After hunting for buried treasure for three decades – and not finding a great deal – even the most diligent of us might have given up.
But not Reg Mead and Richard Miles. The two amateur metal detectors kept up their search of the same area throughout the decades and have finally struck gold – or rather silver.
They have unearthed the largest hoard of Celtic coins ever found. Each one of the 30,000–50,000 coins is estimated to be worth around £200 each, putting the value of the haul at up to £10milion.
A coin in the hand: Archaeologists believe the hoard, found by two metal detectors, is worth about £10million
They are thought to be from the first century BC and were found buried 3ft deep under a hedge in a farmer’s field on Jersey.
Two thousand years ago the Channel Island – which remains a popular spot to stash large sums of money – was a refuge for tribes fleeing what is now northern France from the invading Roman armies.
As the legions of Julius Ceasar drew closer, the treasure is thought to have been buried by a Celtic tribe called the Coriosolitae, in the hope it could be dug up once the danger had passed.
Determined Reg Mead and Richard Miles spent decades searching a field in Jersey after hearing rumours that a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land
And there the coins – packed in clay and weighing a ton – have remained undisturbed until last week.
The men who discovered them, Mr Mead, 70, and Mr Miles, a customs officer in his 40s, suspected treasure was in the area three decades ago, when they heard rumours a farmer had found some silver pieces on his land. After a series of largely unsuccessful forays in the area, they unearthed a stash of 120 coins in February.
Mr Mead, a grandfather who lives with wife Ruth in St Clement, Jersey, said: ‘Richard found the first one and it was amazing – when you see him raising his hand above his head (saying) “got one”.’
The pair used a powerful metal detector known as a deepseeker to search for more treasure in the field and struck lucky last week.
Richard Miles and Reg Mead first stumbled across a find of 60 silver and one gold coin - believed to be part of the same haul - back in February this year
Getting the hoard out: Metal detector Reg Mead (centre, back, blue polo shirt) watches as archaeologists unearth the Celtic coin hoard
‘The machine picked up a really strong signal – so we immediately got in touch with professional archaeologists,’ Mr Mead said. ‘They started digging and we could not believe how many coins there were.
‘All of them were stuck together. I have been searching for things like this since 1959 and never found anything on this scale before.
‘We had been searching that land for 30 years.’
After four days of careful digging the hoard was hauled to the surface by crane. It will now be subject of an inquest to determine ownership rights.
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Hat tip to the Phantom Capitalist who writes: "I wonder how much 2000 year old paper will fetch you today."