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Denarius of Trajan

This coin was unearthed in Dorset and the finder, David Eagles, said it came off a field that has been ‘done to death’. Experienced detectorists will have heard tales like this before. Many of us will know that fields that are said to be worked out can suddenly give up a nice find. This can apply in particular to club sites. Many detectorists can have searched a site on many occasions but there are always spots that have never been covered by the search head of a detector.

David’s find is a Roman denarius and it was thought that it could be a coin of Hadrian. However, it is slightly earlier.

If the whole of the obverse legend was clear then it would read IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC around the laureate head of the emperor. On the reverse the seated figure of Fortuna holds a cornucopia and a rudder and below, in the exergue, is FORT RED; the rest of the legend on this side reads P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R.

Rather than being a coin of Hadrian, this denarius was struck for Trajan. In volume II of David Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values this type is said to have been struck at Rome during AD 116.


The end of the obverse legend isn’t altogether clear but David’s find is otherwise in VF condition with nice surfaces. It should be worth £80 – £100 to a collector and proves that even a ‘done to death’ field still contained an attractive Roman silver coin.

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