Archaeology breakthrough as rare 1,200-year-old silver Charlemagne coin found in France

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The coin was found on a wild farm by a man who investigated an old collection handed down to him by his grandfather, a farmer in the Paris region. When the man was rummaging through the old collection, he stumbled upon the 0.5-ounce (1.5 grams) Charlemagne coin, also known as a denarius. He quickly took to eBay to put it up for auction, desperate for cash to purchase and build a new house.

Frank Pohle, director of the Route Charlemagne, a group of municipal museums in Aachen, Germany, said: “We have here some experts that regularly check what is on eBay concerning archaeology.

“One of them told me ‘Hey, there is a piece of money in eBay France that could be a real denarius of Charlemagne.'”

Luckily for the museum, it managed to secure the coin after entering a bid.

Charlemagne and his imperial title: ‘IMP(erator) AVG(ustus)’, can be seen on the coin.

This is likely a reference to the first Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus.

Several Roman emperors used this title, and it is thought that Charlemagne was highly inspired by the Roman Empire.

Mr Pohle told Live Science that Charlemagne really “presents himself really as Roman emperor” on the coin, adding that the “laurel on his hat, which is quite unusual for Frankish kings.”

Mr Pohle went on: “He is wearing a dress like a Roman general.”

On the back of the coin, there is a building with a Christian cross on it and what appears to be a mix between a Roman temple and a church.

Experts suspect that the coin was likely to have been minted in Aachen.

That is because this is where Charlemagne was born and later died, indicating the town held a huge amount of significance for the ruler.

In fact, Charlemagne, whose territories he controlled became known as the Carolingian empire, held a general assembly each year at his court that he set up at Aachen.

It was here that he introduced administrative reforms that applied to the lands he controlled.

While the museum refused to reveal the price of the 1,200-year-old coin, Mr Pohle admitted that it was not “that expensive”.

He added that the museum is “very content” with its new purchase.

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And tracking down this coin was a spectacular find as there are only about 50 individual denarii coins depicting a portrait of Charlemagne that were made during his lifetime.

But the exact date the coin was minted still remains a mystery.

Mr Pohle told Live Science: “Although he was already crowned in 800, he didn’t use that title [until] 812.

But according to another expert, the coin might have been minted in the year 813.

Marjanko Pilekić told Live Science: “One theory is that the portrait coinage were created in the last year of his life. That is, at a time when he was probably striving for an orderly succession.”

Charlemagne was also referred to as Karl and Charles the Great.

He ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814, during the medieval period, when he became the king of the Franks.

This Germanic tribe was spread throughout what is now present-day France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the western part of Germany, and Luxembourg.

He also invaded Saxony in 772, and managed to completely conquer it and convert it to Christianity.

Charlemagne also conquered the kingdom of the Lombards in northern Italy, and in 778, he invaded northern Spain.

At that point, Spain was ruled by the Moors.

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