SF-DC15C9: SF-DC15C9: Early medieval coin: imitation solidus

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council
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Unique ID: SF-DC15C9

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Description: A complete gold early medieval pierced Anglo-Frisian gold Solidus, dating to the period c.AD 825-850, imitating a Solidus of Louis the Pious (AD 814-840).


Crude laureate, draped bust right with long vertical bar for nose, raised oval eye and blurred jawline. Struck slightly off-centre.


Suspended wreath containing a large cross pattée linked to wreath on vertical axis

Dimensions: Diameter: 22.33mm, thickness: 1.84mm, weight: 3.81g

The object contains a minimum of 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old. Consequently it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.


Normally a single gold coin found on its own would not meet the criteria for Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996. In this case, however, it was the opinion of the British Museum that modification of the coin into a pendant has removed it from circulation and transformed it into an object. Precious metal coins with piercings do not appear in currency hoards in the Early Medieval period, so it appears this transformation of the coin into an object was permanent. As it was greater than 300 years old and composed of more than 10% precious metal, the pendant met the criteria for Treasure.

However, at Inquest the Coroner cited another case he had recently considered (2015 T880; WILT-0FA13F) consisting of a single pierced silver denarius. He felt that opinion on this matter amongst experts was divided as to whether a single piercing of a coin was enough justification to say that it had been modified into an object, and his attention was drawn to silver pierced coins of similar age and type that had been recorded by the PAS and not submitted as potential Treasure. He therefore decided that there was not enough evidence to declare this item as Treasure.

Subsequently the British Museum and PAS examined the records of the other single precious metal coins with piercings and accepted that there were some which should have been reported as Treasure but were not. It clarified its advice on modified coins (https://finds.org.uk/treasure/advice/piercedcoins) and updated Finds Liaison Officers so that in future they would advise that such items should be reported. Single precious metal coins from the Iron Age to AD1180 in the Medieval period which have been modified in any way, including by a single piercing, are considered to fulfil the criteria for Treasure because they should be regarded as single precious metal objects.

All other precious metal coins that have been modified, including by a single piercing, and which have been reported under the Treasure Act have been declared Treasure by coroners.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder after being declared not Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2015T601


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 1.87 mm
Weight: 3.81 g
Diameter: 22.34 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 28th July 2015

Personal details

This information is restricted for your access level.

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2015T601

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Solidus
Ruler/issuer: Louis the Pious

Type: English/Frisian copy of a gold solidus of Louis the Pious

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Suffolk (County)
District: Mid Suffolk (District)
To be known as: Barham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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