27 - Clacton Dragon

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 27

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 the line are various sharp pointed lines coming from the edge of the flan, and an elongated pellet with a circular eye hole in it.

A variety of objects appear below the line. On the left is a vertical line with two pellets on it, with a pellet to its right. A similar line appears on the right, but horizontaly this time. In the bottom middle is a spanner shaped object leaning to the right which touches a claw shaped object leaning to the left. A rounded rectangular object on the end of a line appears below.

Bt. From finder on Ebay 2018. Item number 173209894509

Found August 2015 near South Ockendon, Essex.


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. There are five reverse dies that I know of, but only two of them feature in Divided Kingdoms which is the most up-to-date book featuring these coins. The three unpublished reverse dies are unique. This coin is one of them.

The reverse is completely redesigned midway through obverse die one, to become 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 18).