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A metal detectorist is set to make a small fortune after uncovering an extremely historic and rare Roman gold coin.

The 4th century AD treasure was found one foot below the surface of a field near Wanstrow, Somerset.

The Solidus coin carries the portrait of Constantine I who was the first ruler to embrace the cult of Christianity.

Metal detectorist is set to make a small fortune after uncovering rare Roman gold coin worth £12,000


The detectorist, who wishes to remain anonymous, found item a Somerset field

Discovered close to old Roman road once used for transporting mined lead ore

Coin carries portrait of Constantine I, who was first ruler to embrace Christianity

By Peter Lloyd for MailOnline
3 August 2019

A metal detectorist is set to make a small fortune after uncovering an extremely historic and rare Roman gold coin.

The 4th century AD treasure was found one foot below the surface of a field near Wanstrow, Somerset.

The Solidus coin carries the portrait of Constantine I who was the first ruler to embrace the cult of Christianity.

It was discovered close to an old Roman road once used for transporting mined lead ore.


Two-faced: The reverse of the coin portrays Constantine riding his horse in battle holding a spear and shield with two fallen enemy soldiers below

Now, the detectorist is selling it with London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.

It is expected to fetch £12,000 - with the proceeds to be split between the finder and the farmer who gave him permission to detect on their land.

The detectorist, who wishes to remain anonymous, was intrigued by the field as it had a ‘curious, unnatural shape’ to it.

Using a second hand metal detector he initially uncovered a Roman brooch and several pieces of lead ore, before making the most significant discovery of his detecting life.

The reverse of the coin portrays Constantine riding his horse in battle holding a spear and shield with two fallen enemy soldiers below.

It commemorates his victory over Maxentius at Milvian bridge outside Rome in October 312, after which Constantine converted to Christianity.

Nigel Mills, antiquities specialist at Dix Noonan Webb, said: 'The coin is a magnificent example of a gold Solidus minted in 313-315 AD at Trier, the capital of Gaul.


Constantine The Great: The powerful general became sole ruler of the Roman empire in 324 after deposing of Licinius, who had ruled the eastern empire


'This was a new denomination introduced by Constantine in 310.

'On the obverse is a laureate portrait of the emperor, which had been the tradition for over 300 years but was about to change with a new headband called a diadem in 324.

'For the first time there is a break in the legend above the Emperor’s head symbolising a clear path to heaven from Constantine. He also stopped using the old Roman pagan gods on the reverses of his coins.

'On the reverse is an extremely rare portrayal of Constantine riding his horse in battle holding a spear and shield with two fallen enemy soldiers below.

'It commemorates his great victory over Maxentius at Milvian bridge outside Rome on October 28, 312. The British Museum has a similar example in their collection but with different spacing in the reverse legend. No Solidus of Constantine with this reverse has sold for many years.'

Constantine (272-337) accompanied his father Constantius I to Britain for a hardfought campaign against the Picts in northern Britain.

His father died from ill health at Eboracum (York) in 306 and Constantine was proclaimed as their new leader.

He became sole ruler of the Roman empire in 324 after deposing of Licinius, who had ruled the eastern empire.

The sale takes place on September 17.

WHO WAS CONSTANTINE THE GREAT?

Constantine The Great was a powerful general and ruler who lived from 27 February 272 – 22 May 337 AD.

He is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor.

This stopped people from punishing Christians, who had long been persecuted or killed for their faith.

He was acclaimed as emperor by the army in York (Eboracum) in 306.

He became sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 324 after deposing of Licinius, who had ruled the eastern empire.


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