111 - Cheriton Wheel

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Unique ID: 111

Technical details









Issuing Authority









Very Rare (16 to 30)


50 BC to 40 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse is based around the standard abstract rendering of Apollo’s head which was ultimately derived from the Philippus. This coin is off-struck and shows the lower portion of the design, with the normally central hairbar appearing at the very top right of the coin. Rather than a straight line as on other coins, the hairbar here is flanked by two thinner lines, and is topped by a large pellet with “pins” sticking into it. Two of these can be seen on this coin.

Two hairlocks can be seen the the left of the hairbar. Both appear to be double struck, but this seems to be a feature of the die as they appear like this on other coins. This is obverse die 2, so it’s possible it was recut and we’re seeing a ghost from the earlier die. Below the hairlocks are the leaves of the wreath (only the upper row can be seen) and the cloak. This is made of two rows of downward facing leaves in a three line frame with and ornate scroll top.

The field of large pellets, with three of them ringed, can be seen to the left of the hairlocks and cloak. This is a distinguishing feature of this type. One of the ringed pellets sits atop the ghost of a ringed pellet, which may have been left over from the previous obverse die. None of the existing coins from obverse 1 show this part of the design, so there’s no way to tell at the moment. Portions of a pellet and a ringed pellet can be seen above the hairlocks.

Reverse Description

The reverse shows the remnants of the horse drawn biga and Charioteer from the Philippus. The horse faces right and has a triple tail, which was a feature novel to Britain. The charioteer’s arms can be seen above the horse, and the “coffee bean” chariot wheel can be seen below the tail. There are three large pellets behind the horse, and a wheel below.

Bought in private sale (Nov 2020)


Found Preston Candover, Hampshire


ABC 758. Cheriton Wheel

Divided Kingdoms

DK 213. Cheriton Wheel

The Cheriton Wheel stater was small local issue in the Hampshire region. This territory is assigned to the Belgae, so it is attributed to them, but as they were a confederation of immigrants from northen Gaul, it is most likely that it was minted by an unknown tribe within the confederation. It is one of the larger local issues from this region, so was probably minted by one of the larger members. The reverse of the coin is derived from British Qa or Qd, which places them just after the end of the Gallic War.

The obverse is influenced by the Gallo-Belgic F stater which was minted by the Suessiones during the Gallic wars. This is known as an “Eye Stater” because of the large eye on the obverse (which is unfortunately off-flan on this coin). One of the two known Eye Star quarter staters (see 90), which were influenced by the Bellovaci’s Eye staters, was found in this area (and the other not far away), so perhaps they are the companions to this stater, despite their slightly different sources.

This coin has a hole through it and a surrounding flat area. The hole appears to be natural, but is conviniently placed so that the horse sits the right way up when suspended from a cord. There is a small amount of smoothing around the inside edges of the hole which suggests that it might have been, but it’s not an excessive amount, and no where near the levels seen on the coin surfaces.

The smooth areas on the coin’s surfaces are hard to explain. It’s unlikely that the wear was caused by being worn as a pendant, because the wear on the coin surfaces far exceeds the wear inside the hole. The wear should also be symetrical around the hole if it was caused by the cord rubbing, but it mainly forms to one side of the hole when suspended vertically. The coin isn’t flat so we’d also expect to see the wear cut into the surfaces more at the edges.

It’s possible that the coin was used as a touch piece, with the owner constantly gripping the portion with the hole. It does fit nicely between the thumb and forefinger (like a guitar plectrum), but I’d expect to see much more wear on the rest of the coin if this was the cause. The rest of the coin doesn’t look like it was handled excessively.

The smooth areas aren’t tong marks because the coin is curved, and tongs would have flattened it as well as smoothed it. The flan is thinner than the rest of the coin here (1.86mm vs 2.44mm), so it’s likely that the smooth areas were caused by the image not being transferred from the dies to this thinner portion when it was struck.