BOXING DAY SALES: Thousands of UK shoppers queue up from midnight

Newcastle – VIJAY SHAH via ED RILEY and Mail Online/Daily Mail

Today sees the launch of special Boxing Day sales promotions on high streets and shopping centres across the United Kingdom, with thousands of keen bargain hunters said to be queuing up outside shops from midnight in some places, reports the newspaper Daily Mail.

Ahead of an expected bumper day of GBP 4.75 billion flowing through the tills of Britain’s retailers, reports came in from Newcastle and Birmingham of massive queues in the dead of night, when most people would be sleeping off their Christmas roast dinners. In the northern city of Newcastle, shoppers were seen sitting on the pavement, huddled in blankets and decked in warm clothing.

In Newcastle, around 2,500 shoppers formed a queue at the Silverlink Retail Park, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Next superstore, which sells clothes, at 6 A.M. Next issued 1,300 tickets per shopper, as many as the store could legally contain, yet a 1,000 more will still waiting outside in the bitter north English cold. The store is reducing some of its lines by a hefty fifty per cent especially for the 26th of December.

 

One shopper told the Mail: “We ordered pizza at 3am to warm ourselves up.

‘Some people might think it’s extreme to wait for five hours for a shop to open, but we don’t want all the best deals to be gone by the time we get inside.

‘I am sure it will be worth it!’

Large early morning queues were also reported in Manchester’s Trafford centre. Across the country, many shoppers took their queue positions from as early as 12 or 1 AM, it was reported. Queues stretched around the block, with hundreds of participants.

Out of the projected £4.75 billion spend today, 3.71 billion is expected to come from purchases at physical stores, with the remaining £1.04 billion coming from online sales, according to research published by the Centre for Retail Research in tandem with Vouchercodes, a UK shopping discount website. Research from credit card company Barclaycard supported the Centre’s own findings, stating that that four in ten UK adults plan to shop in the sales over the Boxing Day period, anticipating an average spend of £188 each. Boxing Day is the most popular day to shop during the Christmas sales period, according to Barclaycard, with three in ten Britons planning to hit the sales on December 26 specifically.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Boxing Day was the biggest spending day ever last year, and will be bigger again this year.

‘Spending of £3.7billion in stores and a billion online will be so high because shops and customers keep saying that almost all shoppers will focus on day one of the sales, to get the best deals.

‘Research also shows many shoppers will spend all their money in one go, unlike a few years ago when people would go to the sales several times over a week or two.

‘Now it’s a Black Friday-style rush on the first day.”

The operations director for major shopping centre owner intu, Gordon McKinnon, added: “The Boxing Day bonanza will see many shoppers brave early morning winter weather to have first pick of the bargains.”

Konrad Kelling, managing director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, said: “Whilst most plan to spend Boxing Day with friends and family, Brits also don’t want to miss out on the best deals to be had.

‘Surprisingly, men plan to spend more than women in the sales this year – whether that be staying up late to buy that must-have item or even browsing online during the family festivities.”

Kelling also acknowledged that not all shoppers were prepared to go to the extreme length of waiting in the hours of the early morning in freezing conditions, adding: “Boxing Day remains the most popular day to shop for bargains over the Christmas period. However, this year the majority of consumers plan to shop online from the comfort and convenience of their own home rather than braving the winter weather and crowds on the high street.”

The British high street industry has suffered numerous setbacks over the past year, with significant store closures and collapses of some famous high street names, as more people opt to shop online. Though the record-breaking Boxing Day sales of 2018 could temporarily halt this decline, many store managers and CEOs are still feeling uneasy about the future of the big chain store in the face of online competitors.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook.

“The biggest Boxing Day sales ever! Thousands of bargain hunters queue from MIDNIGHT at shopping centres across Britain as they try to beat the rush ahead of £4.75BILLION festive spending spree” – Ed Riley, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 December 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6529703/Thousands-bargain-hunters-queue-MIDNIGHT-ahead-Boxing-Day-sales.html?ito=social-facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“London December 24 2016 (17) Sale Starts Boxing Day” – DAVID HOLT, Flickr (24 December 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/31846107145

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FOUR MONTHS OF SNOW?: UK may see harsh winter this December

London – VIJAY SHAH via CONNOR BOYD and Mail Online

As autumn officially begins in the United Kingdom, the country has been warned that there is the chance of four months of snow, reports the newspaper Daily Mail. Experts say there could soon be the arrival of wintry conditions set to outclass even the ‘Beast of the East’ phenomenon that has gripped the nation in previous winters.

