Thursday 28 August 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Fake Coins Turning up in English Fields

(Museum Reproductions Ltd)
UKDFD 45779 is a coin found by "Hidden" (always hiding, those metal detecto
rists) in a field in Ongar region, Essex (parish also "hidden data"). This looks like a coin of Coenwulf of Mercia, tribrach type, Canterbury mint ('Spink 914; North 342') it is recorded as being of silver. The trouble is, it is a fake based on Museum Reproductions Ltd's No. 587.

With so much collecting activity going on in the UK, it is not surprising that the archaeological record is being contaminated by numerous visibly out-of-place artefacts. This one is visible, other out-of-place items may blend in to the background and not be spotted and find their way into databases like that of the PAS. This coin could have been one of a number of finds dropped in a field to be found by foreign metal detectorists paying as part of a detecting holiday, seeding 'club land' or rally site for the same reason, carried by somebody as a pocket-piece and accidentally dropped, a scattered and unwanted coin or artefact collection. Other possibilities exist, the potential for contamination is increasing.

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