Beginner metal detectorist finds Civil War coins worth £24,000

The coins were worth £10 each during their time, around £2,000 today. (SWNS)
The coins were worth £10 each during their time, around £2,000 today. (SWNS)
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An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed a haul of Civil War coins showing the face of Charles I that could be worth £24,000.

Steve Simmons, 63, had only been detecting for just two months and had not found a single coin when he made the discovery in a field near the village of Box in Wiltshire.

Simmons was using his metal detector on a rocky and rough field when he dug up the nearly 400-year-old pieces of metal.

Finding two coins just six inches below the ground, Simmons pocketed them unaware of what they were.

It was only during later online searches he realised he had two Charles I gold unites – the second English gold coin that was first produced under the reign of King James I.

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Some of the Civil War coins at the place they were found. (SWNS)
Some of the Civil War coins at the place they were found. (SWNS)

Simmons then decided to upgrade his detector and a few days later went back to the spot where he had found the unites and close by found another 12 coins buried in a stack 18 inches down.

It is thought the 14 coins were buried by a soldier loyal to King Charles at their camp in Wiltshire, the day before facing parliamentary forces eight miles away at the Battle of Lansdowne.

Serving under Lord Hopton, Royalists lost the Civil War battle suffering heavy casualties on 5 July 1643, at Lansdowne Hill, near Bath.

The coins depict portraits of the first Stuart king, James I and his son, Charles I – dating from 1606, with the latest coin dating to 1641 and 1643.

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Steve Simmons with his metal detector. (SWNS)
Steve Simmons with his metal detector. (SWNS)

Each coin had a face value of £10, which would have been enough to buy a horse at the time, and is worth more than £2,000 today, experts said.

Nigel Mills, consultant in coins and artefacts at Noonans auctioneers in Mayfair, central London, said: "We can imagine that on the 4th of July 1643 at a royalist encampment near Box in Wiltshire, an army officer knelt and started digging in the dirt.

"He took off the gold half laurel that hung around his neck and added it to the leather pouch that contained a further 13 gold coins and concealed them in the small pit.

"Serving under Lord Hopton he would be facing the parliamentary forces at Lansdowne Hill the next day, a battle they would lose with heavy casualties including his own."

The hoard of 14 gold coins is now being sold at auction and is estimated to fetch around £24,000.

Simmons is hoping to put the money from the sale towards his own retirement and invest in another detector which he hopes will help him make more discoveries.