77 - Duro Thunderbolt

Copyright tcx3.co.uk

Unique ID: 77

Technical details


Quarter Stater






South Western

Issuing Authority









Very Common (200+)


50 BC to 40 AD (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

Traces of the standard “boat with two figures” design.

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

A zig-zag line (sometimes called a thunderbolt) runs vertically with lines running parallel to the vertical sections. The top left is a pelleted line and the top right is a straight line. Both lines are pelleted on the bottom part of the thundrbolt.

The upper left quadrant contains a “clamshell” motif. Below this is worn so we can’t tell what was once there. The top right appear to have a large curve which is perhaps the outer edge of another clamshell. The bottom right has a ringed pellet and a faint object that could be the remains of the rat.

Bt. from David Turner. Ebay item number 392480464864 (2019)

Ex. David Turner collection


ABC 2217. Duro Thunderbolt


S 368. Geometric Type

The Duro Thunderbolt quarter staters were minted by the Durotriges sometime between 50 BC and 40AD. They are a continuation of the boat and geometric theme started by the Morini tribe with their GB-Ca2 and GB-D quarter staters. By the time the Durotriges minted these they had run out of precious metals, so these are made from a low quality billon alloy containing no gold and almost no silver. They would normally be classed as silver units because of their size, weight, and thickness, but they are quarter staters because the entire Durotriges monetary system became highly debased (they eventually struck, and then cast, staters in bronze), and inflation would have caused the lower denominations such as silver units to be abandoned, leaving just staters and quarter staters, and ultimately just staters.

It can appear tricky to tell Duro Thunderbolts apart from Badbury Rats (ABC 2214; see 10 and 23) because all the major features such as the thunderbolt, clamshell, ringed pellets, dotted lines and the rat can be present on both. The key difference is that the thunderbolt chages direction. On the Badbury Rat coins the top is to the left of the bottom, but on the Duro Thunderbolt coins, the top is to the right of the bottom.