Rare Celtic coin found in Wiltshire field sells for £4,400

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Rare Celtic coin found in Wiltshire field sells for £4,400

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Image caption: The coin was found by a metal detectorist at a wheat field in Royal Wootton Bassett

By Bea Swallow
BBC News
A rare Celtic gold coin discovered by metal detectorists in a field has sold for £4,400 at auction - double its guide price.

The coin, known as a Savernake Wheel, is more than 2,000 years old and is one of only seven known examples.

It was uncovered close to Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire and auctioned off at RWB Auctions in Swindon on Wednesday.

Bought by a local buyer, the coin will be donated to a Wiltshire museum.

Experts believe the coin was minted by a small tribe who lived in the Savernake Forest, and it may not have travelled more than 10 miles (16km) since then.

Weighing just 1.22g (0.04oz) and measuring 1cm in diameter, it is smaller than a five pence piece.

"When we see Celtic coins, we know there are only a few hundred made. Then only a few of those survive," said coin expert Kimberly Day, who sold the piece at RWB Auctions.

"So holding that sort of coin in your hand, you know you're holding something that was rare in its time and even rarer now," she added.

Prior to its sale, the coin had been given a guide price of between £2,000 and £2,500.

'Piece of history'
One side of the coin depicts a Celtic-style horse and a six-spoked chariot wheel, or "sun-wheel", which could represent changes in the seasons.

While difficult to decipher, experts believe the other side illustrates a wreath with abstract hair and crescents pictured below.

"We were delighted to see the Savernake Quarter Stater achieve almost double its estimate in our sale this week," Ms Day said.

"It is amazing that something that is so tiny can generate such high levels of international interest, but we are thrilled that it was bought by someone in Wiltshire.

"The new owners have informed us that the coin will be donated to a local museum, so that this piece of history will remain in the county where it was minted over 2,000 years ago," she added.

Full details at BBC.
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