Treasure hunters have set a record for the largest coin hoard discovered in the British Isles after unearthing 69,347 Roman and Celtic coins that were buried three feet beneath a hedge in Jersey, Channel Isles.
Reg Mead and Richard Miles, two metal detectorists, spent 30 years looking for the £10 million treasure after a woman reported seeing what appeared to be silver buttons nearby.
Their find – made in 2012 – trumps the previous record holding discovery of 54,951 Iron Age coins unearthed in Wiltshire in 1978.
Some of the silver and gold relics from the Guinness Record setting discovery, dated to around 50BC, will go on display at La Hougue Bie Museum on the island.
“We are not surprised at this achievement and are delighted that such an impressive archaeological item was discovered, examined and displayed in Jersey,” said curator of archaeology at Jersey Heritage Olga Finch.
“Once again, it puts our Island in the spotlight of international research of Iron Age coinage and demonstrates the world class heritage that Jersey has to offer.”
Mr Miles said he and Mr Mead had been involved in the process the whole way through and described receiving the Guinness World Record certificates as ‘lovely’.
The coins were discovered to have been buried in a pile of clay that was 55 x 31 x 8 inches in size and weighed three quarters of a ton. They were designated a “treasure” in accordance with the Treasure Act of 1996, which means that although though the finders are eligible for a prize, they actually belong to the Queen.
Mr Mead has said that the least valuable coins in the hoard are likely to be worth £100 each, suggesting a valuation of several million pounds, without taking into account the precious jewellery also found in it.
However, there has been discussion over whether the price would come down because so many coins had been found, reducing their rarity.
The historic Roman town of Cunetio, which is close to Mildenhall, is where the previous greatest coin hoard from Wiltshire was found in 1978. 150,000 silver medieval pennies from the 13th Century were discovered in Brussels in 1908, making it the greatest hoard of coins ever discovered.