6 - Westerham Geometric

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 6

Technical details


Quarter Stater






North Thames

Issuing Authority









Excessively Rare (2 to 5)


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 column of elongated pellets arranged in a chevron pattern appears to the left, and a single elongated pellet 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

The reverse is split horizontally by a “crankshaft” line, made up of L shapes. Above is an elongated pellet with small rays emanating from the sides and bottom, and large rays from the top. Ornate scrollwork appears below the crankshaft.

Note that the intended orientation on the reverse is unknown, although the crankshaft is traditionally show running horizontally.

Bt. Mike Vosper 2017 (ref CE-BBTW)


ABC 2451. Westerham Geometric

Divided Kingdoms

DK 398. British Ab2 Class 1 – Great Waltham Chevron

The Westerham Geometric quarter is part of a complicated sequence that derives from the British Aa2 Class 2 “Carn Brea” quarter (see 34 and 39). Reverse die 1 is an almost exact copy of Carn Brea, and telling them apart can be challenging. Reverse die 2 onwards are reinterpretations of the original design, but with a degree of artistic flair. This coin is from the later dies.

In terms of dating, “ABC” assigns it to the 80-50 BC range, and John Sills assigns it to around 55 BC to 54 BC in “Divided Kingdoms” (p713). John Sills’ theory is that the whole Ab/Ac series was minted for the second invasion of Britain in 54 BC. His reasoning is that the Ac staters copy features from GB-E class 4L staters (minted around 54 to 53 BC) and GB-D class 5 quarters (minted around 55 to 54 BC) so must be contemporary with, or postdate, that. He also argues that the coins in circulation north of the Thames (British Ab-c, F and G) were replaced by the British L coins, and he dates them to 53 BC and the immediate aftermath of the second invasion.

This is one of two in the collection (see 22).