A METAL detectorist is celebrating a rare find.

Richard Patterson from West End has unearthed a coin minted by “the first Brexiteer”.

Rebel Emperor Carausius ruled Britain for seven years when he rejected Roman rule and appointed himself leader of an independent Britain

Now the silver coin, found in a field near Winchester, is expected to fetch thousands when it goes under the hammer this month.

Mr Patterson was out with the Hampshire Detector Club in November when his detector gave off a loud beep.

Just inches beneath the surface he found the silver coin with markings the 62 year old granddad and landscape gardener didn’t recognise. But thinking nothing more of it he put it in his bag and carried on detecting.

It wasn’t until he got home and tried to identify his find that he realised how rare it is.

“We had found a few bits of lead and that usually means there has been some action there.

“But the next day someone saw something like it in a magazine that had sold for £17,000.

“It took me about four hours of searching to work out what it was. There’s hardly any information on Carausius or the coin.

“I realised that it was a silver coin but I did not have a clue about what it is and how much it might be worth.

“I went into shock when I found out.”

The coin will go to auction on February 21 and is expected to fetch £7,000 to £9,000, with historians at the British Museum among those who have expressed an interest.

But Mr Patterson will have to split his haul with the land-owning farmer. The location will remain a secret.

He said: “We can have quite a few problems with what we call night hawks - who go detecting at night without permissions.”

The third century coin was minted during Carausius’ brief reign of 286 to 293. Showing the emperor’s head on one side and a lion on the other experts say it’s “an exceptionally fine specimen”.

Head of coins at Dix Noonan Webb, where the coin will go up for auction Christopher Webb said: “Carausius has been largely ignored by historians but he was a truly extraordinary man.

“As well as being a rebel who briefly won independence from European rule, he was also a showman who held what were effectively Britain’s first Olympic Games and introduced African lions to an astonished British public.”

Mr Patterson said he will use the cash to pay for a new car exhaust.