Hoard of ancient coins have been found at Scotney Castle

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  • The unique hoard of 186 coins came from as far away as China and Syria
  • Hoard was found by volunteers searching for photographs at Scotney Castle
  • Collection was amassed by Edward Hussey III and son Edwy in the 19th century 
  • It includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC 

Phoebe Weston For Mailonline

A collection of rare coins dating back 2,500 years have been uncovered in a study desk drawer at a 14th century castle in Kent. 

The unique hoard of 186 coins that came from as far away as China and Syria was discovered by volunteers searching for photographs at Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells.

The collection includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC.

The collection is believed to have been amassed by Edward Hussey III and his son Edwy in the 19th century.

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A collection of rare coins dating back 2,500 years have been uncovered in a study desk drawer at a 14th century castle

A collection of rare coins dating back 2,500 years have been uncovered in a study desk drawer at a 14th century castle

A collection of rare coins dating back 2,500 years have been uncovered in a study desk drawer at a 14th century castle

HOARD OF COINS

The majority of the collection features Roman coins from the late second century BC to the fourth century AD. There are also some Greek coins from the seventh century BC.  

The National Trust believes the father and son may have been trying to amass a complete cache of Roman rulers.

A set from the first century is just one short of the full complement of ancient emperors.

A coin from the Greek island of Aegina is one of the earliest struck in Europe and features sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite.

Dating from between 600 and 550 BC it is the only Greek-origin coin at Scotney Castle.

A Welsh penny coin, forged in 1787, features a druid and is inscribed with the words ‘We promise to pay the bearer one penny, 1787’.

The cache of coins was discovered hidden in the back of a dusty drawer by National Trust staff who had no idea they were there.

They were looking for photographs of the Hussey family when they stumbled across the treasure.

Nathalie Cohen, a National Trust archaeologist, said: ‘We know that Edward and Edwy Hussey had a great interest in collecting, but this considerable cache of fascinating coins shows just how much their interest grew into a collection of exceptional importance.

‘What is a mystery though is why a collection of this calibre ended up at the back of a drawer.’

The Husseys are thought to have gathered the trove between the 1820s and 1890s with an 1823 entry from Edward’s diary showing prices of four to seven shillings and six pence paid for some coins.  

In one note from 1883 Edwy reveals he ‘went to the British Museum with papa as he wanted to ask about some coins’.

A National Trust spokesperson told MailOnline they have not sought to find the current value of the coins and say the collection will never be sold.

The majority of the collection features Roman coins from the late second century BC to the fourth century AD. 

There are also some Greek coins from the seventh century BC. 

The National Trust believes the father and son may have been trying to amass a complete cache of Roman rulers. 

The collection includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC. Pictured is a coin minted between 83-82BC with Antonius Balbus, praetor of Sardinia, on the front 

The collection includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC. Pictured is a coin minted between 83-82BC with Antonius Balbus, praetor of Sardinia, on the front 

The collection includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC. Pictured is a coin minted between 83-82BC with Antonius Balbus, praetor of Sardinia, on the front 

The National Trust believes the father and son may have been trying to amass a complete cache of Roman rulers. Pictured is the back of the Roman coin minted in 83-82BC

The National Trust believes the father and son may have been trying to amass a complete cache of Roman rulers. Pictured is the back of the Roman coin minted in 83-82BC

The National Trust believes the father and son may have been trying to amass a complete cache of Roman rulers. Pictured is the back of the Roman coin minted in 83-82BC

It is believed to have been amassed by collector Edward Hussey III (1807-1894) and his son

It is believed to have been amassed by collector Edward Hussey III (1807-1894) and his son

Pictured is Edwy (1855-1952), who collected the rare coins with his father in the 19th century

Pictured is Edwy (1855-1952), who collected the rare coins with his father in the 19th century

It is believed to have been amassed by collector Edward Hussey III (left) (1807-1894) and his son Edwy (right) (1855-1952) in the 19th century

A coin from the Greek island of Aegina (pictured) is one of the earliest struck in Europe and features sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite. Dating from between 600 and 550 BC it is the only Greek-origin coin at Scotney Castle

A coin from the Greek island of Aegina (pictured) is one of the earliest struck in Europe and features sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite. Dating from between 600 and 550 BC it is the only Greek-origin coin at Scotney Castle

A coin from the Greek island of Aegina (pictured) is one of the earliest struck in Europe and features sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite. Dating from between 600 and 550 BC it is the only Greek-origin coin at Scotney Castle

A set from the first century is just one short of the full complement of ancient emperors. 

