South Petherton Hoard, Somerset, England, 2013.

South Petherton Hoard

Discovered on November 13th, 2013 by a Mr. George Hughes at the village of South Petherton, Somerset, England. The 7,563 coins in the hoard date from A.D. 161-274, the group is very typical in composition to the many Romano-British coin hoards buried after fall of the breakaway Gallic Empire in AD 274. The final coin in the hoard is of the central empire ruler Aurelian and can be dated to A.D. 274, struck in Milan, the hoard being deposited sometime after.

The vast majority of the coins in the hoard are debased Antoninianii of the Gallic Empire and would have probably had little contemporary value alongside the new and larger reformed coinage of the central empire represented here by the 52 coins of Aurelian that close the hoard. Whilst we will never know the exact reason for the concealment of this hoard or more crucially its none recovery, the relative worthlessness of hoard at the time and certainly within a few decades of burial must be an important consideration.

Initially discovered by Mr. Hughes with the aid of a metal detector, the hoard was recovered fully intact with the aid of the local farmer, upon whose land it was found and under the guidance of a professional local archaeologist. The hoard was promptly reported to the British Museum and processed according to the UK Treasure Act. Somerset Museum acquired the Sestertius and Copper ring; the remainder returned to the finder and subsequently made available to private collectors. The coins offered for sale here have been expertly cleaned and curated. The image below (courtesy of the PAS website) shows the coins in their natural state upon discovery.

South Petherton Hoard
South Petherton Hoard

Below is a summary of the hoards composition (all radiates unless noted):

Central Empire
Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-80), 1 (sestertius)
Wars of the Succession (AD 193-7)
Septimius Severus, 1 (denarius)
Gordian III (AD 238-44), 1
Philip I (AD 244-9), 1
Decius (AD 249-51), 1
Herennia Etruscilla, 1
Trebonianus Gallus (AD 251-3), 4
Joint reign of Valerian & Gallienus (AD 253-60)
Valerian I, 107
Gallienus, 45
Uncertain (Valerian or Gallienus), 1
Salonina, 60
Valerian II, 4
Divus Valerian II, 12
Saloninus Caesar, 10
Saloninus Augustus, 1
Sole reign of Gallienus (AD 260-8)
Gallienus, 1364
Salonina, 101
Claudius II (AD 268-70), 760
Divus Claudius II, 67
Quintillus (AD 270), 121
Aurelian (AD 270-5), 52 – latest coin fourth series at Milan (= AD 274)

Gallic Empire
Postumus (AD 260-9), 773
Laelian (AD 269), 23
Marius (AD 269), 81
Victorinus (AD 269-71), 3296
Tetricus I (AD 271-4), 526
Tetricus II, 112
Uncertain Gallic emperor, 3
Emperor illegible, 1
Irregular as (Claudian copy), 1
Irregular radiates, 33

Further Information and Links
Portable Antiquities Scheme Record: Link to PAS website

Local News Website: Somerset Live News Coverage