THE largest hoard of Roman coins ever uncovered in Worcestershire – potentially worth thousands of pounds – has been officially declared as treasure.

The coins, once owned by a Roman soldier, were discovered on Bredon Hill in the summer by two metal detector enthusiasts on the site of a previously undiscovered Roman site.

The majority of the 3,874 coins, dating from between 244 and 282AD, were found inside a storage jar of the same period and feature 16 different Roman Emperors.

At an inquest yesterday deputy Worcestershire coroner Marguerite Elcock called the find ‘significant’.

Richard Henry, from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, showed the inquest examples of the coins which range from emperor Philip II to emperor Probus and some which had retained a significant amount of detail.

He said: “We believe it would be worth about 11 weeks’ pay for a soldier in that period.

“This is established through silver content. There is a suggestion it might have been a soldier or someone who had a link to authority or the imperial throne itself. But this is speculation.”

The Bredon Hoard – as it is now known – is of national significance as it was buried at least 70 years after the last date of the coins.

But its value remains a mystery for now.

Speaking after the inquest, Ian Richardson, treasure registrar at the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities and Treasure department, said such finds were not uncommon and it was difficult to put a value on the coins at this stage.

“It really depends on the make-up and condition of them,” he said.

“It would be up to the valuers. There might be some general rough ideas.

“It’s based on how fine the coins are themselves. A good example could be worth hundreds, a poor example might fetch less than £5.

"It’s so hard to speculate.”

He said the coins would now be valued by an expert before their final market worth is considered by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Worcestershire County Museum will then have four months to raise the required funding to keep the hoard in the county.

The hoard was discoverd by metal detector enthusiasts Jethro Carpenter and Mark Gilmore, both from Redditch.

Binman and father-of-two Mr Carpenter said the find was a childhood dream. “I have been doing metal detecting for 34 years,” he said.

“I put the detector into the hole and it came up with an overload sound. I thought it’s got to be something fairly big.”

After the inquest, Mr Gilmore said he and Mr Carpenter had agreed to share the 50 per cent of the value of the coins which they are entitled to.

The landowner – who has not been named to protect the exact whereabouts of the site – will be given the other half.