It was in January 2020 that a metal detectorist searching a field near Fakenham in Norfolk found a silver coin which he recognised as a siliqua from the late Roman period. He then spent the rest of the day searching in the vicinity and found 40 coins in total. Returning the next day another 40 were recovered. With the Covid lockdowns it took two years before the total reached 432 silver coins, with each coin plotted using a GPS unit.
The first 73 will be offered at Noonans Mayfair in a sale of Ancient Coins and Antiquities on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. This tranche is estimated to fetch £10,000-12,500.
Nigel Mills, Coin & Artefact Specialist at Noonans, said: “The hoard had in fact spread out over a third of an acre through disturbance by ploughing and has been recorded under the treasure act and returned to the finder after being disclaimed.”
The hoard is likely to have been deposited at the beginning of the 5th century AD with the latest coin of Honorious dating no later than 402AD. There have been other Roman treasure finds of gold and silver in other areas of East Anglia, including the Hoxne and Thetford hoards which reflect the wealth and importance of the area.”
Nigel commented: “The most interesting coin in this hoard is an excessively rare presentation silver Third Miliarensis issued by Theodosius in 380AD. The coin has on the reverse a Phoenix standing on a globe with the legend PERPETVETAS. At this time the empire was ruled jointly by Gratian, his half-brother Valentinian II, and Theodosius so this coin together with an example of each of the other two co-emperors could have provided a donative payment of a Miliarensis celebrating a military victory. This coin is only the fifth known specimen (the other four are in museums) so this is the only one available to buy. We expect it to fetch £2,000-2,600.”