecting society members.

At last week's inquest, the coroner was told the find was made last September.

Robert Booth, who was one of those to uncover the coins, said: "We have had permission to search on the land since 2000 but never found anything.

"On September 14 we found coins which were just beneath the surface.

"They were only small, about the size of 5p pieces. We are members of the British Museums Trust so we contacted them and they collected the coins."

The coroner said museums were expected to show an interest in acquiring the coins. The British Museum would assess their value, which is likely to result in the land owner and the detectors sharing the proceeds.

A statement from the British Museum Trust told the inquest: "At the time the coins were issued great efforts were made by the Romans to find gold and silver for their coinage, therefore the coins were usually 95% pure."

Dennis Dunkerton, of Spink coin dealer's in York, said: "Silver coins, if in a good condition, could bring 150 but that depends on condition."

The bronze coins could fetch between 2 and 50 each.

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