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Weekly Highlights

Coin Hoards

With all of the attention over the past number of years with provenance on coins to curtail illegal digging and trafficking, along with issues of importing, dealers are trying harder to add as much as they can about a coin’s history of ownership. One of the best and most interesting pieces of provenance is when a coin comes to market that is part of a documented hoard. Not only do you get to own a piece of history with Coin Hoards, you also get to know exactly where it was found after being hidden for centuries.

The documentation of a hoard can sometimes lead to a better understanding of rarities of a given type or ruler and can be used as a reference, such as the Reka-Devnia Hoard found in Bulgaria in 1929. It consisted of 81,044 Roman denarii, spanning from 64 to 238 AD. More recently, some amazing hoards have been found by detectorists, such as the Hoxne Hoard, and reported to the local authorities as required by the Treasure Act of 1996. The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in the United Kingdom was designed to discourage nighthawks (detectorists digging under the cover of darkness to avoid authorities) and encourage responsible detectorists to report finds to have them determined if they are considered treasure under the rules of the system. If the find is ruled as treasure, the finder and the owner of where the treasure was found is compensated at fair market value and a museum or other interested public entity acquires the items to be displayed. It’s a well-designed system to be fair to everyone and could be an excellent model for other countries to use instead of what most do – declare everything found belongs to the state, which just encourages people to not report anything and any information about the hoard and what could be learned from it is lost. You can read more about the PAS here:

https://finds.org.uk/

Another benefit of hoard coins is they are sometimes extremely well preserved, since they were often hidden in some kind of a container. Sometimes the container was a purse, bag, box or other organic material which has since decayed in the ground, but in other cases the coins and other items were buried in a jug or sealed container and acquire very eye-appealing surface colors or patina. The Langtoft Hoard, found in Yorkshire in two parts in 2000, contained 976 coins in one part and 924 coins in the second part, all in pots. Since the coins were protected, some of the Late Roman bronzes retained much of their silver-washed surfaces. I wrote about that hoard on my website, using information from a number of sources, including fellow VCoins dealer Antony Wilson of York Coins:

http://beastcoins.com/Hoards/Langtoft/Langtoft.htm

And more about the previously mentioned Hoxne Hoard is here:

http://www.ancient.eu/article/932/

At VCoins right now, there are more than 500 coins for sale with provenances which link them to a specific hoard. Here is just a sample of these very interesting pieces that can help you break the ice when talking with non-collectors about direct links to history:

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