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Malmesbury Roman coin hoard goes on display

The Malmesbury hoard of 1266 Roman coins will go on display today (8 April 2022) at the Athelstan Museum in Malmesbury. The hoard was found by detectorist Tony Mims in 2012.

The Find

Tony Mims, known to all as “Mimzy”, started detecting as child. However, his career in the army left him little time for his hobby. When he left the army at the age of 41, he began the hobby in earnest again. A chance conversation with a farmer piqued his interest and led him to go detecting in a particular field. Mimzy says “I’d never before found a hammered coin. However, within three paces I found my first one. In 2006, I found a number of Roman coins. It was in 2012, in a higher level of the field, that I came across the hoard. I got my trowel out and dug down into the clay and eventually found the top of a broken pot. I didn’t know the amount that was in there but I had a good idea that it was going to be over 1,000 coins

Mimzy took the hoard to Chippenham Museum and it was recorded at the PAS as WILT-032C93.

The Hoard

All but three of the coins are nummus dating to the period AD307-317. This period was dominated by two personalities: Constantine the Great (306-37), the first Christian emperor, and his pagan rival Licinius (308-24). In AD 317 the currency system was reformed, and these type and size of nummi were no longer minted.

The majority are from the mints of London, Trier and Lyon although there are a few from other mints from around the Roman Empire.

The Display

The hoard was purchased by the Athelstan Museum in 2015, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and V&A Purchase Grant.

The coins are shown along with the pot they were found in

Displaying the hoard was delayed by the pandemic, with the cabinet being installed a couple of weeks ago. Sharon Nolan, Chair of the Museum Council and Trustees said “This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by a group of volunteers resulting in a display showing the coin hoard to its best advantage.”

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