Highlights of the British Collection:

Finstock Gold Coin

This unique gold coin of the Roman emperor Vespasian is arguably the most important single coin ever found in Oxfordshire. It was struck in Judaea in AD 70 and found about 1850 at Finstock, Oxfordshire.

Vespasian was in command of the Roman army putting down the Jewish Revolt. When he was proclaimed emperor he left his son Titus to continue the war. The gold for the coin almost certainly came from the Temple itself, which was destroyed when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. The stamping of ‘The Justice of Titus’ on gold from the Temple is chilling. In the bloody suppression of the Jewish Revolt, the Temple was burned and half a million died. The coin is a monument to Roman ruthlessness.

The coin’s first owner was Martha Spriggs (1777–1866). She was an avid collector from a prosperous Quaker family who lived over their draper’s shop in Broad Street, Worcester. Her collection of antiquities and wonders formed a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. It included ‘portions of the blood’ from Richard the Lionheart’s heart and a sea shell which fell from the sky.

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Finstock Coin (Click to enlarge)

Gold coin found at Finstock, Oxfordshire. The inscription 'The Justice of Titus' can be read on this side.

Click here to See Reverse

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22 May 2012