In summer 2018, the country experienced a record-breaking heatwave that lasted three weeks and saw reservoirs and rivers dry out and hosepipe bans instated. Now this winter could see weather records being broken again, this time in snowfall. Some meteorologists say the cold snap could kick in from November and extend into the first couple of months of the New Year.

 

Cold fronts sweeping from the Arctic region and the Atlantic Ocean could create a perfect storm of sustained snow, combined with the presence of the four-yearly El Niño weather system, seeing icy temperatures from December to February, according to forecaster James Madden, from the company Exacta Weather in an interview with the Daily Express newspaper. The expected cold snap could rival the ‘big freeze’ of 2010, the Mail claimed. A decline in solar activity is also expected around this winter, further exacerbating the frosty situation. El Niño may weaken the air currents which keep Britain warm, creating what meteorologists call a ‘Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW)’, which was responsible for the difficult winter of 2010.

Madden told the Express: All our long-range projections have been showing for quite some time that December is likely to be a colder than average month overall and we are expecting several widespread snowy periods.

‘This year we are expecting potentially hazardous winter conditions from early on in the season.”

However, such a scenario is highly unusual, even for the UK’s infamously variable weather, and the Met Office, which measures, studies and reports on the country’s weather, said predictions become difficult to make for longer than a 30-day period.

SOURCES:

Rabia Ali/Facebook

“Britain could be set for FOUR MONTHS of snow in ‘coldest winter for a decade’ following record-setting summer heatwave” – Connor Boyd, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (21 September 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6194981/Britain-set-FOUR-MONTHS-snow-coldest-winter-decade.html?ito=social-facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“NX2961 : Winter at Kiltersan” – David Mapley, geograph (27 June 2008) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/862525 © Copyright David Mapley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

BRADFORD SHOOTING: Man shot three times after Friday prayers

Bradford – VIJAY SHAH via CHARLIE MOORE, Daily Mail and MIB

A man is in hospital in the northern English city of Bradford after been shot at three times after he left prayers at a mosque in the city, online British South Asian news site MeanwhileInBritain.com and national newspaper Daily Mail reported.

The unidentified man had finished Muslim Friday (Juma’ah) prayers at the Jamia Abu Hanifa mosque in Hustler Street in the Barkerend district, central Bradford when assailants wearing balaclavas shot him just a hundred yards from the mosque. The gunshots terrified other worshippers at the mosque when the incident took place at 2pm local time, MeanwhileInBritain.com said.

 

Witnesses saw three men, faces obscured, pull up on the road in a car and immediately open fire on the victim. A member of the congregation who was praying when the shooting occurred said: “I saw lots of police and a man laying on the floor who had been shot. We heard the gunshot while we were inside praying.

‘There was an ambulance and about five police vehicles including two riot vans on the scene’

‘I have been told three men in balaclavas pulled up in a car and shot a man.’

The victim, who survived the shooting but was struck in a leg was taken to hospital. Bradford police say the shooting had nothing to do with the mosque. A statement from them said: “Police were called to Undercliffe Street, Bradford at 1.57pm today following a report of gunshots.

‘Officers attended and found a male in his twenties with a leg wound.

‘The injury is not believed to be life threatening and he has been taken to hospital for further treatment.

‘Enquiries are continuing at the scene although the injury is believed to be consistent with that of a firearms discharge.

‘Anyone with information is asked to contact Bradford CID on 101, quoting log 984 of today (Friday 20 October).”

Inquiries are continuing.

