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Plate 29     Iceni    <info 1>  < 2 >

Page 2

The Coinage of the Iceni

After the war an extensive Icenian silver coinage was produced, which probably continued up to the time of the Boudiccan Rebellion. Silver units were produced to a standard weight of 1.25g. for nearly 100 years, a remarkable economic and technological achievement. There was a bewildering succession of types, subtypes and minor die varieties. These varieties have been systematically analyzed by John Talbot, and the arrangement is now reasonably certain. It appears that in any given period, three separate kinds of silver were being struck. Talbot suggests that the main Icenian mint either had two branch mints, or alternatively three workshops within a single mint. It is also possible that the different kinds of silver were either produced for different purposes, or perhaps at different times within a given period. Generally, the absolute chronology needs additional work. The chronology used here makes use of the work reported in John Talbot and Ian Leins's 2010 paper in The British Numismatic Journal.

The FRECKENHAM TYPE disappeared by 20 A.D. and the uninscribed silver coins were superseded by the dynastic. Very few inscribed gold coins are known. It is possible the gold coinage was minimal and the Iceni used silver coins augmented with Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian gold after 20 A.D. The Icenian dynastic period is largely one of a prolific silver coinage, beginning with the addition of an inscriptions to the CRESCENT TYPE and the introduction of the EMBLEM TYPE.

Most of the major types are listed here, but some of the minor issues need to be added. The dating of the various issues is controversial and that offered is somewhat arbitrary, based on die studies, typological sequences and analyses of coin hoards deposited around the rebellion of 61 A.D.

Page 1

The Coinage of the Iceni

The Iceni occupied the area that is today Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Cambridgeshire. Until the time of the Gallic War, the tribe seems economically isolated. Large Flan, Defaced Die and Abstract Design Type staters are not commonly found in Icenian territory, and presumably few were imported. Locally-made coins, the NORFOLK WOLF TYPE staters and BURY TYPE silver, were first produced late in the Gallic War. The earliest Icenian gold coinage comprises gold staters with the abstracted head of Apollo on the obverse and a disjointed wolf on the reverse. The heavy weight indicates the series began some time around the end of the war. After the war, the coins become quite debased and bronze cores of plated staters occur with some frequency. Later, a small coinage of SNETTISHAM TYPE coins were struck in gold and silver.

Apparently, extensive trading contacts developed during the war with the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni. A small number of Gallic War Type staters are found and uninscribed staters of the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni also appear. After the war, the coins of Addedomaros and Tasciovanus circulated. It is possible the Iceni relied on these imports instead of striking their own gold in volume.

About 20 B.C., the gold content of the Icenian coinage was restored with the introduction of the FRECKENHAM TYPE. Staters and quarters were struck lighter in weight to conform with the coinages of the other British tribes. The staters had a flower pattern or cross of pellets on the obverse and a Celticized horse on the reverse. Three major types occurred, described either as EARLIER and LATER, based on style and the progressive damage to one particular die linked with several others. Since all three types occurred in the Freckenham Hoard, it is likely they were contemporary.

Continued….

Iceni    Dynastic Issues    <info>

Coins Inscribed ECEN <info>

Coins Inscibed ECEN and variations of ECEN

The inscription ECEN, which appears in various forms, is traditionally thought to be the name of the tribe. One of the legs of the horse may supply the missing letter "I", completing the spelling "ECENI". At least one minor die variety is known, on which an added line may actually be the missing letter. Recently however, it has been suggested by Nash-Briggs the inscription could possibly be the title or epithet of a leader.

An extensive series, on which the inscription is replaced by a symbol, occurs within the ECEN issues. Although a chronological placement of the sub-types has been suggested, based on typological analyses, John Talbot has now suggested an alternate arrangement. All of the types are now seen to be roughly contemporary, with three different die groups involved. The first, Mint Group A is seen as the primary group. This group is not indicated in the coin descriptions. Talbot suggests the Groups B and C could be struck at branch mints (controlled by the primary mint), or separate workshops within the main mint. Alternative interpretations would include Groups B and C as special-purpose coins struck, perhaps, intermittently, or as simply the work of different die-cutters. It is not possible to select a likely interpretation from these, and the issue remains unresolved. Groups B and C are indicated in the coin descriptions.

The overall chronology of the types is particularly difficult to determine. The issue starts after the ANTED series, possibly around 35 A.D. and ends sometime around the time of the Claudian Invasion of 43 A.D. However, it is also likely the output continued for some time after 43 A.D.

Previously, all ECEN coins accepted as genuine were either silver units or fractions. A plated coin made from a bronze core covered with a yellow metal, presumably gold, was offered for sale in 1980. This had a design similar to an ANTED stater but carried the inscription ECEN. Unfortunately, known Haslemere forgeries were offered simultaneously and although the coin in question has never been condemned it was not included in the 1989 catalogue. The catalogue now lists this plated core as 725 - 02. Sometime after 1990, normal gold staters inscribed ECEN started to appear, and these look to be genuine. They are listed here as 725 - 01.

