Profitable Spring Plowing
Farmers prepare their soil each year for what they hope will be a profitable growing season. For an English plowman near Dover this season turned out better than usual. As the soil turned over and over a glint of gold flashed from the ground. But the plowman didn’t see it.
Later on, someone with a metal detector showed up, made a deal with the landowner, and began to carefully search each and every furrow.
Once again, gold flashed – this time seen by the intrepid detectorist, who shortly unearthed a third century Roman gold coin, an “aureus” of 24 karats from the time of Allectus, in excellent condition!
Now, it’s great to find a gold coin. It’s even greater to find one that is really rare – so rare that the only other one of its type is in the British Museum. Beyond that, the fact that only one coin was found meant that the British treasure statutes don’t apply. The anticipated handsome proceeds of the auction were between $88,000 and $125,000. The actual selling price of the 4.31-gram gold coin, which is only slightly larger than the current penny, was five times the expected price... $695,000! Proceeds will happily be split between the metal detectorist and the plowman.