Somerset museum attempts to keep Roman coin hoard

Frome Hoard
Image caption Finder David Crisp said they were Somerset coins

The deadline is looming for a Somerset museum to try to stop what is thought to be the largest ever find of Roman coins from leaving the county.

Last April, a hoard of more than 52,500 coins were found in a field near Frome.

The Museum of Somerset wants to keep them in the county, but is struggling to raise the £320,000 needed to stop them being sold at auction.

The museum, which has so far raised just over £90,000, has until 19 February to raise the full amount.

Steve Minnitt, head of museums at Somerset County Council Heritage Service, said he "lived in hope" that the full amount would be raised.

"If the coins were placed on the open market and sold - that would be the worst outcome."

'Not about money'

The hoard, which dates back 1,700 years, was found by Dave Crisp, a hospital chef from Wiltshire.

"It's such an important thing that Somerset gets these coins and they are on display for the people of Somerset," he said.

Image caption The Roman coin hoard is the largest ever found in a single pot

"The people that buried these coins, the Romans, they had been here nearly 300 years - they were Somerset people by then... so these are Somerset coins.

"I think it would be a great shame if Somerset lost and they went to another museum."

If the museum cannot raise the money, then the coins will be returned to the finder and land owner who can do what they want with them.

Mr Crisp said: "This is not about the money for me. This is all about being the finder of the largest single hoard of Roman coins ever.

"The day I found it and then for the last year I haven't had so much fun in all my life."

The Museum of Somerset held a fundraising event at the Bishop's Palace, Wells, on Wednesday afternoon.

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