Five copper alloy coins have been identified during landscaping works conducted in Port Glasgow. The coins, which were found in redeposited topsoil along a grassed verge during the removal of turf, were not grouped together. They were found in a deposit of topsoil mixed with hardcore from the adjacent road surface, suggesting that they may have been present in material that was imported into the site during road construction. A deposit adhering to one side of each of the coins appears to be glue or resin, suggesting that they may have been mounted at some time, which in turn could suggest that they may represent part of a lost collection. Two of the coins appear to be very similar, and while one has a resin deposit on the obverse, on the other the resin is on the reverse, suggesting that the intention may have been to display them side-by-side, which would support the interpretation that they formed part of a modern collection.
The coins have not yet been cleaned, but initial superficial examination suggests that one appears to be of Constantius I, also known as Constantius Chlorus, who was emperor from 293 to 306 AD, father of Constanine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. It is recorded that upon becoming Augustus in 305, Constantius launched a successful campaign against the Picts beyond the Antonine Wall, but died suddenly in York the following year. While his presence in Britain and particularly in Scotland would go some way to explaining the appearance of a coin issued by him in Port Glasgow, another of the coins appears to have been issued by Demetrios I of Macedonia (337-283 BC). Also known as Demetrios Poliorketes, he was the son of Antigonus, a general of Alexander the Great who on the distribution of Alexander's empire received Asia Minor (Turkey). The appearance of this coin, together with the 600 year date-range between Demetrios and Constantius, may support the interpretation that these coins were formerly part of a modern collection that was lost or stolen, rather than representing a delibrate deposition.
The coins will initially go to the National Museum in Edinburgh for further specialist examination, though it is hoped that if they are found to be genuine, they may subsequently be returned to Inverclyde Museums for more permanent display