71 - Sattelkopfpferd Type

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 71

Technical details






Eastern Europe


North Eastern Bulgaria

Issuing Authority









Very Common (200+)


150 BC to 50 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

Abstract head of Zeus facing right.

Reverse Description

Abstract horse facing left. The rider has been reduced to a pair of legs and two pellets.


Lanz 612. Sattelkopfpferd Type (This coin)

The Sattelkopfpferd Type tetradrachm (Saddle Head Horse) is a very common coin minted by the Celts in Eatern Europe. The coins have been found in many places, with Romania being the most common. It was previously thought that they were minted there, but a matrix for making an obverse die was found in the Rousse area of Bulgaria, near the Celtic settlement of Mediolana on the Danube, suggesting that that’s where the mint was. Mac Congail dates these to the end of the 2nd century to the start of the 1st century BC.

The Sattelkopfpferd Type is named after the distinctive shape of the horse’s head. It’s a continuation of the Zweigarm Type (see 76) with the rider replaced by pellets. The Zweigarm Type (branch arm) was derived from Philip II of Macedon’s Tetradrachms.

For completeness, I’ll note that Metodi Manov (National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; 2018) disputes both the Romanian and Rousse mint locations, and also the dating. He says the matrix “was certainly found in the region of the modern town of Vratsa in Northwestern Bulgaria”. From this he posits that the Sattelkopfpferd Type coins were minted between 242 and 218 BC in Vratsa by King Kavaros for the tribes of Mikroi Skordiskoi (Little Scordisci). Very little information on these coins is written in English (the textbooks I have are in German, and details for this particular theory are in Bulgarian), so I haven’t been able to investigate this further or see if there have been any rebuttals. The publishers of the paper added a footnote that said “Metodi Manov’s article […] is based on problematic findings, which define it as debatable”. I will stick with the earlier interpretations for now.