109 - British F1 Shotley

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Unique ID: 109

Technical details








North Thames

Issuing Authority









Very Rare (16 to 30)


55 BC to 54 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows a very abstracted rendering of Apollo’s head ultimately derived from the Philippus. It mainly comprises of a wreath and hairlocks, bisected by a hair bar. The badly defined shapes on the right hand side are all that remains of Apollo’s face. The horizontal “A” shaped object at the bottom of the coin (the lower leg is mainly off flan) with the pellets in it is Apollo’s cloak.

Reverse Description

The reverse shows the remnants of the horse drawn biga and Charioteer from the Philippus. The horse faces left, and has a curved neck, although that’s mainly off flan on this coin. The horse has a distinctive “stacked saucers” appearance. There is a pellet field above the horse, and a large pellet below with ten “pellet headed pins” attached.

Bought from the finder on Facebook 2020


ABC 2332. Late Clacton

Divided Kingdoms

DK 415. British F1 Class 1 – Shotley

British F is a type best discussed alongside British G. British F and G were the earliest gold coinage of the Trinovantes tribe, but have radically different styles. British G has a Belgic style, with the first obverse being copied from GB-Ca class 5b and the reverse being copied from GB-E class 1. They are so similar that it is thought a Belgic die cutter cut the dies. British F has a Westerham style, and was derived from British Ab class 3 (see 92).

Hoard evidence, and the semi-circular exergue on the first two British F reverse dies, suggests that British G was the first to be minted. The question is, why did the style change from Belgic to British?

“Divided Kingdoms” suggests that the reason can be found in Julius Caesar’s “Bellum Gallicum” – the Gallic Wars. Book 5 chapter 12 says that “The interior portion of Britain is inhabited by those of whom [that] were born in the island itself: the maritime portion by those who had passed over from the country of the Belgae”.

Book 5 chapter 20 tells us that Mandubratius of the Trinovantes came to Gaul after the first invasion of Britain to seek Caesar’s help because his father Imanuentius, the king of the Trinovantes, had been killed by Cassivellaunus.

So we have a tribe of probable Belgae descendants being taken over by an indigenous British tribe, and a series of Belgic style coins being replaced with British style coins. The most likely explanation is that British G was minted by Imanuentius, and British F was minted by Cassivellaunus when he took over the Trinovantes. If this is correct then it allows us to date the coins quite closely, because British F must have started between the two invasions, and must have stopped after the second invasion when the replacement coins (British L) started.

The companion quarter staters to British F are the Clacton Dragon (see 18 and 27) and Clacton Cross (see 20 and 94).