SOURCES:

British Asians UK, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/BritishAsiansUK/

“Man is shot by ‘three men in balaclavas’ near mosque in Bradford” – Charlie Moore, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (20 October 2017) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5001624/Man-shot-three-men-balaclavas-near-mosque.html

“MAN IS SHOT BY ‘THREE MEN IN BALACLAVAS’ AFTER JUM’AH PRAYER NEAR MOSQUE IN BRADFORD” – MIB/Meanwhile In Britain/Meanwhile In UK (20 October 2017) http://meanwhileinbritain.com/man-is-shot-by-three-men-in-balaclavas-after-jumah-prayer-near-mosque-in-bradford/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Crime Scene” – Alan Cleaver, Flickr (16 May 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4121423119

BATUCO ROBBERY: Yoga instructor kills two burglars in self-defence

Batuco, CHILE
VIJAY SHAH via Associated Press and Daily Mail

A Kundalini yoga instructor in Chile allegedly shot dead two burglars in her home after four men attacked the property to rob it, the Daily Mail newspaper reported via AP this Friday.

Hari Nam Kaur Khalsa, a convert to Sikhism from Texas, USA who has been living in Chile since 1979, was in her bedroom at the property in Batuco, 20 miles north of the Chilean capital Santiago, when four men broke into her home the previous Thursday. The 61-year-old, who is a martial arts expert and studied sociology in her native country, was taken by surprise by the burglars, who struck her in the head with a firearm, the Daily Mail reported.

 

 

She was then tied up, but managed to free herself, and in an act of self defence, picked up a registered Taurus model revolver she owned, and gunned down two of the robbers. The gunshots caused the two others to flee the house. One news site, Emol.com said one of the robbers was shot five times. Dallas News reported that a second man collapsed and died in Khalsa’s front garden.

Local police have said that Khalsa will not be charged over the incident at her home, as she is considered to have acted in ‘legitimate self-defence’ under Chilean law. Prosecutor Osvaldo Soto said she will be allowed to remain free, but will be allocated a security escort in case of revenge attacks by associates of the four men who tried to rob her.

“This is not a grandma as you can imagine,” Jose Nuñez, who manages the condominium where she lives told local press.

“So don’t be imagining a little grandma who killed two crooks with her cane.”

The men who were killed have not been identified. Khalsa has refused to speak further about the incident.

SOURCES:
“American yoga instructor, 61, shoots dead two of four burglars after they broke into her home in Chile” – Associated Press via Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (25 November 2016) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3972488/US-yoga-instructor-kills-2-burglars-self-defense-Chile.html
Sherrie Bachell.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Sunset yoga” – graham, Flickr (10 July 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamking/826142536

 

 

‘FAKE TWO PENCE’ – Rare error coin earns charity £1350 at auction

gb

Malmesbury, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via TheLADbible and Daily Mail

Poppy Appeal collectors in the English city of Malmesbury in Wiltshire county found themselves a small windfall after a ‘fake’ coin that was deposited in one of their charity collection boxes turned out to be a rare minting error that sold for £1,350 at a recent auction.

Volunteers working for the British Royal Legion were sifting through the takings from a street collection appeal for ex-service personnel when they stumbled across a 2-pence coin that was silver-coloured, instead of the usual copper. Convinced it was a badly-done fake or a joke, the Legion charity workers sent it to a bank to be destroyed.

(c) SWNS via TheLADbible

The Royal Mint, which is responsible for minting the United Kingdom’s coinage, however confirmed that far from being a criminal mastermind’s idea of a bad joke, the silver 2-pence piece was in fact an unusual minting error, caused by a blank for a 10-pence piece, usually now made of nickel-clad steel, being mistakenly struck with a die intended for 2-pence coins, so in essence, this coin was a 10-pence in the ‘clothes’ of a 2-pence. The coin, due to its circumstantial appearance in circulation and the fact that the Royal Mint rarely make such money mistakes, meant it was a highly-prized talk of the town among numismatists.

Local Legion branch chairman Richard Tilney said of the coin’s sale “The Legion has a corporate partner who sells old medals and coins, and they are going to take it off our hands for a handsome price.

The Poppy Appeal is very dear to our hearts and it would be fantastic to get the money to the right place”

The rare item was sold at auction and purchased by coin collectors’ company The Westminster Collection for £1,350, of which the Royal British Legion received £1349.98 profit on a donation of only £0.02.

According to UK newspaper Daily Mail, a similar misstrike issued in 1988 was sold in 2014 for more than £1,350 and coinage error market experts say that similar errors can sell for up to £2,000 to niche coin collectors.

