'Good luck': Metal detectorists find 2,000-year-old statue with giant penis

It is meant to ward off evil spirits.
Loukia Papadopoulos
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The figurine and its finders.


An almost cartoonish statue of a man with a giant penis could sell for an exorbitant amount, according to a press release by action house Noonans published on Monday.

It was discovered at a detector rally in Haconby in Lincolnshire in 2022 by Paul Shepheard and his wife. 

Shepheard was searching a stubble field with his wife Joanne, who had just found a Medieval penny.

10 inches down

He got a signal on his new XP Deus II and proceeded to dig down 10 inches to get to what he thought was a large steel split pin commonly used to retain wheels on farm carts. 

He then discovered it was a bronze nude figure holding in his right hand an oversized phallus which is hinged for movement. 

The figurine measures 5.5cm high by 1.2cm wide and is being offered for auction at Noonans Wednesday and Thursday. It is estimated to go for $965-1448 (£800-1,200).

 “Dating to the Celtic period from the 1st century AD, this is a representation of a fertility god, probably based on the Roman god Mercury as he is holding a purse in his left hand,” said Nigel Mills, Consultant (Coins and Artefacts) at Noonans.

Symbolic powers of good luck

“This male figure with its hinged oversized phallus would have had symbolic powers of good luck and warding off evil spirits and may have served as a locking mechanism as a buckle to hold a belt and scabbard for a sword. There is nothing quite like it, I am hoping it will attract a lot of attention.” Shepheard, who is a retired processing consultant, has been detecting for 25 years and told Noonas that what he loves most about metal-detecting is the absolute surprise of what you find, and this latest find is no different.

“We initially thought it was Roman as the Military wore phallic pendants, but they did not have moving parts, so to speak, but this was designed by the Celts who have added a hinged element making it very artistic, which perhaps made their feelings even more obvious!” Shepheard told Noonans.

He now hopes to use the proceeds from the sale to pay for a holiday for his wife and mother.

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