In the money
ASIGNIFICANT collection of 186 ancient coins spanning 25 centuries has been discovered in a drawer at Scotney castle, Kent.
The hoard, which research suggests was amassed by edward hussey III and his son edwy in the 19th century, mostly includes Roman money, as well as coins from as far afield as Syria and china. One coin—among the earliest silver tokens struck in europe, with a depiction of a sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite—dates back to 7th-century bc Greece and a Welsh penny forged in 1787 features a druid and is inscribed with the words ‘We promise to pay the bearer one penny’. eighteen of the coins have been classed as ‘rare’ by the Museum of London Archaeology, which calls the find ‘significant and diverse’.
The high quantity of Roman coins in the collection, from the late 2nd century bc to the late 4th century ad, suggests that the husseys were trying to gather a complete set of Roman rulers. Despite the magnitude of the task—roman succession was complex and many coins from the shorter reigns extremely rare—they were close to achieving it.
‘The hussey family lived at Scotney for two centuries and collected a wealth of objects and memorabilia,’ explains henrike Philipp, part of the volunteer team that found the coins. ‘ever since the Trust took on the house , we’ve been discovering things in drawers, cupboards and in the mansion archives, such as medieval papers, First World War diaries and books by celebrated landscape gardener William Gilpin. We can’t wait to see what we will find next.’
The coins will form part of a new exhibition, ‘Inside the collection’ (until February 4, 2018), celebrating a decade since the Trust opened Scotney castle to visitors.