Bishop's Wood hoard



2015-06-26 11:20:21

The Bishop's Wood hoard of around 17,550 Roman coins was discovered in 1895 at Bishopswood in the Forest of Dean, UK.

The hoard, made up almost entirely of bronze coins, was deposited after AD 337, as many coins contain the head of Constantinius II, who took the title of Augustus in that year. The hoard is thought to have formed part of a military treasure, intended to pay the legions.


The hoard was revealed when workmen in the process of repairing a road struck the earthenware jar containing the coins, breaking it apart.

The coins are thought to have scattered widely due to the force of the blow, ensuring that a number of coins were removed and dispersed before a true figure for the collection could be ascertained.

Distribution of the collection

Both the 1896 edition of the Numismatic Chronicle and the November 1896 copy of the Numismatic Circular list 17,550 coins in the collection.

The hoard was subsequently broken up with many coins given to local museums.

A list published in the 1898 Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society vol. XIX, states that portions of the hoard were distributed to:

  • Hereford City Museum
  • Gloucester City Museum
  • Bristol City Museum
  • Rolls Hall Monmouth
  • Ludlow Museum
  • Newcastle on Tyne Museum]
  • Norwich Museum
  • Newport (Monmouthshire)
  • Clifton College Museum
  • Monmouth School Museum
  • Sydney Museum (New South Wales)
  • Caerleon Museum
  • Whitchurch School Museum (W. Ross)

2010 sale

In May 2010, 1,661 of the coins, and the restored jar that originally held them, were sold in 11 separate lots at a Baldwins auction by the family of the 1895 landowner.

The 11 lots were all bought by the same bidder for a combined £46,964.

Baldwin’s Paul Hill said following the auction: “The sale of this hoard was an unprecedented success, it sold well beyond any of our expectations and the vendor is absolutely delighted with the result.”

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