A comment must be made about the rarity estimates for ECEN. In general, the coins are common, but there are some extremely rare types. Unfortunately, the records for these coins often fail to identify the exact variety, and opinion in the numismatic trade is divided—as a result the ratings in this section are provisional.

Icenian Dynastic Coinages

At the end of the uninscribed coinages, an enigmatic coin appeared with the inscription CANI DURO (see Plate 25). This may have been a local issue, or alternatively, the start of the dynastic issues.

The first certain dynastic issues start with the inscription ANTED, about 20 A.D. It is difficult to explain why the Iceni failed to inscribe their coins prior to this, possibly the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni exercised some influence over the tribe to prevent it. The coinage included a very small issue of gold staters and a large issue of silver units and fractions. ANTED is thought to be a personal name, or less likely, a title of a ruler.

Later, possibly around 35 A.D., coins inscribed ECEN appear. Again a very small issue of gold staters is accompanied with a large issue of silver units and fractions. ECEN is traditionally thought to be the name of the tribe, but is possibly the title or epithet of a ruler, instead.

Coins inscribed SAENV, AESV and ESV PRASTO ESICO FECIT appear at an uncertain date around the time of the ECEN coinage. Traditionally, the SUB ESVPRASTO coin was attributed to Prasutagus, but the interpretation has become much more complicated since 2000. The most recent thinking is that these three types are all somehow related.

A final group of uninscribed silver units starts sometime towards the end of the ECEN series and probably continues after the Claudian invasion. The very last of these coins are known only from the hoards of the Boudiccan Rebellion. These final types represent the coinage of Queen Boudicca, struck to finance the Icenian revolt of 61 A. D.

 

Silver Coins Inscribed ECEN    Icenian H

730.01732.01732.03734.01736.01738.01

738.01

738 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Fraction    0.5 gms.    1.1 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 736 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) as 736 - 01, except for monogram
     2) ECN monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, possibly commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.
               Published examples do not show the horse's head — presumed to be the                     outline head type.

736.01

736 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Fraction    0.4 gms.    1.1 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1953

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) two crescents back-to-back
     2) two pellets between crescents
     3) points of crescents connected by lines and rows of pellets to form               triangles

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) horse has outline head
     2) pellets around horse and below tail
     3) ECE monogram below horse (letter N possibly off the flan on published                examples)

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, possibly commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

734.01

734 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    12 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1964

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) EDN monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, possibly commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

732.03 new

732 - 03    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver/Bronze Plated Unit    13 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1991 (not published)

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 732 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 732 - 01
     2) monogram under horse simplified to just the letter E

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Ancient forgery.

732.01

732 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    13 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse simplified to just the letter E

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, possibly commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

730.01

730 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    C
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) two outline crescents back to back
     2) two pellets between crescents
     3) crescents between two parallel lines
     4) lines and rows of pellets extend perpendicularly from the two lines

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) horse has outline head
     2) daisy above horse
     3) pellets below horse and under the tail
     2) ECEN monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian H

NOTES: Many in museums.

 

Silver Coins Inscribed ECEN    Icenian I

740.01740.01 another742.01744.01

744.01

744 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Fraction    0.55 gms.    11 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 736 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 736 - 01
     2) horse has linear head
     3) No monogram under horse on published examples

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian I

742.01

742 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Fraction    0.4 gms.    11 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 736 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) as 736 - 01 , except for monogram under horse
     2) EC monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian I

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, possibly commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

740.01 another

740 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) ED monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian I

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

740.01

740 - 01    ECEN    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) ED monogram under horse

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian I

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

 

Silver Coins    ECEN Symbol Type    Icenian J

750.01754.01754.01754.01 another754.03 new756.01758.01

758.01

758 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1953

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by a line with a pellet at the top

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

756.01

756 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by an upside-down V

CLASSIFICATI()N: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

754.03 new

754 - 03    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver/Bronze Plated Unit   14 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1991 (not published)

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by three pellets in a line

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Ancient forgery.

754.01 another

754 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.   14 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by three pellets in a line

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

754.01

754 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.   14 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by three pellets in a line

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

752.01

752 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by a Y made of three lines and a pellet

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

750.01

750 - 01    ECEN Symbol Type    35-43 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.25 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Stukeley, 1776

OBV: Double crescent emblem
Identifying points:
     1) as 730 - 01

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) As 730 - 01 except for monogram under horse
     2) monogram under horse replaced by a triangle

CLASSIFICATION: Icenian J

NOTES: Inaccurate records for this type, probably commoner than indicated.
               Many in museums.

 

 

 

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