WHAT has been described as the most important hoard of Roman 3rd Century coins found in Britain since the 1930s will be on public display at Bexhill Museum from Monday, February 4.
Enthusiast Tim Simmonds, of Burwash, was hurrying home in the rain in 2005 with his metal detector swinging at his side when suddenly the instrument started beeping. Tim said: “When it started beeping I thought sod it But then you think ‘what if…’” In a hole three inches deep he found three coins which he dismissed as George III pennies. Months later, an expert identified them as Roman silver antoniani coins.
Tim spent weeks trying to remember the spot where he’d found them. Then he had an inspiration in bed at three in the morning. “When I started to dig, I couldn’t have picked them out fast enough. “The ground was covered in clover and as I picked out the coins they were coming up like dangling earrings on the roots. They were silver and they were still sparkling. “My heart was thumping. I could hardly breathe. I knew it was real but it was of a nature like a dream.”
Tim’s 1,900-coin find weighed 15 kilos and was declared treasure by Coroner Alan Craze.
Curator Julian Porter says of the hoard: “The coins themselves are especially rare and it is of national significance and of great local interest because it was found in our part of the county. “We are extremely fortunate that Brighton Museum was able to acquire them and loan them out to the museums who are interested. “It is extremely pleasing that we have the display that Brighton have done because there is a lot of detail about the hoard and the individual emperors and empresses on some of the more important coins. “Some of them got killed by their own side and don’t appear to have been too popular..!”
The Wealden Hoard will be on exhibition throughout the Spring and Summer at Bexhill Museum, where the main exhibition running until mid-December will be Sussex Folklore -Farming, Festivals and Fertility.
Bexhill Museum, situated in Egerton Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, is an independent, accredited museum which is run by volunteers. Opening times are Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11am-5pm.