Two hapless treasure hunters thought they had struck it rich when they found a hoard of gold coins – only to discover they were fakes buried for the TV comedy Detectorists.
Metal detectorist Paul Adams, 58, began dancing around a field, crying out ‘Roman gold! Roman gold!’ when he stumbled upon a handful of ancient coins.
Colleague Andy Sampson, 54, dashed across to look and to their astonishment within minutes they had unearthed 54 Roman gold coins, potentially worth £250,000.
Metal detectorists Paul Adams (left) and Andy Sampson began dancing around a field, crying out ‘Roman gold! Roman gold!’ when they stumbled upon a handful of ancient coins
The pair spent 24 hours believing the treasure was genuine and they even started thinking about what to blow their fortune on.
But the next day an expert told them he feared the coins were fake. It was later confirmed they had been left in a field by the film crew making the hit BBC series Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones.
In a scene that featured in the first episode of the last series, the replica coins were shown being buried in a clay Roman pot and then brought to the surface by a tractor ploughing a field 2,000 years later.
The pair thought they had unearthed 54 Roman gold coins, potentially worth £250,000. Above, Paul Adams with his treasure hunting kit
The production company thought they have picked up all the coins afterwards but unfortunately for Paul and Andy they left a few behind.
Andy said: ‘I think we are officially the world’s unluckiest metal detectorists. Our story would make a TV series of its own.
‘After we found them I was paying off my mortgage and buying a sports car in my head. We thought we were looking at the real McCoy. Now I look at them and want to cry.’
The duo, who work together delivering oxygen to medical patients, began detectoring a year ago.
It was later confirmed they had been left in a field by the film crew making the hit BBC series Detectorists
They had been given permission to sweep the field in Suffolk where Andy had previously found a Roman coin.
They started searching an area they could see had recently been ploughed and Paul’s machine started going off.
Andy, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said: ‘I heard Paul shout out “yes”.
‘I looked up to see him dancing around. He came floating towards me screaming “Roman gold, Roman gold”.
In the first episode of the last series, the replica coins were shown being buried in a clay Roman pot and then brought to the surface by a tractor ploughing a field 2,000 years later
‘I ran over to him and was amazed when he showed me a small Roman gold coin in the palm of his hand.
‘We carried on looking and our metal detectors were working overtime, picking out gold coin after gold coin along a 30ft long furrow. We couldn’t believe our luck.
‘We sat there in total disbelief. I had my head in my hands at one point just because of the sheer enormity of it all and the feeling of having found a gold hoard.
‘We weren’t sure how much they might be worth but we had six Emperor Nero coins and we knew they were worth £26,500 each.’
Too excited to think straight, the pair went home and planned to inform the landowner and relevant authorities the next day.
Before that they showed them to a neighbour who has been a detectorist for 40 years and is a member of the Suffolk Archaeological Survey.
Andy said: ‘He couldn’t believe his eyes when I poured them out on the table. But as soon as he picked one up he said ‘these are wrong, they’re not real’.’
The pair spent 24 hours believing the treasure was genuine and they even started thinking about what to blow their windfall on
He told the pair he thought the coins were fake but Andy refused to believe him because there was no reason for 50 fake coins to be in a ploughed field.
But when he told wife Sam, who works in the estate office of the farm where they were found, she remembered the Detectorists had been filming there recently.
A call to the production company revealed they had put replica gold coins in the ground for filming a scene.
Instead the replicas were worth £5 each, making the hoard worth £270. Andy said: ‘I suppose we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry’
They explained that they thought they had picked them all up afterwards but left some behind.
Instead the replicas were worth £5 each, making the hoard worth £270.
Andy said: ‘When my wife told me about the Detectorists filming there an alarm bell went off in my head.
‘She spoke to the location manager and he conformed they were props.
‘I suppose we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a bit of bad luck, but we have laughed about it.
‘Apparently the production company told Mackenzie Crook and he thought it was hilarious.’