Caithness Coin Find To Be Displayed Locally

Stretched on the rack of the too easy Dounreay chair, investment in other sectors of the Caithness economy has been utter shite for decades. One only has to look at the tourist campaigns by Orkney in which Caithness is simply a means to catch the ferry with archaelogical programmes (not just Time Team) broadcast from there or regular arts festivals take place to see that.

One means for raising the county’s profile nationwide would be discovers such as Killimster metal-detector enthusiast, Mikie Aitken stumbled-upon in January. For obvious reasons, he still is keeping quiet about precisely where he found a stash of dozens of coins from the mid to late 13th Century – coinciding with the absorption of the county into the Kingdom of Scotland.

Now, however, as reported by the Caithness Courier, Treasure Trove Scotland and Aitken are pursuing arrangements with accredited Far North museums such as the Dunbeath Heritage Centre and Caithness Horizons.


10 Responses to “Caithness Coin Find To Be Displayed Locally”

  1. Brian Allum Says:

    I found this article very interesting as in 1968 /69, I found a hoard of 71 coins in the far north of Caithness, the coins I found were silver pennies from the same years as those found by Mikie Aitken . I was wondering if it is near to where I discovered mine.

    • Alec Says:

      Aitken still is keeping quiet about the precise location, although it has been confirmed to be on the southside. Since I wrote this piece, I’ve been told that it won’t be displayed at Caithness Horizons in Thurso (it and the Dunbeath Heritage Centre are accredited museums with strict rules about where they can source their exhibits from, and this find falls outwith the former’s interest-area).

      I never have heard of your find! Where did it happen? If you’re from outside, all of Caithness would be “far north”, but to my mind it is the northern area between Thurso and Melvich on the Sutherland boundary.

    • Alec Says:

      Was this it?


    • Aitken Says:

      Hey Brian, the coins were found near my house in Killimster, Caithness. I read about your coins being found at ladykirk. I though i was lucky, but you never even used a metal detector! I’m not sure where the coins will be displayed but i’m hoping they will be returned to caithness. Do you know where your coins went Brian?


      • Alec Says:

        Good to see you here, Aitken. Have you been in touch with any national media outlets? It was quite a find!


      • Brian Allum Says:

        Hi Aitkin, Yes it was a chance in a million finding the coins at Ladykirk.. I declared them as treasure trove, firstly at a museum in London. They said as they were found in Scotland the have to go through The Office of Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, so they sent them. Some of the coins were on display at the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh. One was of particular interest to them as they believed it was a forgery, it had a dull grey appearence. The rest returned to me and sadly sold at Southerby’s in London. I did not want this to happen, but being young (18) at the time I told workmates where I was an apprentice and they got involved and basically I was conned. it was a great experience though and I have no regrets now. I really loved my many trips to Caithness…. Great times

      • Alec Says:

        Hi, Brian, this is another blog-piece in itself. I’ve trawled through the local newspapers of the time and found brief references to your find.

        D’you have any other references which I could hook onto? (I have access to various academic databases.)


      • Brian Allum Says:

        The find was listed in a booklet published by The Scottish Regional Group, Council for British Archaeology Called Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1969… They spelt my name wrong .. They put Brian Allan instead of Brian Allum. At the time there was a quite big article in the John O Groat Journal. I found the initial coins in July 1969 and then went back in August 1969 and found the rest. There was a small article in the Scottish Daily Record in August 1969 with headline on “Brian finds treasure in Caithness and comes back for more” They were dealt with by R.B.K Stevenson at the museum in Edinburgh..


  2. mikie Says:

    Caithness is mostly undiscovered, I just need an army of kids with detectors to help. If you’re ever up this way Brian give me a shout, or if you have any clues about where I could search I would be grateful. I currently have enough scrap metal to start a recycling plant.



    • Alec Says:

      Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, guys. I was scouring the local rags for reports of Brian’s find. The link I gave above was not it… that referred to a find by two local workmen as reported in the John o’ Groat Journal of 7 February 1969 (not 31 January as stated in the link).

      I still am looking.

      Brian and Mikie, if you wish, I’ll pass on your provided e-mail addresses to each other.


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