Incredible 2,300-year-old Roman coin sells for £550,000 at auction


Incredible 2,300-year-old Roman coin emblazoned with the face of ‘the first Brexiteer’ sells for £550,000 at auction after being spotted by an amateur metal detectoris

  • Emperor Allectus took Britain out of the Roman Empire during his reign in 293AD
  • His face is emblazoned on the immaculately preserved coin found in Dover 
  • Anonymous hobbyist found the coin in a ploughed field near a Roman road 
  • Sold for £550,000 at an auction by London-based Dix Noonan Webb 

A stunning gold coin emblazoned with the face of Roman Emperor Allectus – the first Brexiteer who took Britain out of the Roman Empire – has sold for a staggering £550,000.

The incredibly rare coin was found by an unnamed treasure hunter as he searched a newly-ploughed field next to an old Roman road near Dover, Kent. 

It was purchased by an enthusiast, also unnamed, and is worth far more now than it was when it was minted 1,700 years ago. 

Known as an Aureus, the 24 carat gold coin has just one matching example in the world which is in the British Museum and is thought to have been worth 25 pure silver dinarii. 

The coin depicts a noble-looking Allectus on one face and on the flip side has two captives kneeling at the feet of Apollo. 

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A stunning gold coin emblazoned with the face of Roman Emperor Allectus - the first Brexiteer who took Britain out of the Roman Empire - has sold for a staggering £550,000. The incredibly rare coin was found by an unnamed treasure hunter

A stunning gold coin emblazoned with the face of Roman Emperor Allectus – the first Brexiteer who took Britain out of the Roman Empire – has sold for a staggering £550,000. The incredibly rare coin was found by an unnamed treasure hunter

When it was found in April this year, experts expected it to sell at auction for £100,000 ($130,000), a fraction of what it sold for today.

The 30-year-old finder initially thought the coin was fake due to its condition until it weighed in at a hefty 4.31 grams – confirming its provenance. 

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It dates back to 293AD and the reign of Emperor Allectus – the first Brexiteer who took Britain out of the Roman Empire.  

The coin, the first Allectus example to be discovered in 50 years, is roughly the size of a one penny piece.

The detectorist said: ‘This really is the find of a lifetime for me and the greatest discovery I have made by miles.

‘At first I was quite sceptical of its authenticity because it was so shiny but when I realised what it could be potentially I just completely freaked out by it.

‘It was then authenticated by the British Museum and the specialist there was just as ecstatic as me. He said it was one of the best finds he had ever seen.’    

Allectus ruled in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296AD.

He is best known for his to attempts to lead a rebel empire, effectively annexing Britain from Rome.

He has been dubbed by many as a ‘Brexiteer of his day’ and was assassinated in battle in 296AD.  

WHO IS EMPEROR ALLECTUS?

Roman Emperor Allectus is sometimes known as the first Brexiteer who took Britain out of the Roman Empire in the third century AD. 

Allectus ruled in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296AD.

He is best known for his to attempts to lead a rebel empire, effectively annexing Britain from Rome.

He has been dubbed by many as a ‘Brexiteer of his day’ and was assassinated in battle in 296AD

Allectus was a usurper, according to historians.

Usurper is a term used to describe an illegal claimant to the throne without securing ‘the consent of the governed.’ 

Usurpers were a common feature of the late Roman Empire, especially from the crisis of the third century onwards. 

Every new emperor, either legal or illegal, marked the beginning of his rule by minting new coins, both for the prestige of declaring oneself as Augustus and to pay the loyal soldiers their share.

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Roman coins, or coinage, is often the only evidence of a determined usurpation such as that of Allectus. 

It was purchased by an enthusiast, also unnamed, and is worth far more now than it was when it was minted 1,700 years ago

The coin depicts a noble-looking Allectus on one face and on the flip side has two captives kneeling at the feet of Apollo

An anonymous hobbyist found the coin in a newly-ploughed field near an ancient Roman road in Dover, Kent

The 24 carat gold coin, known as an Aureus, has just one matching example in in the world which is in the British Museum and originally would have been worth 25 pure silver dinarii

The 24 carat gold coin, known as an Aureus, has just one matching example in in the world which is in the British Museum and originally would have been worth 25 pure silver dinarii

He is best known for his to attempts to lead a rebel empire, effectively annexing Britain from Rome.

He has been dubbed by many as a ‘Brexiteer of his day’ and was assassinated in battle in 296AD. 

Nigel Mills, of a coin consultant from Dix Noonan Webb, said: ‘This is an amazing find and is one of the finest condition coins out there.

‘I’ve never seen one like it in my 40 years of work so it really is a remarkable discovery.

‘We always expected it to attract a lot of interest as it just had everything going for it.

‘The rarity is there, the condition is there and it’s made of 24 carat gold all of which make it an fantastic coin.’ 

It can be sold as under the existing Treasure Act single gold coins do not count as treasure and as such the coroner does not have to be notified.

The are controversial plans to revise the current legislation that include redefining single gold coins as treasure upon their discovery.

Allectus ruled in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296AD. He is best known for his to attempts to lead a rebel empire, effectively annexing Britain from Rome

He has been dubbed by many as a 'Brexiteer of his day' and was assassinated in battle in 296AD

It can be sold as under the existing Treasure Act single gold coins do not count as treasure and as such the coroner does not have to be notified. The are controversial plans to revise the current legislation that include redefining single gold coins as treasure upon their discovery

HOW DO METAL DETECTORS WORK?  

The invention of the metal detector cannot be truly claimed by one person. 

It is a combination and amalgamation of several different pieces of technology. 

Alexander Graham Bell did fashion a device that was an electromagnetic, metal locating machine.

This was based on a device invented by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. 

Sometime later, an engineer Gerhard Fischer, filed a patent regarding a design. 

A metal detector consists of a stabiliser, control box, shaft, and search coil. 

It is the two coils that are actually responsible for the detection of metal. 

The outer coil is the transmitter coil while the inner coil is the receiver coil. 

This works to detect and amplify frequencies. This type of technology is known as Very Low Frequency or VLF technology. 

When electricity is provided to this transmitter coil, there is a magnetic field created around the coil.

This is the same science behind electromagnets.  

When the machine wafts over metal the electrons in the metal – due to its metallic bonding and sea of electrons surrounding a fixed positively charged mass –  are affected by the magnetic field. 

The change in the electrons triggers a tiny electrical field in the metal object which alters the frequency of the metal detector. 

This indicates  metal is present.  

More advanced metal detectors are also able of differentiating between different types of metal ad the frequency change is different and therefore the pitch of the note is altered. 

Source: The Detectorist 

 





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