A HAMPSHIRE museum has raised the money it needs to buy a "unique" collection of 2,000-year-old coins found buried in a muddy field.

Staff at the award-winning St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington is planning to put the Celtic cash on display next spring.

The coins were found "not too far" from the museum by a group of treasure hunters in 2018.

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

St Barbe embarked on a quest to buy the hoard and had already raised around £30,000 when it decided to take part in The Big Give, a national fundraising initiative staged earlier this month.

The museum needed to find a further £7,500 - but has received more than £18,000.

A museum spokesperson said the total raised would enable St Barbe to buy the coins, construct a special showcase, and develop an educational programme about the Celtic and Iron Age periods in the New Forest.

They added that the "remarkable total" had been achieved with the help of TV historian Dan Snow, who lives in the Forest.

Maria Ragan, St Barbe's director, added: "We are thrilled to have this important archaeological find for to display at the museum for all to see and learn about.

"We would like to acknowledge the support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Headley Trust, the Barker Mill Foundation and Art Society Milford who helped us purchase this local treasure.

"We will have a special showcase made specifically for the Celtic hoard and will work with academic partners on the interpretation of the coins.

"We will be sharing behind the scenes updates, including an official unveiling, as we work towards putting the coins on display late spring 2022."

Thanking everyone who supported the campaign she said: "Thank you once again for your donations, we are really excited that you not only saw the importance to keeping the coins close to where they were found but also helped us achieve our goal."

The 269 gold and silver 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.