A METAL detectorist is celebrating a rare find at a secret location near Winchester.

Richard Patterson from West End has unearthed only the second ever recorded coin minted by “the first Brexiteer”.

Emperor Carausius ruled for seven years when he rejected Roman rule and appointed himself leader of an independent Britain.

Now the silver coin is expected to fetch thousands at auction.

Mr Patterson was with the Hampshire Detector Club in November when his detector gave off a loud beep.

Just inches beneath the surface he found the coin with markings that the 62 year old granddad and landscape gardener didn’t recognise. But thinking nothing more of it he put it in his bag and carried on.

It wasn’t until he got home and tried to identify his find that he realised how rare it is.

“We had found a few bits of lead and that usually means there has been some action there. But the next day someone saw something like it in a magazine that had sold for £17,000.

“It took me about four hours of searching to work out what it was. There’s hardly any information on Carausius or the coin.

“I realised that it was a silver coin but I did not have a clue about what it is and how much it might be worth. I went into shock when I found out.”

The coin goes to auction on February 21 and is expected to fetch £7,000 to £9,000. Mr Patterson will have to split his haul with the land-owning farmer. The location remains a secret.

He said: “We can have quite a few problems with what we call night hawks - who go detecting at night without permissions.”

The third century coin was minted during Carausius’ brief reign of 286 to 293. Showing the emperor’s head on one side and a lion on the other, experts say it’s “an exceptionally fine specimen”.

Head of coins at Dix Noonan Webb, where the coin will go up for auction Christopher Webb said: “Carausius has been largely ignored by historians but he was a truly extraordinary man.

“As well as being a rebel who briefly won independence from European rule, he was also a showman who held what were effectively Britain’s first Olympic Games and introduced African lions to an astonished British public.”

Mr Patterson said he will use the cash to pay for a new car exhaust.



Carausius was born in what is now Belgium and rose through the ranks of the Roman navy to command a fleet tasked with eliminating pirates in the English Channel. He was suspected of keeping captured treasure for himself and the Roman emperor Maximian ordered his execution. Learning of this, Carausius declared himself emperor of Britain with the support of his fleet and the locally-based Roman legions. For seven years he ruled an independent Britain, defeating a Roman invasion and minting his own coins.

To emphasise his power and importance Carausius brought lions to Britain from Africa and one of these is depicted with a thunderbolt in its mouth on the coin discovered by Mr Patterson. These animals are believed to have been one of the star attractions at the Secular Games, held by Carausius for three days and three nights in Britain. Normally held in Rome the event was an example of the rebel emperor defying his former masters in mainland Europe.

Carausius was assassinated in 293 on the orders of Allectus, who was effectively his Chancellor of the Exchequer and who may have been colluding with Rome. Allectus, a man without Carausius’s charisma, took over for three years before himself being killed during a successful Roman re-invasion.