Featured Rare Celtic Britain, Cunobelin, Catuvellauni & Trinovantes.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Spaniard, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Just picked up this little rarity from Celtic Britain and thought I'd share it.
    I was initially drawn to the coins reverse depiction of a metal worker and it went from there. This is my first Celtic coin and find the history really intriguing. This was an impulse purchase as it's not an area I collect in normally, primarily because Celtic coins can get expensive! But this coin REALLY called to me and the fact it's quite rare is an added bonus.
    King of the Britons "Cunobelin" ("Strong Dog"). From the Catuvellauni & Trinovantes tribes.
    Here it is...
    Britannia, Trinovantes & Catuvellauni. Cunobelin. Circa 9-41 AD. AE Unit (2.437 g, 14mm).
    Obv: Winged head left, CVNO in front, BELIN behind.
    Rev: Metal worker, presumably the smith god known as Sucellus in parts of Gaul, sitting on a solid seat with a detached upright back, holding an L-shaped hammer in his right hand, left hand holding a metal bowl, there is always a distinct bun of hair behind the smith's head, TASCIO (Tascionus his father) behind, beaded border.
    Van Arsdell 2097; ABC 2969; SCBC 342. Hobbs 1972-83;..VF.
    Cunobelin came into power around 9 AD and claimed to be the son of Tasciovanus, the previous king of the Caluvellani tribe its Capital being Verlamion (Modern day St Albans). Soon after he annexed the Trinovantes tribe that laid to the East with its Capital being Camulodunum (Modern day Colchester). The Triovantes had become allies to Rome via a treaty that had been made with Julius Caesar on his initial invasion of Britain back in 55/54 BC. This alliance continued with the accession of Augustus, but as the Roman military at the time were stretched to their limit, due to the continual attacks in Germania, this allowed Cunobelin to become a client king to Augustus and Rome and became known as the first 'King of the Britons' controlling the majority of South Eastern Britain until his death around AD 40.
    I was born and grew up in Devon (Dumnonii territory) and the south west of England is renowned for being 'wet, wet, wet!'. So left England 20 years ago due to the strange and sudden growth of skin between my toes! I personally feel this is why the Romans allowed client rulers in inhospitable terrains such as Britania. Their military style of battle wasn't really designed for 70% woodland and 150% wet mud!...Although they could be very versatile when focused. Keeping indigenous tribal armies such as the Trinovante and Caluvellani sweet was an easy way to annexationally hold control until they were ready!...There was definitely reciprocal trade between Rome and the Britons at this time, as archaeological digs have found a great deal of luxurious goods imported from Europe such as Italian wines and drinking vessels, olive oil, glassware and jewellery with Rome receiving grain, gold, silver, iron, hides, slaves and hunting dogs in return.........A nice little set up right up to Caligulas take over when the Romans collected all those shells!
    celtic coin.jpg

    Please feel free to post coins depicting metal workers...Celtic coins.....Or anything you feel would be interesting..
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  3. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    Very nice and interesting story, thanks
    Spaniard likes this.
  4. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Lovely coin. I'm sure I've contemplated buying it...It's probably on one of my favourites lists somewhere. And that map is very useful, I've used it many times!

    Pre-Roman British coins are very interesting, although usually small and rather expensive in good condition, presumably because most of them are discovered individually in the (wet) dirt.

    I have one of Cunobelin's (probable) father, Tasciovanus, the first to name the mint on British coins:

    Tasciovanus, 5BC-5AD
    Verlamion (near St Albans). Silver, 3rd coinage, Trinovantian O. 13mm, 1.40g. Quadrilobe inscribed with saltire, superimposed on stylized cross, V-E-R-L in angles. Boar right; TAS above, star below (Van Arsdell 1796-01).

    Tasciovanus seems to have been an important ruler, founding Verlamion, but is only known through his coins.

    Another son, Epaticcus, expanded their lands westwards into Atrebates territory.

    Epaticcus, 20-40AD
    Calleva Atrebatum. 12mm. Victory seated right, TAS-CIO-V around. Boar right, tree behind, EPAT below (ABC1349).

