18 - Clacton Dragon

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 18

Technical details


Quarter Stater






North Thames

Issuing Authority









Extremely Rare (6 to 15)


55 BC to 54 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows a boat with two figures. A quatrefoil “solar symbol” and small triangle appear to the left.

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 consists of a curved line running horizontally, with a rounded “head” with an eyelet in it. This is the dragonesque motif that gives the coin its name.

Above and to the left are two lines that converge to a pellet tip, resembling a traditional comet or shooting star motif. Above and central are two pelleted lines with a single pellet below. Above and to the right is a single pellet and a crescent on the very edge of the flan.

There are some unidentifiable shapes below the line

Bt. Noble Numismatics Pty Ltd (2017). Unsold in Auction 115, lot 4636

Chris Rudd List 144, lot 29

Ex Anton Beasley Collection.


ABC 2353. Clacton Dragon

Divided Kingdoms

DK 422. British F2 Class 1 – Dragon

The Clacton Dragon stands at the head of an interesting sequence where the reverse undergoes a radical redesign midway through obverse die one. It starts with the reverse shown in ABC, then this one, and then three different “dragon” dies which are all only known from a single coin each (see 27 for one of them). The reverse is then completely redesigned to ABC 2356 “Clacton Cross” (see 20 and 94) but the same obverse remains in use until it wears flat and is then replaced. The Clacton Cross type continues for six obverse dies and fourteen reverse dies.

It’s not known why the reverse switched from a “dragon” to a cross, nor why the Clacton Dragon coins are so rare but the Clacton Cross coins are much more common.

This is one of two in the collection (see 27).