A birdwatcher in eastern England has discovered the largest hoard of Celtic gold coins ever found in Britain. The birder has been observing a glorious instance of aerial combat between a large brown buzzard and two magpies through his binoculars. When they moved out view, he glanced down and saw something in the groove of recently-ploughed soil. He picked up the circular piece, figuring it was an old metal washer, but when he wiped off the mud, he saw the glint of gold. What glittered in this case was in fact gold, a Celtic full stater from the middle of the 1st century.
After he spotted a second one a couple of feet away, the birdwatcher switched to another of his avid hobbies, running home to fetch his metal detector. He scanned the area where he had found the two coins and quickly found another two gold coins. Then he got a particularly a strong signal and began to dig down. Just 18 inches under the surface, he unearthed another circular object. It looked like a copper bracelet, but when he pulled it up a shower of gold fell on him like he was Danae. The circle was actually the rim of Roman vase or jug that had been filled with coins and buried.
Alas, the finder did not stop what he was doing to alert archaeologists. He filled two large shopping bags with what are estimated to be around 1,300 gold coins and walked home with them. He then called in the find to the coroner’s office. The coins are now being assessed before the inquest that will declare them treasure under the terms of the 1996 Treasure Act. As far as monetary value goes, each coin could be worth up to $880 dollars, depending on condition.
This is a new record for a Celtic gold coin hoard. The previous record-holder was a hoard of 850 coins discovered at Wickham Market, Suffolk, in 2008.