SOURCES:
The LAD Bible, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/LADbible/?fref=nf
“Rare Two Pence Coin Thought To Be A Fake Sells For £1350” – George Pavlou, TheLADbible (17 June 2016) http://www.theladbible.com/articles/rare-two-pence-coin-thought-to-be-a-fake-sells-for-ps1350-170616
“The silver tuppence that’s worth a fortune: Coin dropped into a charity tin turns out to be incredibly rare 2p piece made by a ‘minting error’ (but now it can fetch £2,000)” – Euan McLelland, MailOnline News/Daily Mail/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 May 2016) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3610452/Poppy-collectors-thought-silver-2p-coin-dropped-tin-fake-turned-incredibly-rare-collector-s-item-worth-2-000.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Rare Two Pence Coin Thought To Be A Fake Sells For £1350” – George Pavlou, TheLADbible (17 June 2016) http://www.theladbible.com/articles/rare-two-pence-coin-thought-to-be-a-fake-sells-for-ps1350-170616

LUNCHTIME PUNISHMENT: Oregon schoolchild forced to eat behind screen for lateness

The parents of a six-year old American schoolchild are up in arms against the child’s school after teachers punished the boy for being late to lessons, by making him eat his lunch behind a cardboard screen while forced to sit on a separate table from other children.

Hunter Cmelo’s parents, from Grant’s Pass in Oregon, were running late when they managed to take the first-grader to Lincoln Elementary School, the local primary school in the town. Teachers there punished Hunter by seating him on an unoccupied bench with a folded piece of cardboard shielding him from the eyes of his schoolmates. A set of polystyrene cups with the letter ‘D’ – standing for detention – scrawled on one of them was also placed near Hunter as he sat down to eat.

(c) Facebook via Metro

Pictures of the incident were put up on Facebook by Hunter’s grandmother Laura Hoover, who commented in the British newspaper site of Metro “This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader“.

His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple of minutes late to school.

‘Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of his control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students.”

The harsh punishment of being segregated from friends at lunchtime has caused considerable distress to Hunter, who was on one occasion taken home in tears by his mother, Nicole Garloff. Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, said to local television station KOIN6: “They are shaming him for something that’s not in his control.” Hunter’s parents are reported to be devastated at the treatment of their son by the school.

His mother said the punishment has left her son anxious about attending school, and that a few days ago, he began ‘flipping out’ because they were running late for the school journey. She said that she has experienced car troubles and suffers from the brittle bone condition osteoporosis, which can set her back in the mornings. “It causes a lot of pain and in the mornings it’s especially hard for me to get going,” she said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Lincoln Elementary School have agreed to stop using the cardboard partition in light of the Cmelos’ complaint, but have not said if they will end the policy of separating late students at lunchtime and forcing them to eat alone. According to the Daily Mail, the school received hundreds of complaints and threats after the incident went viral on social media.

A spokesman for the school district said: “The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.

Meanwhile, the school’s superintendent John Higgins, who received a barrage of threatening phone calls, told Newswatch 12 that the “protocol was communicated to parents via newsletter and is intended to provide the students with an above average level of tardiness, supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting,

‘It was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.

Principal Missy Fitzsimmons reached out to Hunter’s parents and arranged a meeting this past Thursday to hear the parents’ concerns, including ceasing use of the cardboard partition. Fitzsimmons said: “We are pleased to report the meeting was productive,

‘The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.”

The school has a roll call of 444 pupils and forms part of the Grant’s Pass School District 7 administration in the Oregon town.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook
“Outrage as six-year-old boy is forced to eat lunch alone behind a screen after his parents dropped him off late to school” –  Lydia Warren, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd (27 February 2015) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2972459/Outrage-six-year-old-boy-forced-eat-lunch-screen-parents-dropped-late-school.html
“About Lincoln Elementary – Mission Statement” – Lincoln Elementary School, Grant’s Pass School District No. 7 http://www.grantspass.k12.or.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=22344&
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook

CHERNOBYL: Drone captures footage of city devastated by nuclear incident

In the first of its kind, a filmmaker from Devon in England used a drone to capture the remains of a city near Chernobyl, Ukraine which was left abandoned and radioactive after a nearby nuclear power plant exploded in 1986. Danny Cooke sent a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter equipped with a Canon 7D camera to capture still images of the city of Pripyat, which once had a population of 50,000, which fled the town after the disaster, which left radioactive fallout over much of Ukraine and Belarus. The quadcopter drone also had a GoPro camera fitted to capture moving images of the eerie and overgrown streets of the once bustling industrial town. A Geiger counter to measure the radiation levels of the area where the drone was to fly was also fitted.

