Frome Hoard of Roman coins to stay in Somerset

British Museum staff member displays a handful of the coins About 53,000 coins were found buried in a field near Frome in Somerset

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The largest ever collection of Roman coins found in Britain in one pot will stay in the county where it was unearthed.

The Museum of Somerset has raised £320,250 to keep the Frome Hoard. There had been fears it would go to London.

The coins, which date back over 1,700 years, were found last April by metal-detectorist Dave Crisp from Wiltshire.

Steven Minnit, from the museum, said he was "absolutely delighted" and could not believe the public's interest.

The coins will be on display when the museum's £6.9m revamp is completed in the summer.

"The story will not end there however," added Mr Minnit.

"As the hoard undergoes study over the next year or two many more of its secrets will be unlocked."

'Future generations'

The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) gave the museum a grant of £294,000 so the museum could keep the hoard.

A further £100,000 has also been raised for its conservation.

It marks the end of a fundraising campaign which saw more than £13,000 raised at a public event in Wells.

The Art Fund, a national fundraising charity for works of art, kick-started the appeal in November with a grant of £40,250 and then matched the first £10,000 raised.

Elizabeth Rutherford, South West Regional Chair of the Art Fund, said: "We in Somerset are so pleased that this is such a great thing that will be enjoyed by future generations.

"We feel really pleased that we've been able to be part of this."

'Economic benefit'

Under the Treasure Act, the money from the coins goes to the finder and landowner.

Since their discovery, the coins have been on display at the British Museum in London.

Dave Crisp with one of the Roman coins from the Frome Hoard The coins were found by metal-detectorist Dave Crisp from Wiltshire

Speaking when the coin's discovery was announced, Mr Crisp said the money did not matter.

"I'll always be the finder (of the largest hoard found in one pot) unless someone beats me of course and there's a lot more coins out there.

"When I pick something up and I hold it in my hands and someone lost that 1,000, 2,000 years ago, that is fantastic, it really is."

In 2009, the largest Anglo Saxon collection of artefacts was discovered in Staffordshire.

The £3.3m treasure has been on show in the county since its discovery.

Phillip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, said the Frome Hoard would bring an economic benefit to Somerset.

"It's a part of history that's not very well lit up by a torch but when you have these major finds I think you'll find a great deal of interest from people all over the place coming in to have a look at the coins."

He said the 2012 Olympic games would see tourists flocking to see them.

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