34 - Carn Brea

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Unique ID: 34

Technical details


Quarter Stater







Issuing Authority









Very Rare (16 to 30)


70 BC to 55 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows the remains of a boat with two figures. A die break on the left helps identify the type.

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 is split horizontally by a crooked line. Above is an elongated pellet with small rays emanating from the bottom, and large rays from the top. A reversed L shape is on the right. Below the line is a large triangular die break and a line to its right

Bt. Chris Rudd Auction 158 Lot 38 April 2018. Misclassified as “Great Waltham Chevron”

Divided Kingdoms

DK 148 – 149. British Aa2 Class 2 – Carn Brea

The Carn Brea quarter stater is one of the earliest gold coins struck in Britain, and is contemporary with the Insular Cf coins (see 29 and 41). They are found both north and south of the Thames, from Dorset to Snettisham, making it difficult to attribute them to any particular tribe. Dr. John Sills posits that they might have been minted by the forerunners of the Atrebates (See “Divided Kingdoms” p118-119). They get their name from the Carn Brea hoard found in Cornwall in 1749.

The Carn Brea quarter is class 2 of the British Aa series. Class 1 “Prototype” was derived either from classes 3-5 of GB-Ca2 or Insular Sills Cf2 (see 29 and 41). Carn Brea was the inspiration for British Ab2 “Great Waltham Chevron” (see 35) and it can be very difficult to tell them apart.

This is one of two in the collection (see 39).