In a slickly designed video entitled “Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl“, a frozen Ferris wheel, poisoned forests and paint peeling off from an empty swimming pool are clearly visible, reported the Daily Mail website in the UK. Rusted bumper cars in the city’s fairground and trees growing right next to buildings are also visible in the footage. The area is still off-limits to onlookers because of the radioactive environment, although a few hardy explorers have managed to enter the restricted zone, taking pictures of abandoned schools with textbooks still opened up on desks and derelict houses overgrown with weeds.

The footage first shows the drone flying over an abandoned dock, red with nearly three decades of rust, with not a single person to be seen. It then takes in the fairground, whose tarmac is almost completely covered with trees. Viewers are then shown a drone’s-eye-view of central Pripyat, with grey and decaying concrete edifices still standing among forests where streets used to be. Many of the buildings still carry signs depicting Soviet-era coats of arms and in one scene, there is the ironic appearance of an office complex which housed an atomic research facility connected to the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The video finishes with close-ups of murals of the typical USSR art style in still good condition and water-damaged children’s books and blank postcards scattered over a floor in a disused school.

Writing on the drone flight and the resulting video, the Daily Mail reports Cooke as saying “Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places I’ve been,

The nuclear disaster, which happened in 1986 (the year after I was born), had an effect on so many people, including my family when we lived in Italy.

I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of locals who evacuated.”

Cooke prepared “Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl’ as part of a filmed segment for the Canadian broadcaster CBS’ “60 Minutes” programme for their current affairs channel, CBS News.

Cooke then went further and actually visited Pripyat and Chernobyl and met fellow visitors there. Scientists have said that it is now possible to visit Pripyat for short periods of time as the radioactive isotopes discharged during the disaster have decayed sufficiently to be less of a hazard for human tourists.

During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of which was my guide Yevgein, also known as a ‘Stalker’, Cooke said.

We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Prypiat (sic). There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place.’

Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.”

Currently, tourists who wish to visit the area which offers an eerie snapshot into life in the final years of the Soviet era can apply for day passes from the Ukrainian tourism ministry. Workers are rebuilding parts of the Chernobyl plant but are only allowed to perform tasks there for a few hours each month to limit the carcinogenic effects of the radiation. Nuclear experts have said that the Pripyat area will not be safe for permanent human habitation for around another 20,000 years, but many residents refused to evacuate at the time and chose to remain in the city. Others, mostly older people, have moved back into the city post-evacuation, to be close to family graves or because they cannot afford to live anywhere else.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred in the early hours of the 26th April 1986. Chernobyl was considered a showpiece of the Soviets’ nuclear muscle and one of a fleet of indigenously designed nuclear plants constructed all over the USSR to meet the nation’s high energy demands. That April morning, one of the four reactors operating at the site went into meltdown and then exploded, pouring radioactive material into the surrounding landscape. The incident was believed to have been caused by an engineering experiment which involved the lowering of control rods to test the capabilities of the reactor’s cooling pump system. The engineers made the error of lowering too many rods causing the reactor’s output to fall dramatically and it went into shutdown. It began to malfunction and overheat. With the reactor’s power running at one hundred times the normal capacity, it exploded, destroying the building housing it and throwing out tonnes of radioactive debris.

