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Fifty Thousand Follis

Published December 1, 2023 | 1 min read

By Olivia McCommons

A recreational diver recently discovered a massive hoard of ancient Roman coins off the coast of Sardinia, Italy. Experts who recovered the coins estimate the total number of specimens to be between 30,000 and 50,000. The find consists of follis dating from A.D. 324 to 340 that were produced by mints across the Roman empire, and almost every coin has been excellently preserved. 

The Italian Ministry of Culture stated that the sandy clearing where the coins were found could potentially be the site of a hidden shipwreck, where the coins might have come from. Also found nearby were walls of amphorae (narrow-necked terracotta jugs). Luigi La Rocca, director general of archaeology, fine arts, and landscape for the region, says that the discovery “highlights the richness and importance of the archaeological heritage that our seabed, traversed by men and goods since the earliest times, still guards and preserves.” 

A version of this article appears in the January 2024 issue of The Numismatist (