Celtic Coinage of Britain

third edition

Click on coin to see hidden information

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plate 1

Earliest Use of Money    (Info)

 

 

 

Ring Money and Currency Bars    (Info)  (5-03)  (5-05)  (5-07)

1-011-031-055-01

 

 

 

 

Imported Gold Coinage    (Info)

Gallo-Belgic A     Large Flan Type  (Info)

 

10-0110-0212-0115-0117-0120-01

 

 

 

 

Imported Gold Coinage

Gallo-Belgic B    Defaced Dies type  (Info)

 

30-0133-0135-0137-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are four kinds of Currency Bars – only the commonest is illustrated.

 

The descriptions of the other three follow to the right.

 

 

 

 

Imported Coinage

 

Most of the coins imported into Britain were struck by the Ambiani tribe. The first imports began about 125 B.C and coins continued to be imported until the end of the Gallic War.

 

 

 

 

Gold coins imported into Britain well before the Gallic War.

 

 

 

 

Gold coins imported into Britain well before the Gallic War.

The reason for defacing the dies is not known

 

 

 

 

1-01

1 - 01   Twisted Wire Type

ca. 1500-1000 B.C.      Very Rare

Gold Ring Money    ca. 4-15 gms    ca. 23 mm

 

Earliest Record: Uncertain

 

OBV: Twisted loop of metal

Identifying points:

    1) plain, pointed ends

    2) ends do not touch

    3) ends tapered

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Weights and diameters vary considerably

  - Likely used as ornaments

 

 

 

 

1-03

1 - 03        Plain Type

Middle Bronze Age    Very Rare

Gold Ring Money    ca. 3-12 gms.    ca. 13-16 mm

 

Earliest Record: Uncertain

 

OBV: Plain band of metal

Identifying points:

    1) ends usually blunt, do not touch

    2) often two colours of metal form banded pattern

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

Classification: None

 

NOTES:

  - Weights and diameters vary considerably

  - Primarily used as ornaments, may have functioned as money

  - Often occur plated

 

 

 

 

1-05

1 - 05    Double-Ring Type

Middle Bronze Age    Extremely Rare

Gold Ring Money    4.4 gms.    17 mm

 

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

 

OBV: Two rings of twisted metal

Identifying points:

    1) plain, pointed ends

    2) ends do not touch

    3) ends tapered

    4) two rings connected at one end

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Likely used as ornaments

 

 

 

 

5-01

5 - 01    SWORD TYPE

ca. 200-50 B.C.      Common

Iron Currency Bar

400-500 gms.    780-890 mm

 

Earliest Record: Meon Hill, 1824 (see: Allen, 1967b)

 

OBV: Iron bar, sword shaped

Identifying points:

    1) flat, narrow blade

    2) tapered end

    3) hilt formed around wooden dowel

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Traces of mineralized wood sometimes found in hilt

  - Sometimes found cut up as scrap metal awaiting re-use

  - Often found in hoards

  - Iron requires special conservation treatment

  - Most are in museums

 

 

 

 

10-01

10 - 01    Large Flan Type

125-100 B.C.        Common

Gold Stater    7.8 gms.    25 mm

 

Earliest Record: Petavius, 1610

 

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right

Identifying points:

    1) naturalistic face

 

REV: Celticized horse right

Identifying points:

    1) naturalistic charioteer

    2) "yoke" in front of horse

    3) "coffee bean" behind horse

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic AA1

 

NOTES:

  - Celtic Coin Index records now indicate commoner than previoiusly thought

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Standard weight given

  - Ambianic origin

  - Modern forgeries known – (see 10 - 01 - F1 and 10 - 01 - F2)

 

 

 

 

10=02

10 - 02    Large Flan Type

125-100    B.C.      Common

Gold Stater    7.3-7.8 gms.    22 mm

 

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776b

 

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right

Identifying points:

    1) more prominent wreath than on 10 - 01

    2) face larger than on 10 - 01

 

REV: Celticized horse right

 

Identifying points:

    1) more open space in field than on 10 - 01

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic AC

 

NOTES:

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Typical weight given

  - Ambianic origin

 

 

 

 

12-01

12 - 01    Large Flan Type

125-100 B.C      Common

Gold Stater    7.8 gms.    26 mm

 

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776b

 

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left

Identifying points:

    1) naturalistic face

 

REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) complex flower below horse

    2) stylized charioteer above

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic AB1

 

NOTES:

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Standard weight given

  - Ambianic origin

  - Some in museums

 

 

 

 

15-01

15 - 01    Large Flan Type

125-100 B.C.    Common

Gold Quarter Stater    1.4-2.1 gms.    4 mm

 

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

 

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right

Identifying points

    1) naturalistic face

 

REV: Celticized horse right

Identifying points:

    1) naturalistic charioteer

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic AA2

 

