A stash of gold coin props from BBC’s Detectorists fooled a pair of real-life treasure hunters

The amateur metal detectorists thought they'd come across Roman gold – only to find out it had been placed there by a BBC comedy

Programme Name: Detectorists series 3 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Lance (TOBY JONES), Andy (MACKENZIE CROOK) - (C) Channel X - Photographer: Chris Harris


Here’s a bit of comedy gold for you: a pair of metal-detecting treasure hunters unearthed a stash of Roman coins – only to find out the booty was a prop for BBC sitcom Detectorists.


Andy Sampson and Paul Adams were hunting for historical riches in a field on the Suffolk/Essex border when they discovered 50 gold coins alongside some broken pottery.

“I heard Paul shout out ‘yes!’” said Sampson (via The Telegraph). “I looked up to see him dancing around. He came floating towards me screaming ‘Roman gold! Roman gold!’. I ran over to him and was amazed when he showed me a small Roman gold coin in the palm of his hand.

“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.”

However, the pair’s celebrations were cruelly short-lived. Although they thought each of the Emperor Nero coins were worth £26,500 each, a veteran detectorist neighbour had to tell the pair they were fakes. After discovering Detectorists had recently filmed in the location, a phone call to the production company confirmed it: the counterfeit coins were only props worth £5 each.

“We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry […] I think we are officially the world’s unluckiest metal detectorists. Our story would make a TV series of its own,” said Sampson.

“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.”

Still, at least they unearthed a great anecdote to tell. That’s worth the same, right guys?