    Silchester, Hampshire (Calleva Atrebatum) was the capital of the Atrebates, and is about half an hour from my house.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  5. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    A very nice and unusual coin, well photographed! Interesting story as well. I've got quite a few Celtic coins, but less so from Brittain:
    [1124] Durotriges celts - Durotriges region (AR stater , 65 BC - 45 AD).jpg
    [1123] Durotriges celts - Durotriges region (AR stater , 65 BC - 45 AD).jpg
    Of course, a few Durotriges AR staters. These aren't rare, and can be bought for in between €75 for those in lesser condition (below) and €150 or more for those in better condition (above).

    Next, also from the Durotriges, a smaller denomination. It's unsure whether the obverse shows a boat with oars and two men within, or, rotating 180 degrees, a boar. The reverse shows a nice lighting bolt.
    [1128] Durotriges celts - Durotriges region (AR Quarter Stater, 58 BC - AD 43).jpg

    This one I sold because of its condition, but it's probably the first gold coin of Britain. I might well regret the sale, but it just didn't do it for me. It's rather rare, with only about 75-100 known.

    And then of course just a few more Celts just because they're so cool:
    A bronze coin from the Remii, one of the nicest I've encountered.

    A super difficult to photograph bronze coin from the small Meldi tribe, showing a wild looking male with luxurious flowing hair on the obverse, and an eagle riding a horse (yep!). Actually a rather rare coin.

    Also somewhat rare (only a handfull known): a potin coin, with a crow stepping outside the coin.

    And of course, my cherished Ambiani war stater:

    Celts are somewhat underrepresented on this forum!
  6. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    A Britannic/Celtic coin with a possible historical connection to the Claudius invasion of Britain.

    British Celtic coin - uniface silver unit - minted by the Corieltavi tribe
    ABC 1938; Van Arsdell 914, 15.27 mm, .99 gram, circa. 15-40 AD

    Obverse depiction: none (plain surface).

    Reverse depiction: stylized horse galloping left (head of horse off flan, left).
    Inscription: AVN above, [CO - obliterated] below (AVN COST - Corieltavi king).

    Illustrating head of horse (and AVN)
    on flan of a better centered coin.

    Cataloged in the British Museum collection:

    This coin is contemporaneous with the Queen of the Brigantes tribe, Cartimandua, and her association with the conquest of Britain by Claudius and his Generals. This coin could possibly have been used by her tribe who did not mint their own coins but who were close allies with the Corieltavi tribe and traded extensively with them.

    Background information: The Time Travellers (UK) Brigantes study group:
    Theodosius, Herodotus, Egry and 10 others like this.
  7. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the replies!..
    @Roerbakmix........That's a lovely selection of coins and with your pointer on prices got me searching around today. Found quite a few, thanks to your variety, that are in my price range.....All your coins are really nice pieces but 'Wow' that Ambiani war stater is a stunner!...Thanks for sharing..
    @John Conduitt......Wonderful coins John!...
    ...Thanks I didn't know this..
    That Epaticcus is a real beauty!..
    This passage is taken directly from the publication ABC (Ancient British Coins by Chris Rudd): “Epaticcus was ‘leader of horsemen’ and the son of King Tasciovanos. He was a potent prince of the Catuvellauni. He evidently captured some Atrebatic territory and ruled it on behalf of his all-powerful elder brother, Cunobelinus. His coins are classed as Atrebatic because they are found south of the Thames.”

    This sort of all ties in with likelihood that Epaticcus was permitted to govern the area by his brother as part of the Catuvellaunian hegemony that was expanding across south eastern Britain at the time.

    @jamesicus........Thanks for posting this coin, an excellent example with beautiful toning!....A really interesting link to the Brigantes James, thoroughly enjoyed the read and learnt a great deal. It also threw up a possible answer to a question that I had relating to the OP coin so thanks....

    I do have a little bit more info on the OP coin that I've found really interesting and will post my findings soon..Thanks again for all the likes, really appreciated!
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great coin, @Spaniard ! I enjoy Celtic art and style, and THAT coin is cool depicting one of their artisans! And, nice writeup.

    I lived across the Severn Estuary from your home area, in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales for a few years. Yeah, bit of daily moisture...

    Here is a metal worker from a little further south.

