A hoard of 90 Roman coins seized by police in a south Shropshire man’s bedroom have been declared treasure trove – meaning they are now the property of the crown.
The silver coins – 87 complete and three broken, some still with soil stuck to them – are believed to date back as early as 71 AD.
They were seized by police from the bedroom of Brady Marston, of Station Crescent, Craven Arms.
The 24-year-old told the hearing that the coins had been left to him by his late grandfather.
But an inquest held at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury was asked to consider when the coins were unearthed.
Before 1997, treasure trove referred to items that were buried with the intention of being found.
In this scenario, unless the true finder could be identified, the treasure became property of the crown.
But since 1997 the law has defined treasure trove as two or more coins of 10 per cent precious metals or 10 or more coins that are over 300 years old.
Shropshire Council’s finds liaison officer Peter Reavill gave evidence to the hearing and said he believed, due to the coins’ condition, that they had likely been found after 1997.
But Mr Marston told the hearing that the coins had been left to him by his late grandfather, Phillip Davis, when he was around seven or eight years old – close to the date of the change in the law.
He also told the court that his grandfather had never told him specifically that he had found the coins, or when and where they were found.
Shropshire coroner Mr John Ellery said: “Under the new law, in the event that I do not have a clear date I have to refer to the old law.
“On the evidence, and by applying the presumption, I declare that the 90 Roman denarii are a treasure trove.
“I will also record that we do not know the original finder or when and where they were found. All we know is that the present keeper is Brady Marston.”
Mr Marston told the hearing he was keen to have the coins returned to him – though the ruling that they are treasure trove means they will now become property of the crown and he will need to make an application to the British Museum to attempt to have them returned to him.
Courtesy: Shropshire Star