Rare Roman coin unearthed in Somerset

The Marius coin was discovered by staff at the Community Heritage Access Centre in Yeovil. Photo: Community Heritage Access Centre

A rare Roman coin from a turbulent era in history has been discovered in a collection donated to the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) in Yeovil.

The collection was donated to the centre by the late Mr J Stevens-Cox. The coin is a radiate of Gaius Marcus Aurelius Marius, more simply known to us as Marius.

This coin is remarkable because the emperor himself is believed to have only reigned for a matter of days in AD 269 before being killed and becoming just another name in a long list of 50 emperors who reigned in 50 years of the 3rd century AD.

The chances of a coin minted in such a small window of opportunity surviving the best part of 2000 years are tiny. It is an amazing discovery.

– Ben Sayers, a heritage intern at CHAC

Not many of these coins are known to exist in the country and recent searches have suggested a possible total as low as 50 with the Portable Antiquities Scheme having recorded 39 across the country, and the British Museum having only two.

The discovery of such a rare old coin in Somerset is magnificent. It’s great that our very own CHAC get to house the coin and I hope that people will want to come and see this piece of British history.

– Cllr Sylvia Seal, portfolio holder Leisure & Culture

The Community Heritage Access Centre is located in Artillery Road on the Lufton Trading Estate in Yeovil. Viewing is by appointment only. The centre's telephone number is 01935 462 855, and there's more information on the South Somerset District Council website.