Experts from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) believe 18 of the coins are rare examples.

Julian Bowsher, a MOLA coin specialist, said the find was ‘significant and diverse’.

‘A particular highlight was seeing Roman coins that rarely appear in Britain, such as those of the third century emperors Balbinus, Pupienus and Aemilian, none of whom ruled for more than a year,’ he added.  

A coin from the Greek island of Aegina is one of the earliest struck in Europe and features sea turtle, a creature sacred to Aphrodite.

The unique hoard of 186 coins that came from as far away as China and Syria was discovered by volunteers searching for photographs at historic Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells

The unique hoard of 186 coins that came from as far away as China and Syria was discovered by volunteers searching for photographs at historic Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells

The unique hoard of 186 coins that came from as far away as China and Syria was discovered by volunteers searching for photographs at historic Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells

The Husseys are thought to have gathered the trove between the 1820s and 1890s. Pictured is a Roman  coin from 253AD when Aemilian was a ruler for a period of just three months

The Husseys are thought to have gathered the trove between the 1820s and 1890s. Pictured is a Roman  coin from 253AD when Aemilian was a ruler for a period of just three months

The Husseys are thought to have gathered the trove between the 1820s and 1890s. Pictured is a Roman coin from 253AD when Aemilian was a ruler for a period of just three months

Dating from between 600 and 550 BC it is the only Greek-origin coin at Scotney Castle.

A Welsh penny coin, forged in 1787, features a druid and is inscribed with the words ‘We promise to pay the bearer one penny, 1787’.

The group who made the find have unearthed other valuable artefacts in drawers, cupboards and mansion archives since the National Trust opened Scotney in 2007.

Medieval papers, First World War diaries and books by a famous 19th century artist and landscape gardener William Gilpin are among the discoveries they have made.

One volunteer who unearthed the coins said the Husseys had collected a vast number of artefacts, with the family living at Scotney for two centuries before it was donated to the National Trust.

A Welsh penny coin (pictured) forged in 1787, features a druid and is inscribed with the words 'We promise to pay the bearer one penny, 1787'

A Welsh penny coin (pictured) forged in 1787, features a druid and is inscribed with the words 'We promise to pay the bearer one penny, 1787'

The group who made the find have unearthed other valuable artefacts in drawers, cupboards and mansion archives since the National Trust opened Scotney in 2007

The group who made the find have unearthed other valuable artefacts in drawers, cupboards and mansion archives since the National Trust opened Scotney in 2007

A Welsh penny coin (pictured) forged in 1787, features a druid and is inscribed with the words ‘We promise to pay the bearer one penny, 1787’

Pictured are labels from the Scotney Castle Coin Collection. Medieval papers, First World War diaries and books by a famous 19th century artist and landscape gardener William Gilpin are among the discoveries they have made

Pictured are labels from the Scotney Castle Coin Collection. Medieval papers, First World War diaries and books by a famous 19th century artist and landscape gardener William Gilpin are among the discoveries they have made

Pictured are labels from the Scotney Castle Coin Collection. Medieval papers, First World War diaries and books by a famous 19th century artist and landscape gardener William Gilpin are among the discoveries they have made

One volunteer who unearthed the coins said the Husseys had collected a vast number of artefacts, with the family living at Scotney (pictured) for two centuries before it was donated to the National Trust

One volunteer who unearthed the coins said the Husseys had collected a vast number of artefacts, with the family living at Scotney (pictured) for two centuries before it was donated to the National Trust

One volunteer who unearthed the coins said the Husseys had collected a vast number of artefacts, with the family living at Scotney (pictured) for two centuries before it was donated to the National Trust

Henrike Philipp said: ‘Discoveries of rare coins such as these don’t happen often, so this has been especially exciting. We can’t wait to see what we will find next.’

The coins are being displayed to the public in a new exhibition, Inside the Collection, commemorating 10 years since the National Trust opened Scotney Castle.

Among the objects on show are vases from the Ming dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644.

Letters from American socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson, whose planned marriage to King Edward VII caused the monarch to abdicate in 1936, can be viewed by visitors to Stotney Castle.

A number of letters from Margaret Thatcher, who rented a flat at Scotney Castle from the 1970s to 1980s, are also on view.

The exhibition runs until February 4 between 11am and 3pm.