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A lucky once-in-a-lifetime amateur has found a treasure trove of rare gold coins in a farmer’s field in Bridport Romans dating back 2,000 years to ancient Rome.

Mike Smale’s metal detector began to beep maniacally, with the fisherman unearthing coin after coin

AN AMATEUR historian has made a once-in-a-lifetime find of 2,000-year-old Roman silver coins worth up to £200,000.

Mike Smale, 35, found the hoard of 600 rare denarii in a farmer’s field in Bridport while hunting with his pals from the Southern Detectorists club.

Some of the metal coins were minted during the era of Mark AntonyCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

The shocked fisherman found coin after coin after coinCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

Historian Mike Smale shakes hand with Anthony Butler who manages the farm where hundreds of Roman denarii have been found in Bridport, DorsetCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

A single coin can sell for up to £900 – with the fisherman left gobsmacked when he uncovered one pristine coin after another dating back to 32BC.

Some of the metal disks were minted during the era Roman general Mark Antony was allied with his lover Cleopatra in Egypt, and experts said a find of this size and variety is very rare.

The coins will be handed over to the coroner for valuation and then likely sold to a museum, with the profits split between the farmer and Mike.

Dad-of-one Mike, a fisherman from Plymouth, Devon, said the find was a true once-in-a-lifetime event for him, saying: “It’s a great find, my biggest one, but I shan’t be giving it up.

“It’s great fun and I’m sticking with it.”

The astonishing find unfolded when Mike’s detector started beeping manically and he began to look a little deeper.

It is believed a pot of coins were under the earth and hit by a plough, scattering across the fieldCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

The find was one of the most exciting for the groupCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

The area was sectioned off, with theories that there was once a pot of coins there that had been hit by a plough and spread across the area.

The event was organised by Sean MacDonald, 47, who admits he would have paid “good money” just to witness the find.

He added: “Bridport is a cracking area anyway, it’s very rich in history, but a find like this is unprecedented.

“I’ve never seen a hoard of this size before. We found one in Somerset last year but there were just 180, and they weren’t of the same calibre.

“I was elated and shaking because this is a once in a lifetime find.

“The archaeologists excavating it couldn’t believe what they were seeing because these coins are so rare.

“I personally think a find of this size and variety will never be found again.”

A discovered of a similar size is not expected to be found againCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

A single coin can sell for up to £900Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

An expert who has examined photos of the coins said some feature Gods, and were issued by the Roman Republic in the centuries before the birth of Christ.

Numismatist – coin expert – Dominic Chorney said: “Others, which feature a distinctive galley – a type of Roman vessel – were minted by Mark Antony while he was allied with his lover Cleopatra in Egypt, between the Autumn of 32 BC to the Spring of 31.

“They each celebrate the various legions under his command. Antony’s coins circulated widely in the Roman Empire, and have certainly travelled a long way.

“Republican coins and those of Antony were issued before the Roman Invasion of Britain in AD 43, and would have drifted over in the pockets of Roman soldiers and citizens alike.

“Others were issued by emperors who ruled during the first century AD. One I can see in the photograph was struck for the ill-fated emperor Otho, who only ruled for three months in (January to April AD 69), during the civil wars which followed the assassination of the notorious emperor Nero.

“Coin finds such as this are fascinating, and are incredibly important in shedding light on the history of Roman Britain.”