Radiation spread as far as the western USSR and much of Europe. Thirty-one people died in what was later regarded as one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. Thousands have been diagnosed with cancer with casualties still reported to this day. The Soviet government was accused of covering the scale of the disaster, even when reports of radiation levels spiking in other parts of Europe began to come in, and did not begin evacuation of the plant workers’ town of Pripyat until three days after the reactor explosion. It has been reported that engineers in Pripyat were not fully aware of the scale of the disaster, despite being in communication with the plant. Government officials then threw up an exclusion zone of more than 1,000 square miles around the stricken plant, after evacuating Pripyat’s inhabitants.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“A drone’s-eye view of CHERNOBYL: Eerie footage reveals a city left to decay after devastating nuclear disaster” – Ellie Zolfagharifard, Mail Online Science & Tech/Associated Newspapers Ltd (27 November 2014) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2851668/A-drone-s-eye-view-CHERNOBYL-Eerie-footage-reveals-city-left-decay-devastating-nuclear-disaster.html
“THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER – CHERNOBYL 20 YEARS ON”- BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456957/html/nn1page1.stm
IMAGE CREDITS:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

EAST DEVON ROMAN HOARD: Builder uncovers 20,000 ancient coins in field

A semi-retired builder searching for treasure in the east of the English county of Devon struck historical gold after recently uncovering a hidden hoard of around 20,000 coins dating from the Roman occupation of Britain, national newspaper the Daily Mail reports. The collection of coins, believed to be in the value of £100,000 (US $162,440) was chanced upon by builder and amateur metal detecting enthusiast Laurence Egerton in east Devon, an area in south-western England famed for its picturesque moors and fields.

The hoard of Roman money is believed to be one of the largest hauls of historical coinage ever discovered in the U.K. Egerton, aged 51, was in a local field searching for finds with his metal detector when he stumbled across the hoard of copper-alloy coins, possibly low-denomination coinage issued by the Roman Empire for use by their colonists in their northern most province. The Daily Mail reported that Egerton was so concerned about the possibility of his hoard being stolen that he camped out in the field for three nights, guarding the discovery site while archaeologists arrived to explore the site in more detail.

Dubbed the Seaton Down Hoard, the assortment of 22,000 copper-alloy coins may have been the accumulated savings of a private individual keeping the money safe for a ‘rainy day’ or an informal and well-hidden bank of wages perhaps left by a Roman soldier. It is likely the hoarder died or lost track of the burial site leaving the coins to lay unseen for nearly two thousand years. A picture supplied to the Daily Mail by the British Museum and picture agency Apex shows the Seaton Down Hoard contained in a heavy duty plastic box. The coins appear in still good condition despite being buried for two millennia, but all show signs of corrosion, namely a green rust called verdigris, caused by the copper in the coins reacting with moisture and acids from their surroundings. Many of the coins bear the usual emperor’s profile of Roman coinage and some show two standing figures which possibly have allegorical origins. An analysis by local historian Bill Horner determined that the coins dated back to between 260-348 AD and bear portraits of the Roman emperor Constantine, other emperors ruling alongside him, members of his family. Emperors that ruled either side of Constantine’s reign also make an appearance. According to Horner, Britain at that time was in a prosperous financial state with many Romans and natives flush with money. As one of the outermost provinces of the Roman Empire, Britannia, as the Romans knew it, was a relatively safe area at a time when rebellions on the European mainland against Roman colonial rule made matters unstable there. The Roman colonists in Britain escaped the worst of the tensions and maintained their high standards of living, building many luxurious villas in the south of England. However, freedom struggles and numerous invasions and episodes of infighting in the Empire soon brought financial uncertainty to the rich Romans and Romanised Britons of east Devon, who started hoarding as a security measure.

Romanised farms, or Villas including several in East Devon, were at their richest.

‘But the province was ultimately drawn into Imperial power struggles that, along with increasing attacks from Germanic, Irish and Caledonian tribes, resulted in the rapid decline and end of Roman rule.

‘Coastal areas such as East Devon were on the front-line, and this may be the context for the coin hoard.

‘There were no high street banks, so a good, deep hole in the ground was as secure a place as any to hide your savings in times of trouble, or if you were going away on a long journey.

‘But whoever made this particular deposit never came back to retrieve it” Horner explained.

(c) British Museum via Joanne Bailey.

Believed to have been buried in the 4th century AD, the Seaton Down Hoard is only the third largest such discovery in recent times. In 2010, the Frome Hoard made headlines with its total of 52,503 coins. The second largest was the Nether Compton hoard of 22,703 found in the neighbouring county of Dorset in 1989. Laurence Egerton’s find has been declared ‘treasure trove’ under a Crown law for the protection of British antiquities. A Devon Coroner’s inquest held earlier this month saw the coins donated to the British Museum who are now holding the Seaton Down collection in storage.

