A RARE Roman coin discovered in Colchester more than 40 years ago has sold for £4,000 after going under the hammer.

Kevin Scillitoe found the coin, minted by the Emperor Carausius, when he was ten-years-old.

At the time, during the mid-70s, the River Colne was being dredged and the resulting spoil heaps were deposited along the roads leading out of the town.

These mounds attracted the attention of the town’s schoolchildren who sifted through the dirt using kitchen sieves in the hope of finding lost Roman treasures.

Kevin found several Roman coins while searching and he has kept them ever since.

He only realised the importance of this coin when he saw the only other known example exhibited in the British Museum.

The bronze coin, known as an antoninianus, was struck by Carausius in 291 in order to pay his army.

Carausius rebelled against the Roman Empire and led a breakaway British Empire between 286-293.

Kevin, 57, who works in construction said: “In those days it was my job to dig the vegetable patch at home, and sieve for stones.

“So I took the sieve with me and I found about three coins, but this particular coin stuck out and seemed special, as it was so well preserved.

“After finding the coin I saved up my pocket money until I had enough to purchase a metal detector and that is how I started my metal detecting adventure.

“Over the years I found and sold many coins, but I could never find a reference to this coin, and have never found a bronze Roman coin in such good condition.

“It wasn’t until early this year that I read a report of a similar coin, that I believe was found in Lincolnshire and is in the British Museum at the moment.”

Kevin’s coin was sold by coins specialists Dix Noonan Webb and fetched £4,216 in a live online auction.

It had only been expected to sell for between £800 and £1,000.

The buyer is a coin collector from the USA.

Following the sale, Kevin said: “I watched the auction live with family, and was amazed with the price.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but well worth the 47 year wait.”

Bradley Hopper, coin expert at Dix Noonan Webb added: “The hammer price is a reflection of how rare and historically significant this coin is.

“We were expecting a lot of interest from collectors, and it was fantastic to see such competitive bidding on the day.

“I am delighted for both Kevin and the successful bidder.”

Dix Noonan Webb is also donating 5 per cent of their Buyer’s Premium to NHS Charities Together.