    Samnium Aesernia
    263-240 BCE
    AE 20
    Vulcan Pilos Tongs
    Jupiter Biga
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Very nice coin @Spaniard and thanks for the write-up.
    Spaniard likes this.
  10. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Spaniard likes this.
  11. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @ancient coin hunter and @thejewk Thanks glad you like the coin..
    @Alegandron......Nice coin!....Was wondering when a Vulcan would be posted!..That's a really good example !...This is the type I've been looking at to add to my 12 Olympians set.....Difficult to find a nice balance between ob and rev but you seem to have done it!........Cool coin !...Thanks for posting
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you for the kind words. It was my FIRST Samnium Vulcan. They were KNOWN to have split flans. So... my SECOND Vulcan coin from Samnium was this one, because it is the norm for that coin:


    Samnium, Aesernia
    AE21 263-240 BCE
    HN Italy 430
    Vulcan Left
    - Biga
  13. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Alegandron......That's more like it!.......Still got an above average portrait though!
    Alegandron likes this.
  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @John Conduitt, what had to land on me first about your example of Epaticcus is how it evokes LRB 'barbarous' issues, notably on comparable modules, vaguely (From here!) of the 4th and 5th centuries CE.
    ...Inviting the questions, could these have remained in ciculation over that kind of an interval? And if so, in what capacity? (...Should we start worrying about redefining 'circulation?')
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
    Spaniard likes this.
  15. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    And thank you @Spaniard for originating this great thread!
    Spaniard and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  16. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins @Roerbakmix - thanks for posting those pics.
    Spaniard likes this.
  17. Tasciovanus76

    Tasciovanus76 New Member

    Here's my contribution, one of several that I've been fortunate enough to find whilst metal detecting. It's a Tasciovanos Warrior of the Catuvellauni 20 20200528_180410.jpg 20200528_180209.jpg BC - 10 AD with several hidden faces on the reverse.
  18. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Spaniard, That was a great score & interesting article :happy:! Tasciovanus76, what a spectacular find :jawdrop:! I envy you Brits who can trek around fields with a metal detector & come up with finds like that :smuggrin:. Where I live the best finds in the ground are bottle caps, pocket change, & if you're real lucky a Native American artifact. I added a handsome Celtic gold coin to my collection from CNG Triton XXIV, session 4, pictured below :D.
    Triton XXIV,image01365, Coin Archives, AK.jpg CELTIC, Trinovantes & Catuvellauni, Cunobelin. Circa AD 10-43, AV Stater: 18 mm, 5.42 gm, 12 h. Camulodunum Mint. Obverse: Ear of barley, CA MV. Reverse: Galloping horse with palm branch above, war shield below, 3 pellets in the field, in exergue CVNO. ABC 2786, Van Arsdell 2010-1, SCBC 286.

    Most authors fail to identify the war shield below the horse, including Rudd & Van Arsdell, instead calling it "pellet in ring". Pictured below is the famous Celtic war shield boss that was found in the Thames River.

    Wandsworth Shield boss, 12.9 in. dia., 2nd century BC, found in the River Thames.jpg

    The Celts were pretty much "Romanized" by the time my coin was struck. They had a solid knowledge of Greco-Roman art history & were smart business men. The obverse design on my stater was clearly copied from a Metapontum nomos, circa 540-510 BC.

    Greek & Celtic coin comparison 1.jpg

    In essence my coin is a Celtic advertisement for agricultural trade products & mercenary soldiers for hire.
    Orfew, Spaniard, +VGO.DVCKS and 5 others like this.
  19. Tasciovanus76

    Tasciovanus76 New Member

    @Al Kowsky I was recently lucky enough to visit a museum in Colchester where Cunobeline's coinage was minted and they have a wonderful collection of his gold Staters there. Yours is a fabulous coin and high on my wish list.
    Spaniard and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  20. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Tasciovanus76.....Wow what an excellent find!.....As you know contrary to belief Celtic coin are still a rarity to find in the UK unlike the plethora of Roman and Medieval 'pings'!
    @Al Kowsky......Thanks I'm glad you appreciate the rarity of the OP.......Wonderful looking Stater you've got there!.....These types are out of my league at the moment I'm afraid but a 'really sweet' looking coin and also thanks for the insight on the war shield I didn't know this......
    Tasciovanus76 likes this.
  21. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter


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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
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