A video shot by Egerton shows him wearing gloves and extracting the dirt covered coins from a pit in a muddy field. Despite the muck, archaeologists reckon that his find is one of the best preserved findings of coinage from the last centuries of the Roman Empire in Britain they have ever witnessed. The video later shows archaeologists working on site removing clumps of coins heavily concentrated in a non-descript part of the field.

Interest in the Seaton Down coins, which do not contain any gold or silver, have nevertheless soared between the many museums in Britain concerned with Roman antiquities. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, the county town (capital) of Devon already houses a formidable collection of Romano-British artefacts from the local area and is eager to acquire the coins, and is running a fundraising campaign to purchase the coins outright from the British Museum to display for the benefit of local historians, researchers and students.

Although only reported this month, Laurence Egerton made the initial discovery in November 2013 after obtaining permission from the landowner of the field in Honeyditches, eastern Devon, where previously the remains of a Roman villa, or country home had been noted. The find was then reported to the landowner, a privately-owned company named Clinton Devon Estates, in accordance with the Treasure Act 1996, a parliamentary legal instrument aimed at safeguarding artefacts of national and historical value.

In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, Mr Egerton said: “It’s by far the biggest find I’ve ever had. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

‘Between finding the hoard and the archaeologists excavating the site, I slept in my car alongside it for three nights to guard it.

‘On this occasion, the ground where I was working was quite flinty and I found what I thought were two Roman coins which is actually quite unusual in Devon.

‘As I began working in a grid formation in the surrounding area I had a signal on the metal detector which means that there is probably iron involved.

‘Most detectors are set up to ignore iron but I decided to dig the earth at that spot and immediately reached some iron ingots which were laid directly on top of the coins’

‘The next shovel was full of coins – they just spilled out over the field.

The coins may have originally being held in a cloth bag at the time of their deposition, but that the ravages of time and chemicals from the nearby soil might have caused the bag to rot away leaving the coins to scatter underground. The find is said to be unusual for the region as the county’s acidic soils would normally decompose any metal left in it, yet the coins are in a remarkable state of preservation.

The United Kingdom, with the exception of Scotland, became part of the Roman Empire in a 55 BC invasion of the area by renowned emperor Julius Caesar, who wrested control from the numerous Celtic tribes previously settled there. Many of the conquered Celts were permitted to continue striking their own coins, which were often modelled on imported Greek coins but made more simplified by the native minters. The Romans began importing their own coinage, mainly to pay Roman soldiers and imperial mercenaries stationed in the UK, and also began minting coins locally and to celebrate their victories in Britain. The gold aureus was used for large payments, but not much for day-to-day transactions. It had a fixed value of 25 denarii until at least 200 AD. The silver denarius was the main coin of value in general circulation. The low value coinage of sestertii, dupondii, and asses was struck variously in bronze, orichalcum and copper. Denarii were paid to soldiers at a rate of one a day, while asses, or aes, were believed to have been used to pay for supplies obtained from local traders by the Romans. However by the time of the Seaton Down Hoard, Roman British coinage had become almost worthless owing to imperial financial mismanagement and debasing of the hard currency.

SOURCES:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/
“Builder unearths vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins worth up to £100,000 – then spends three nights sleeping on site to guard his hoard” – Victoria Woollaston, Mail Online – Science & Tech/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 September 2014) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2770576/Builder-unearths-vast-treasure-trove-22-000-Roman-coins-spends-three-nights-sleeping-site-guard-hoard.html
XE  http://www.xe.com/
“Coinage In Roman Britain The Coinage Of Britain During The Roman Occupation” – Peter R Thompson, The Ormskirk and West Lancashire Numismatic Society http://www.numsoc.net/rombrit.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
Joanne Bailey, Twitter https://twitter.com/JBHist
VIDEO CREDIT:
“Seaton Down Hoard – 22,000 Roman Coins unearthed in Devon” – ClintonDevonEstates, YouTube GB (26 September 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRq0SSgKvwo