97 - British Af1 Lepe

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Unique ID: 97

Technical details








South Western

Issuing Authority









Scarce (51 to 100)


60 BC to 54 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows a very abstracted rendering of Apollo’s head ultimately derived from the Philippus. It mainly comprises of a wreath and hairlocks, bisected by a hair bar. The hollow crescents on the right are hair curls, and the tiny “blob” shaped object in front is all that remains of Apollo’s face. The three parallel lines and pellets at the bottom of the coin are Apollo’s cloak.

This is obverse die 4.

Reverse Description

The reverse shows the remnants of the horse drawn biga and Charioteer from the Philippus. The horse faces left with a pellet field above and a zig-zag exergue below. There’s a large crescent and pellet below the horse. The two horizontal lines coming from the rightmost leg are the horse’s tail. Above these is an oval with an elongated pellet within. This is the “coffee bean”, and it was originally the chariot wheel from the biga.

This is reverse die 18.

Bt. Baldwins (July 2020)

Auction 140 Lot 8, May 2015

Ex. Chris Fox collection

Found Monk Sherborne, Hampshire


ABC 482. Westerham South

Divided Kingdoms

DK 294. British Af1 Class 1 – Lepe (This coin)

Van Arsdell

VA 202-01 (cf.). Atrebatic A – Westerham (Southern) Type


S 21. Westerham Type

The British Af1 “Lepe” staters were modelled on early Ad “Tarring” staters, and stand at the head of the silver Durotrigan stater series. They start as gold (55% gold) but rapidly degrade to silver coins with less than 9% gold content. As a result, the late silver ones are frequently confused with the Durotriges Cranborne Chase staters (ABC 2157; see 91 and 98).

Johns Sills posits in “Divided Kingdoms” (p262) that the companion quarter might be the British Af2 “Stippled” quarter stater (see 19, 21, and 119) which also starts in gold and decays to silver. Unfortunately, he doesn’t address the fact that the Durotriges already have a series of quarters assigned to them that start in gold (ABC 2205; see 7, 8, 12, 16, 42, 51, and 112) and decay to silver (ABC 2208; see 1, 9, 13, 15, 99, 100, 110, and 118). British Af2 “Stippled” and ABC 2205/2208 are virtually identical except that Stippled has one quadrant on the reverse solid with a stippled surface, whilst ABC 2205/2208 have an L shaped block there. It’s not clear how these relate to each other, or why Sills selected Stippled rather than ABC 2205/2208 as the candidate companion quarter. If British Af stands at the head of the Durotriges coins, then ABC 2205 “Duro Boat Gold” must have started very soon after British Af2 “Stippled”, and have been minted in parallel, even though the staters were minted sequentially. It seems unlikely that the quarters would have reverted to gold after becoming so debased whilst the staters didn’t.

In terms of dating, “ABC” assigns it to the 80-50 BC range, although Chris Rudd Ltd. (the publisher and joint authors of ABC) have now standardised on c. 54 BC based on John Sills’ work (see this auction listing). However, John Sills doesn’t actually define it quite this accurately in “Divided Kingdoms”, simply saying “Af was a coinage of the early to mid 50s” (p713). The end is defined by the introduction of British B (see 5) coins in the immediate aftermath of the second invasion (54 BC) but the start isn’t so clear cut. It could be entirely related to the second invasion like the British Ab (see 92) and British Ac coins were, but the amount of debasement that occurred within the series is extreme for such a short period of time, and the tribe’s remoteness from Caesars’ landing point and field of operations might suggest that there other unknown reason for minting them.

This is one of two in the collection (see 121).