Detectorists Paul and Andy star in Comedy Gold

1st February 2018 — 23 Comments

Lance and the Exhibit

Before the first episode of the Bafta winning sitcom, Detectorists, was aired in 2014, I helped out by providing some of the props. Indeed, some of you also answered the production company’s call for help. We provided items for an Open Night night at the Danebury MDC, when one of the chief exhibits was a table showing Ring Pulls Through the Ages.

The picture below shows a selection I sent. They had been found and illustrated an article when I’d put a pinpointer through its paces. ‘Never throw anything away’ is a statement repeated frequently by detectorists. They came in useful – twice.

Ring Pulls – © JW

Although I looked carefully for the ring pulls in that first episode, even freeze-framing the video at one stage, I failed to detect my ‘claims to fame’. Sad.


That introduction brings me nicely to the main course of this blog. You may have seen the ‘news’ this week in newspapers, social media and detecting forums about newbie detectorists Paul Adams and Andy Sampson.

Detectorists Paul Adams and Andy Sampson with their Suffolk find CREDIT: ANDY SAMPSON/BNPS

When this hapless duo stumbled on a hoard of gold coins in a ploughed Suffolk field, they believed their luck was finally in! The discovery must have been very exciting for them. Just a bit! A hoard of 54 ancient gold coins is basically the holy grail for detectorists. You’ll understand what I mean, I’m sure. Our Canadian and American cousins would have no hesitation in calling the gold find AWESOME!

Extraordinary, anyway … and potentially lucrative. The Telegraph reports Andy as saying, “We weren’t sure how much they might be worth but we had six Emperor Nero coins and knew they were worth £26,500 each … we sat there in total disbelief.”


The next day, when Paul and Andy showed the coins to a friend with 40 year’s experience in the hobby, they realised what had happened. The makers of Detectorists had buried the pot of gold coins for one of the episodes. Their friend’s experience told him that the marks on each coin denoted they were reproductions and hence worth very little. Just a small detail lost on the newbies … but they DID know how much a pukka coin might be worth!

The Pot of Gold. Credit BNPS

So, the guys were not rich after all. Nope. The coins were worthless props! Read the full report in the The TelegraphIt’s Comedy Gold. I can’t help but think the firm that made the reproductions has missed a trick here … they should have insisted on a mention at least.

And are the coins ‘worthless’? I’m sure that if they were auctioned in aid of charity they may fetch more than the £240 they are perhaps worth … especially with the association and a chitty of authenticity signed by Mackenzie!


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23 responses to Detectorists Paul and Andy star in Comedy Gold

  1. John, this is a “priceless” story for sure, and yes…awesome! I’m sure the prop could be sold to fans of Detectorists. I loved that show and wished it was still on…hell, I’d love one of those props or even one of your donated props. = )

  2. Ooowww That’s through gutted and out the other side! It’s precious alright…

  3. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark 🙂

  4. They may wind up somehow , trying to to be passed off as real, John LOL,, But a very entertaining story.. Thank you


  5. Ah, the JOY of victory and the AGONY of defeat. It is comical that these two found the pot of gold left behind.

  6. I can understand their letdown after doing the gold dance, reminds me of how many times I coundn’t wait to get home and check the stones on a ring wondering if there real.

  7. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 2nd February 2018 at 2:08 AM

    I hesitate to read anything about The Detectorists, for fear it will give anything in season 3 away.

    We haven’t had it released here in Canada, and I’m desperate to see it.

    However I did hear about the AWESOME find, and thought that they too could sell or auction them off for a lot more than the £5 they figured they would be worth….heck even I would buy one!

    I did start to feel bad for them at first, but when I found out they’ve only been detecting for a year…….well the sympathy wasn’t as great. They need more ring pull time as far as I’m concerned. LOL…..

  8. Well, I for one would definitely frame the coins! It’s a story that is, as you say, pure comedy gold – and TV gold too!
    We’ve all had those finds that we think are amazing, only to be shot down in flames when we’re told what they really are – but it’s all part of the fun of our great hobby.
    In some ways, Paul and Andy have really hit the jackpot – who knows where this could lead them? Certainly a role in any forthcoming ‘Detectorists’ specials, I’d have thought! Good luck to them!
    A nice piece, thanks John.

  9. I am sure they can milk their bad luck with the media for a while. However even the most inexperienced detectorist should be able to have an idea by the weight of the coins that they were not right. Could be a wind up ,but at least they have become famous although not for the right reasons i fear. They will forever be remembered as the …….

    • Steve,
      I personally have never had the pleasure of handling a gold coin and so would easily be taken in if the circumstances were right.

      • Yes that could be a factor, but anyone who has a wedding bands especially one for a blokes finger will be aware of golds density.

        I did not want to highlight it earlier ,but there are detractors who just love to portray detectorists as somehow inferior in terms of intelligence. Now i am not knocking the two finders and what they did in such terms, but there are those who relish any opportunity to do the hobby down.

  10. The sad thing in the UK John is the littering of fields with Green Waste I’ve hunted some of those fields. Finding fields in the middle of nowhere with pull tabs is heart breaking knowing the history that lays below.

  11. Yes. The rough with the smooth, Daniel.
    Compared with some parts of the world, we are still vey fortunate and often uncover significant and sometimes – AWESOME – artefacts. All this despite the obstacles put in our way!

  12. has the film company confirmed they did bury the fake coins if so why did they not get found in the story line I cant remember that happening or couldnt they find them lol

  13. Read The Telegraph report, Alan.

    “During filming of a scene from the first episode of the last series, the replica coins were shown first being buried in a clay Roman pot before being brought to the surface by a tractor ploughing a field 2,000 years later” And more.

  14. What Andy and Paul got from that experience is the thrill and excitement that comes from a great find. Now all they have to do is actually dig one.

  15. Sounds a bit odd, surely the programme makers would have retrieved their prop coins and clay pot?

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