Rare Roman coin worth £60,000 found in field near Stamford Bridge

York Press: Colin Popplewell pictured with the Roman coin of Proculus Colin Popplewell pictured with the Roman coin of Proculus

TWO metal detectorists say a Roman coin they have found in a field near Stamford Bridge could net them at least £60,000 – and will change the world’s understanding of Roman history.

Colin Popplewell and Mark Hildreth say the silver coin is only the second one ever to be found featuring the “usurper” Emperor Proculus.

They said coin experts around the globe are hugely excited by the discovery, and an auction house which is coming to York today to examine the coin has said it could fetch between £60,000 and £80,000.

“We’ve been metal detecting for 30 years and it’s the find of a lifetime,” said Colin, from the Wigginton Road area of York, who was out detecting with Mark in the area of a former Roman road earlier this month when he discovered the coin.

He said while he did not recognise the emperor’s features, he did not initially realise its rarity or value. He and Mark photographed the coin out in the field and put the image on a Facebook site used by metal detectorists.

Julian Evan-Hart, a metal detecting expert, investigated and told them it was a coin minted to mark the brief rise to power of Proculus in 280AD.

Mark, from the Hallfield Road area, said they would give a proportion of the proceeds to the farmer who owns the field and gave them permission to go detecting, and then share the remainder between them 50/50, as they had always agreed. He said a single coin was not considered treasure trove and therefore did not need to go to an inquest.

Mr Evan-Hart said: “Colin has made an astounding contribution to world numismatics by this find of a single debased silver coin. It is true history will now have to be re-written as there are now two coins of Proculus in the world – and how great is that?”

“Proculus is no longer the subject of a single known coin, we now now that he had coinage. Although we suspected it before, it is now fact.

Christopher Webb, of specialist auctioneers and valuers of coins, Dix Noonan Webb, said it was an “extremely rare and valuable coin, possibly the second known.” He said at auction, it could fetch up to £50,000, but this estimate was later raised to between £60,000 and £80,000.

Proculus facts

PROCULUS was a Roman usurper who challenged Emperor Probus’s right to be emperor in 280.

An ambitious soldier, he proclaimed himself joint emperor with Bonosus at the invitation of the people of Lugdunum (Lyon), who had started a rebellion against Emperor Probus. On Probus’ return from fighting in Syria, he forced Proculus to retreat north. Proculus was eventually handed over to Probus, who had him killed in 281.

Comments (11)

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1:15pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Mickey T says...

Sure it's not Eric Pollard who dug it up?
Sure it's not Eric Pollard who dug it up? Mickey T
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Mickey T says...

Sure it's not Eric Pollard who dug it up?
Sure it's not Eric Pollard who dug it up? Mickey T
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Fri 16 Nov 12

metsaagain says...

this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks...
this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks... metsaagain
  • Score: 1

1:34pm Fri 16 Nov 12

ysb45 says...

Hello, my name is David, a native of York, AKA Eboracum.
That is actually my coin. I lost it while foraging in the countryside just where they found it. I am "SO HAPPY", and I am lokking forward to having it returned.
Contact me at USA 903-842-3282.
Hello, my name is David, a native of York, AKA Eboracum. That is actually my coin. I lost it while foraging in the countryside just where they found it. I am "SO HAPPY", and I am lokking forward to having it returned. Contact me at USA 903-842-3282. ysb45
  • Score: 0

1:55pm Fri 16 Nov 12

ysb45 says...

Just to mention - the post from David USA is just a silly joke - OH WELL!
Just to mention - the post from David USA is just a silly joke - OH WELL! ysb45
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Fri 16 Nov 12

capt spaulding says...

ysb45 wrote:
Hello, my name is David, a native of York, AKA Eboracum.
That is actually my coin. I lost it while foraging in the countryside just where they found it. I am "SO HAPPY", and I am lokking forward to having it returned.
Contact me at USA 903-842-3282.
Is it your Nigerian cousin who wants me to accept his inheritance of 3 million pounds into my account so he doesnt have to pay tax in Nigeria with the generous offer of 10% as soon as he has my bank details.
[quote][p][bold]ysb45[/bold] wrote: Hello, my name is David, a native of York, AKA Eboracum. That is actually my coin. I lost it while foraging in the countryside just where they found it. I am "SO HAPPY", and I am lokking forward to having it returned. Contact me at USA 903-842-3282.[/p][/quote]Is it your Nigerian cousin who wants me to accept his inheritance of 3 million pounds into my account so he doesnt have to pay tax in Nigeria with the generous offer of 10% as soon as he has my bank details. capt spaulding
  • Score: 0

2:39pm Fri 16 Nov 12

yorkborn66 says...

I was walking across that field with my dog a couple of years ago, and realized afterwards that I had dropped a roman coin that I had previously found and kept as a keepsake. Thank you for finding it for me. Can I have it back please for a little reward your way?
I was walking across that field with my dog a couple of years ago, and realized afterwards that I had dropped a roman coin that I had previously found and kept as a keepsake. Thank you for finding it for me. Can I have it back please for a little reward your way? yorkborn66
  • Score: 0

10:50pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Davy Crocket says...

Half a pound of sausage meat and two dozen eggs please. I wonder what I will find in my Christmas Pud this year.
Half a pound of sausage meat and two dozen eggs please. I wonder what I will find in my Christmas Pud this year. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 0

11:51pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Yorkie-Clifton says...

I am waiting for pedalling Paul to tell us he dropped this coin on one of his exploratory missions . He wanted to cause as much trouble to the Romans as possible . Times don't change with this Guy ,
I am waiting for pedalling Paul to tell us he dropped this coin on one of his exploratory missions . He wanted to cause as much trouble to the Romans as possible . Times don't change with this Guy , Yorkie-Clifton
  • Score: 0

8:17am Sat 17 Nov 12

gmc_1963 says...

metsaagain wrote:
this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks...
I think you will find that's a quote
[quote][p][bold]metsaagain[/bold] wrote: this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks...[/p][/quote]I think you will find that's a quote gmc_1963
  • Score: 0

10:18am Sat 17 Nov 12

metsaagain says...

gmc_1963 wrote:
metsaagain wrote:
this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks...
I think you will find that's a quote
It's not entirely clear whether it's a direct quote from the detectorists or whether its a summation of what they were saying. Whichever, it's still a massive hyperbole. Proculus was a minor political figure; I'm not sure that the discovery of two of his coins rather than just the one is going to particularly impact on our understanding of Proculus or Roman history- it's just a footnote to a footnote... That doesn't impact on the rarity or the value, it's simply just not historically particularly significant.
[quote][p][bold]gmc_1963[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]metsaagain[/bold] wrote: this really really is not rewriting the history books. A little bit of journalistic hyperbole methinks...[/p][/quote]I think you will find that's a quote[/p][/quote]It's not entirely clear whether it's a direct quote from the detectorists or whether its a summation of what they were saying. Whichever, it's still a massive hyperbole. Proculus was a minor political figure; I'm not sure that the discovery of two of his coins rather than just the one is going to particularly impact on our understanding of Proculus or Roman history- it's just a footnote to a footnote... That doesn't impact on the rarity or the value, it's simply just not historically particularly significant. metsaagain
  • Score: 0

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