THEY were buried about 2,000 years ago and boast a variety of ancient images - some of which have never been seen by historians before.

Now a Hampshire museum is determined to raise the £40,000 needed to buy and exhibit a “unique” hoard of almost 270 gold and silver coins.

The Celtic cash was unearthed in a muddy field not far from St Barbe Museum and Art Galley in New Street, Lymington, three years ago.

The British Museum has ruled that the find is treasure trove, which means half of it belongs to the people who found it and half to the landowner.

St Barbe was given the opportunity to buy the tiny coins - and jumped at the chance.

The museum has already raised £30,000 through grants and donations but needs to find a further £7,500 and is taking part in The Big Give, a national week-long initiative that began yesterday.

TV historian Dan Snow, who lives in the Forest, has agreed to help St Barbe by promoting the Celtic Countdown appeal.

Posting on social media he said: “To keep this hoard here in Lymington where it was discovered and show it off properly we need to raise some money for this brilliant museum, otherwise local people won’t be able to enjoy this extraordinary local hoard.”

Mr Snow previously helped St Barbe raise the money needed to buy a collection of 1,608 Roman coins found in a field in Boldre in 2014.

The latest hoard was discovered by a group of treasure hunters and sent to the British Museum to be cleaned and catalogued.

The 269 coins bear a variety of images, including horses, boars and even three men in a boat. Some of the images have never before been seen by historians which, according to St Barbe, makes the hoard unique.

A museum spokesperson said: “They are striking examples - amazing detail considering that 2,000 years ago they had no magnifying glasses and only basic tools.”

The coins are thought to have been buried to keep them safe from thieves and tax man. They may even have been a gift to the gods.