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Plate 1     Early Use of Money <info>

The Earliest Forms of Money

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.

 

Ring Money and Currency Bars    <info> <5-03> <5-05> <5-07>

1.011.031.055.01

 

 

5.01

5 - 01    SWORD TYPE    ca. 200-50 B.C.    C
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.

1.05

1 - 05    Double-Ring Type    Middle Bronze Age    ER
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.

1.03

1 - 03    Plain Type    Middle Bronze Age    VR
Gold Ring Money    ca. 3-12 gms.    ca. 13-16 mm

Earliest Record:

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

NOTES: - Weights and diameters vary considerably.
               - Primarily used as ornaments, may have
                 functioned as money.
               - Often occur plated.

1.01

1 - 01    Twisted Wire Type    ca. 1500-1000 B.C.    VR
Gold Ring Money    ca. 4-15 gms    ca. 23 mm

Earliest Record:

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.

 

5 - 07    Bay-Leaf Type    ca. 200-50 B.C.    ER
Iron Currency Bar

Earliest Record: Allen, 1967b

OBV: Similar to Sword Type
Identifying points:
     1) long hilt
     2) hilt has semi-circular section
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.    ER
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 - 03    Spit Type    ca. 200-50 B.C.    ER
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.

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

The descriptions of the other three follow to the right.

Imported Gold Coinage   <info>   Gallo-Belgic A   Large Flan Type    <info>

Gold coins imported into Britain well before the Gallic War.

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.

10.0110.0212.0115.0117.0120.01

20.01

20 - 01    Large Flan Type    125-100 B.C.    VR
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.

17.01

17 - 01    Large Flan Type    125-100 B.C.    VR
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.

15.01

15 - 01    Large Flan Type    125-100 B.C.    VR
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.

12.01

12 - 01    Large Flan Type    125-100 B.C    S
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.

10.02

10 - 02    Large Flan Type    125-100    B.C.     S
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.

10.01

10 - 01    Large Flan Type    125-100 B.C.    S
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: - Normally occurs in worn condition.
            - Forgery known: see 10 - 01F.
            - Standard weight given.
            - Ambianic origin.

 

Imported Gold Coinage    Gallo-Belgic B    Defaced Dies Type    <info>

30.01 33.0135.0137.01

 

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37.01

37 - 01    Defaced Die Type    125-100 B.C.    R
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.

35.01

35 - 01 Defaced    Die    Type    125-100 B.C.    ER
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.

33.01

33 - 01    Defaced Die Type    125-100 B.C.    ER
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

IMPORTED COINAGE

CLASSIFICATION: Gallo-Belgic BB1

NOTES: - Standard weight given.
               - Attributed to the Caletes.
               - Most in museums.
               - Modern forgery exists—See 33 - 0lF.

30.01

30 - 01    Defaced Die Type    125-100 B.C.    ER
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.

Gold coins imported into Britain well before the Gallic War.

The reason for defacing the dies is not known.