In the sometimes solitary and occasionally mocked world of metal detecting, he is the David Beckham, the Prince William, the Barack Obama.
For when Dave Crisp unearthed one of the most important hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain, he instantly became a hero to the thousands.
And now, with growing interest in the hobby – thanks, in part to Mr Crisp’s jackpot discovery – newcomers to the pastime need a detailed guide about how to be a great metal detector. And who better to write it than the finder of the Frome Hoard?
The book, Metal Detecting – all you need to know to get started, took 18 months to write, while Mr Crisp worked 60-hour weeks in his job, dealt with the aftermath of his discovery and continued to indulge in his beloved hobby.
Now retired, he is as busy as ever, and hopes his book will help those people who’ve been inspired by his discovery.
Back in April 2010, Mr Crisp was scouring a field near Frome in Somerset, where he had earlier found a scattered hoard of some 40-odd Roman coins. He unearthed a buried pot, realised it was special and called the authorities.
Archaeologists dug up an incredible total of 52,503 Roman coins, which spanned a 50-year period in the second half of the 3rd century. It was the most important Roman coin find in living memory, one of the biggest ever, and was officially valued at £320,250 – which was split between Dave and the owner of the field.
“I’ve been metal detecting for more than 30 years and I’ve got a lot of knowledge over that time,” he explained. “I help run our local club and we had lots of people joining. Lots of people had enthusiasm but no idea whatsoever what to do or how to do it right. Yes, they want to find things but have little idea about how best to do it.”
The book, which details exactly how detectors should stay within the law, is published on Wednesday next week and will be available on Amazon and at bookshops. Dave, from Devizes in Wiltshire, said despite the Frome Hoard success, he thought there was little point continuing.
“But I never thought about stopping, I still get that buzz from it. It’s just as exciting now as it was before, when you find something. The seemingly mundane finds, they transport you instantly to the moment it ended up in that field. Who was the person who lost it, what did that loss mean to them and what was the story behind it? It’s always fascinating,” he said.