NOTES:

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Typical weight given

  - Ambianic origin

 

 

 

 

17-01

17 - 01    Large Flan Type

125-100 B.C.      Very Rare

Gold Quarter Stater    1.7-2.0 gms.    14 mm

 

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

 

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right

Identifying points:

    1) more prominent wreath than on 15 - 01

    2) face larger than on 15 - 01

 

REV: Celticized horse right

Identifying points:

    1) more open space in field than on 15 - 01

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic A

 

NOTES:

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Typical weight given

  - Ambianic origin

 

 

 

 

20-01

20 - 01    Large Flan Type

125-100 B.C.      Common

Gold Quarter Stater    1.4-2.0 gms.    14 mm

 

Earliest Record: Camden, 1789 (Gough edition)

 

OBV: Celticized head left

Identifying points:

    1)naturalistic face

 

REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) complex flower below horse

    2) stylized charioteer above

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic AB2

 

NOTES:

  - Normally occurs in worn condition

  - Typical weight given

  - Ambianic origin

  - Many in museums

 

 

 

 

30-01

30 - 01    Defaced Die Type

125-100 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Gold Stater    7.85    gms.19 mm

 

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

 

OBV: Die defaced with chisel-marks

Identifying points:

    1) remnant of Apollo head visible beneath marks

 

REV: Celticized horse right

Identifying points:

    1) as 10-1

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic BA1

 

NOTES:

  - Standard weight given

  - This type has been attributed to the Caletes but the original dies appear to be Ambianic in origin.

  - Many in museums

 

 

 

 

33-01

33 - 01    Defaced Die Type

125-100 B.C.      Rare

Gold Stater    7.85 gms.    17 mm

 

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

 

OBV: Die defaced with chisel-marks

Identifying points:

    1) no remnants of Apollo head visible beneath marks

 

REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

1) "lyre" below horse

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic BB1

 

NOTES:

  - Standard weight given

  - Attributed to the Caletes

  - Most in museums

  - Modern forgery exists – (see 33 - 01 - F1)

 

 

 

 

35-01

35 - 01 Defaced    Die    Type

125-100 B.C.      Very Rare

Gold Quarter Stater    1.8-2.0 gms.    12 mm

 

Earliest Record: Camden, 1789 (Gough edition)

 

OBV: Die defaced with chisel-marks

Identifying points:

    1) remnant of Apollo head visible below marks

 

REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) as 20-1

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic BA2

 

NOTES:

  - Typical weight given

  - Attributed to the Caletes

 

 

 

 

37-01

37 - 01    Defaced Die Type

125-100 B.C.      Common

Gold Quarter Stater    1.4-1.9 gms.    12 mm

 

Earliest Record: Petavius, 1610

 

OBV: Die defaced with chisel-marks

Identifying points:

    1) no remnants of Apollo head visible beneath marks

 

REV: Two Celticized horses left

Identifying points:

  1) "lyre" below horses

  2) "Rider" on horses

 

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic BB2

 

NOTES:

  - Typical weight given

  - Attributed to the Caletes

  - Some in museums

 

 

 

 

5 - 03    Spit Type

ca. 200-50 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Iron Currency Bar

 

Earliest Record: Allen, 1967b

 

OBV: Similar to Sword Type

Identifying points:

    1) thinner blade

    2) shorter hilt

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Not usually found hoarded

  - Iron requires special conservation treatment

  - Most are in museums

 

 

 

 

5 - 05    Ploughshare Type

ca. 200-50 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Iron Currency Bar

 

Earliest Record: Allen, 1967b

 

OBV: Similar to Sword Type

Identifying points:

    1) thicker blade

    2) heavier blade

 

REV: Same as obverse

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Not usually found hoarded

  - Iron requires special conservation treatment

  - Often found along the Thames, and were possibly votive offerings

  - Most are in museums

 

 

 

 

5 - 07    Bay-Leaf Type

ca. 200-50 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Iron Currency Bar

 

Earliest Record: Allen, 1967b

 

OBV: Similar to Sword Type

Identifying points:

    1) long hilt

    2) hilt has semi-circular section

Identifying points:

    1) same as obverse

 

CLASSIFICATION: None

 

NOTES:

  - Not usually found hoarded

  - Iron requires special conservation treatment

  - Most are in museums

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, the earliest forms of money thought to have been used in Britain were small rings of gold and iron bars shaped like swords.

 

We now know the rings date from the Middle Bronze Age, ca. 1500 - 1000 B.C. At such an early time they would have functioned as jewelry or hair ornaments. Their only possible monetary function might have been as a means of storing wealth.

 

Caesar mentions the iron bars in his writings, placing them as late as 55 B.C. There is no agreement about the way they could have functioned as money.

 

Copyright R. D. Van Arsdell 2017