120 - Hampshire Thunderbolt

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 120

Technical details


Quarter Stater







Issuing Authority









Scarce (51 to 100)


53 BC to 50 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows a boat with two figures. An S shaped object appears on the left, with an array of pellets to the right.

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

An elongated S shaped line (the thunderbolt) runs vertically, bisecting a straight horizontal line. The upper right quadrant contains a diagonal line and traces of a torc, and the lower right contains a butterfly shaped object. The lower left quadrant contains a torc, and the upper left quadrant contains the edge of an L shaped object and a pellet. These are all one place clockwise from normal, except the pellet in the upper left quadrant which has moved two places.

Note that the intended orientation on the reverse is unknown.

Bt. Private sale March 2021

Ex. Silbury Coins PC446. August 2020


ABC 767. Hampshire Thunderbolt

Divided Kingdoms

DK 304 – 306. British B2 – Thunderbolt

Van Arsdell

VA 203-01. Atrebatic A – Geometric Type


S 46. Geometric Type

The Hampshire Thunderbolt quarter staters were minted by the Belgae (or more likely an unknown tribe no longer in the historical record) around 53-50 BC. They are a continuation of the boat and geometric theme started by the Morini tribe with their GB-Ca2 and GB-D quarter staters.

This coin is obverse die 1, reverse die 6, and is only the third coins with this reverse die that I know of (“Divided Kingdoms” only lists two). Reverse die 6 is interesting as the objects in the quadrants are in the wrong positions; every quadrant is rotated one place clockwise. The pellet in the upper left quadrant moves two quadrants. The previous reverse die (number 5, which is also very rare) swapped the upper left and lower right quadrants. The next die, (number 7, got it right again, but number 8 reverted to swapping the upper left and lower right quadrants. Dies after this are all correct. It’s possible that dies 5, 6 and 8 were cut by an apprentice die cutter. Either that or the normal die cutter became very distracted for a while.

This is one of twelve in the collection (see 2, 14, 28, 32, 37, 40, 43, 50, 117, 122, and 123).