NEARLY £10,000 is being sought by museum chiefs in Malmesbury to buy an “amazing and significant” hoard of Roman coins found by a metal detectorist two years ago.

An appeal has been launched by Malmesbury’s Athelstan Museum after it was given the opportunity to buy the 1,266 coins held at the British Museum.

Athelstan Museum spokesperson Maria Marsh said: “The Malmesbury Coin Hoard is an important and unique discovery in this area.

“We were excited and pleased when Athelstan Museum was given the option to purchase the hoard.

“This is a rare chance to acquire an amazing and significant Roman coin hoard - to preserve it intact and in the area where it was found.”

Metal detectorist Tony Mims, a retired Army warrant officer of Colerne, uncovered the hoard while searching a field in Milbourne in 2012.

The copper-alloy coins from the late Roman period were discovered along with fragments of the pot that held them.

The coins are mainly from 307-317AD and were minted in London and other cities of the western Roman Empire, spanning the reigns of several emperors from what has been described as a “very dynamic time” in history.

Ms Marsh said: “They possibly represent the life savings of a local resident stored for safe-keeping but never retrieved.”

Mr Mims reported the hoard’s discovery to Wiltshire County's Finds Liaison Officer under the rules of the Portable Antiquities Scheme which governs such finds.

Because the discovery comprised a group of coins they were declared treasure by the Coroner and property of the Crown.

Now in the hands of the British Museum for safe-keeping the hoard is to be sold and could possibly be split up into multiple parts, depending on the purchasers.

During this process the Athelstan Museum was made aware of the hoard and expressed an interest in buying it.

The museum has now launched a Malmesbury Coin Hoard Appeal in order to “bring them home".

Ms Marsh said: “The hoard would be a real asset to our growing collection and would be of great benefit for the town and visitors to the museum.

“If the museum is able to acquire the Malmesbury Coin Hoard, we will put it on display once suitable arrangements can be made for it for all to enjoy.”

The museum is now seeking donations that can be made either online at, by posting a cheque to the Athelstan Museum, Town Hall, Malmesbury SN16 9BZ, or in person at the museum.

*Five years earlier a much smaller stash of Roman coins, from roughly the same period, was also discovered at a field in Milbourne.