Coin Hordes

Coin Hoards

The practical definition of a hoard or trove is two or more coins brought together for a specific purpose. There are essentially four sorts of “Hoards” or “Troves”:

  1. Emergency/Currency:
    Hidden during an emergency, usually with the intent of later retrieval. These are most often of random denominations, and may include other things, like gems, jewelry, etc.
  2. Savings:
    Hidden because someone is saving money or things. These often tend to be a limited number of denominations. Often dominated by coins of high quality and value. They are often the least worn and heaviest of their denomination. Strangely, they are often in odd containers that may be difficult to extract the money from. Modern examples include saving silver dollars, saving to buy something, setting aside your pennies in a jar, a piggy bank, etc. Includes what are known as “Mercantile Hoards” and “Boullion Hoards”.
  3. Purse/Accidental Losses:
    This is money that is being carried by a person. It is usually of a small size, or in a compact mass.
  4. Abandoned Hoard:
    This is a collection of coins that the hoarder has no intention of ever going back to collect. Grave goods, shipwrecks and wishing wells fall into this category. Examples:
    • Beauworth, Hampshire (England)
      8000-9000 silver pennys in a lead chest (William I & II).
    • Birka (Sweden)
      Silver Coins, ingots, and jewelry (c975).
    • Carrawburgh (England) Well of Coventina
      15-20,000 coins (Lost between c150 BCE-5th C). Probably 16,000 minted between 100-300 (including 300 Hadrian “Britannia” coins).
    • Cuerdale, Lancashire (England)
      7000+ Silver coins (ingots and jewelry)(c.903)
    • Dere Street, Durham Co. (England)
      8 denarii, 2 sestercii (c.165)
    • Dorchester (England)
      22,000 debased silver coins (c260)(Found in a bowl, a jug, and a metal box, it is likely that this is the tax revenue of a single town).
    • England
      200,000 Edw I & II silver pennys.
    • Gloucester (England)
      “Several Thousand” silver, bronze, and a few gold coins all 3d C found in a 12″x16″ Roman Urn.
    • Newark Hoard (England)
      97 gold coins (1646)
    • Samual Pepys (England)
      £4300 in two sites (1667)(All recovered but for £20)
    • Sutton Hoo (England)
      37 Gold coins, 3 blanks, 2 ingots (c625)
    • Sussex (England)
      502 Copper, Silver, and Gold coins (1650-1660) +”hundreds more” found later.
    • Thorngrafton Hoard (England)
      3 Aurei, 60 denari (Hadrian) special*
    • Wroxeter (England)
      132 Coins (???) (Found on a corpse hiding from a raid)
    • Wiltshire (England)
      61 Silver Coins. Stuart Coins buried c1680. 1 Cha I 1/2 Crown, 44 Cha II 1/2 Crowns, 16 Cha II Crowns. All in a large mug.
    • Killane, Wexford (Eire)
      55 Gold Coins (1798)
    • Shannon (Ireland)
      10 lbs of Gold (c900)
    • Hoard 3 (Italy)
      41 Silver Coins (c40 BCE)
    • Hoard 4 (Italy)
      37 Silver Coins (c40 BCE)
    • Hoard 5 (Italy) 22 Silver Coins (c40 BCE)
    • Hoard 7 (Italy) 410 Silver Coins (c40 BCE)
    • Damanhur (Egypt)
      8000 Tetradrachms (minted 336-323 BCE) buried c.318 BCE.
    • Merovingian (France)
      ? Gold (c625)
    • Modena (Italy)
      80,000 gold coins (c.50 BCE)
    • Gornoslav Hoard (Bulgaria)
      786 gold coins (1182) (This appears to be the payroll for for a monastary, buried in a raid).
    • Gotland & Oland (Sweden) & Bornholm (Denmark)
      800 Gold Solidi (395-550) [Late Roman & Byzantine, possibly gotten from Ostrogoths]
    • Gotland (Sweden)
      TOTAL: 99,000 Silver coins (40,000 Arab, 38,000 German, 21,000 Anglo-Saxon).
    • Vasa Shipwreck (Sweden)
      4000 Coins. Gold, Silver, Copper (actually a collection of hoards, including 2 of 900 each in barrels)(1628)


Hobson, Burton and Robert Obojski. Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Coins. 1970
Casey, P.J. Understanding Ancient Coins. 1986.
Burnett, Andrew. Interpreting the Past: Coins. 1991.