103 - Cogwheel Smiler

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 103

Technical details


Quarter Stater







Issuing Authority









Extremely Rare (6 to 15)


49 BC to 40 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse is based on the standard “two men in a boat” design, although the addition of a vertical dotted line and the rendering of the figures means they may be better described as sails. The S shaped object that normally appears in the design has gone, and the fields now feature ringed pellets, cog wheels and pellets. These are symmetrical in number if not quite in layout. Like the associated Cheriton Smiler stater (59), the engraver is breaking from tradition and modernising the design. It is unknown if the original meanings were retained, assuming of course that the original designs of Apollo’s head and the boat had any meaning at the time.

The obverse is sometimes rotated 180 degrees and described as a stylised animal (normally a boar but sometimes a wolf), but the arguments for this are unconvincing and the text required to describe the design as a boar or other abstract animal becomes increasingly convoluted.

A possible interpretation of the boat and its passengers was presented by Daphne Nash Briggs in "Reading the images on lron-Age coins: I. the sun-boat and its passengers".

Reverse Description

The reverse is a complete break from tradition, and features a relatively naturalisting left facing horse with size ringed pellets around, and a solar symbol above. Two ringed pellets appear on the horse’s hips and shoulders, but they are worn away on this coin. Other coins show that the ringed pellet below the horse features four radiating lines below, reminiscent of a comet or a four stringed lyre as seen on other Celtic coins. A comet was visible in 44 BC which is within the suggested timeframe of these coins, and the possible meaning of the four stringed lyre is discussed here.

Bought from finder on Facebook (Oct 2020)

Found West Wellow, Hampshire


ABC 770. Cogwheel Smiler

Divided Kingdoms

DK 318. British Db2 Class 2a – Cheriton Cogwheels

The Cogwheel Smiler quarter stater is the companion to the British Db1 Cheriton Smiler stater (59). The obverse is derived from the series of quarter staters showing a boat on the obverse. For example:

The engraver was obviously breaking with tradition and modernising the design. It is unknown if the original meanings were retained (assuming of course that the original design of the boat had any meaning at the time). The rendering of the boat’s hull mimicks the “toothy grin” that the full stater is famous for.

The reverse is a complete break from tradition. All of the quarter staters leading up to this one featured some kind of geometric design on the reverse, but this one features a left facing horse with ringed pellets and a solar symbol, much like the British Q style quarters which appeared around this time.

This was the second last quarter stater minted by the Belgae (or more likely an unknown tribe no longer in the historical record) before they dissapeared.