Coin hunters are not used to finding such a coin on the beach
Everyone wants to find buried treasure at the beach. Who wouldn't want to find some pirate loot? Even if it was just a copper coin for the common people.
My friend Joey "Baga Donuts" and his dad were here last Easter a few weeks ago. When they went surf fishing that morning... "The beaches were flooded and closed to driving on them. So I went back to our place and parked. Dad and I went fishing. He wanted to do some metal detecting. He was on the only dry area of the beach between the swales and the base of the dune. I fished the wash without Lucky. Dad found what looked like a really old coin. I contacted you to see who we could get to identify it."
Image credit: delaware surf fishing news
I could see in the picture that it was really old, certainly not a typical old coin find on our beaches, like Coin Beach, which is known for rare finds. I was told it was heavy, about the size of a quarter and made of copper. The area they found it in is also not known for rare coin finds, that location will remain anonymous as well. It was a legal metal detecting area is all I'm saying.
Image credit: Image credit: delaware surf fishing news
I sent the pictures of the coins to a metal detectorist I know. He and several others identified it as a possible Byzantine Anonymous Follis. These coins were minted in the Roman period from 498 to 1081 AD. There are several series or classes of these coins. The design and weight of the follicles will change as the rulers change. Polis was the word used to describe a large Roman bronze coin.
So how does Byzantine Polis end up on the Delaware coast? Good question. Joe and his father asked me who could verify what they found. I sent them to one guy who will know right away. Dale Clifton owns the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum on Fenwick Island.
Back in ancient times, the Roman Times, the elite had the silver and gold coins. The common people used copper coins, the humblest of metals. These were used on a daily basis for trade, payment and the city markets. These coins are poorly struck, ugly and of little value. They are intended for trading and daily use. Sizes and weight will vary with each bar.
Coin Week... "For over 120 years, the single value of the copper coins issued by the Eastern Roman ("Byzantine") Empire was "anonymous". The Anonymous follis did not bear the name or portrait of the ruler, but rather an image of Jesus and a religious motto. Fifteen different types are known, though only about six are common, with reasonable and collectable examples. These coins are often carelessly exaggerated."
Credit for the article: DSF News