113 - Torc Trophy

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Unique ID: 113

Technical details


Quarter Stater




Belgic Gaul



Issuing Authority









Excessively Rare (2 to 5)


53 BC to 52 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse is blank apart from a torc. A small die break has formed above the torc.

Reverse Description

The reverse centres around a tree/trophy like object (I’ll describe it here as a tree as that makes the terminology a bit easier) with a short trunk that flows smoothly to the tips of the branches and the start of the roots. The roots come from an annulet at the base of the trunk, and each end in a pellet. The annulet contains a pellet. To the right of the right hand root is a pellet boss. It’s not known if there is one off-flan on the left side but it looks like there could be. Below the roots is a wavy line.

To the left and right of the trunk are two wavy lines with annulets at the end near the tree. These are similar to the “snakes” on the British Le2 “Double Snake” quarter stater (see 57). Above the wavy line on the left is a crescent shaped object. Above the wavy line on the right is an S shaped line.

Directly above the tree is a pellet boss.

This coin is a previously unknown Gallo-Belgic D (GB-D) class 5 quarter stater. It does not appear in any reference books, and I only know of two examples, the other of which has a badly triple struck reverse (the reverse die seems to have shifted laterally for strike 2, and then been rotated about 126 degrees anti-clockwise for strike 3).

GB-D quarter staters were minted in Belgic Gaul to finance resistance to Caesar during the Gallic Wars. This particular type is thought to have been minted over the winter of 53/52 BC which was the second last year of the war. GB-D quarters changed in nature at this time. Classes 1 to 4 were large issues which were relatively consistent within a class. They became uniface in class 3. One theory is that they became uniface to save minting time, but that argument doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny. It’s possible that the obverse was blank because they were being minted by a coalition of tribes, and no tribal marker was suitable for the obverse.

Class 5 consists of a number of small issues that use one of two main reverse designs, and have simple ornamentation on the otherwise uniface obverses. These types are normally at best excessively rare (2 to 5 coins), and new types are still being discovered. The number of different symbols on the obverse, and the low numbers of surviving coins, are probably a result of the state of the Belgic coalition towards the end of the war. The Romans overwintered in Morni territory in 55/54 BC, in the capital city of the Ambiani in 54/53, and in the territory of the Senones, Treveri, and the Lingones in 53/52 BC. It’s likely that when this coin was made in 53/52 BC, coin minting was no longer centralised and individual tribes, or pagi, had taken on responsibility for minting coins for the war effort.

Against this background, it appears that the symbols on the obverse may have identified the tribe or pagus that minted the coin. Unfortunately, neither of the coins for this type have a recorded find spot, so they continue to be attributed to the Morini like all of the other GB-D quarters.

GB-D types in the collection:

  • Branch Type (38 and 63)
  • Two Symbols (26 and 31)
  • Two Arcs Uniface (79)
  • Ornate Lines (54)
  • Two Rosettes (70 and 93)
  • Linked Rings (86)
  • Ringed Pellet Globular (47)
  • S-Wave Trophy (64)
  • Legend A (62)
  • Legend RR (81)