99 - Duro Boat Bird

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Unique ID: 99

Technical details


Quarter Stater






South Western

Issuing Authority









Common (101 to 200)


50 BC to 20 BC (see note about dating)

Obverse Legend

No Legend

Reverse Legend

No Legend

Obverse Description

The obverse shows a boat with two figures. An S shaped object appears on the right, and the remains of a pellet ring on the left.

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 Y shaped objects in the lower left and upper right fields. A bird shaped object appears in the lower right field. The upper left field contains an unidentified L shaped object. Or it would if this coins wasn’t struck so far off centre that the upper half of the coin is almost entirely missing. What’s particularly interesting is that the design in the lower half of the coin extends all the way to the edge of the flan, which means that the die was substantially bigger than the flans were.

Note that the intended orientation on the reverse is unknown. It is traditionally shown with the zig-zag line as vertical, but as this is derived from the GB-Ca2 quarter staters, it should probably be shown with that line horizontal.

Bought from Baldwins’ Fixed Price List Summer 2020. Item 100

Ex. Paul Munro-Walker Collection

Roma Numismatics E-Sale 35, lot 10 (May 2017)

CCI 84.0455 (PAS, CCI)

Found in the 1983 Shapwick Hoard (“Coin Hoards in Iron Age Britain” by Philip de Jersey). This is one of the coins recorded by Melinda Mays


ABC 2208. Duro Boat Bird

Van Arsdell

VA 1242-01. Durotrigan E – Late Geometric Type


S 368. Geometric Type

The Duro Boat Gold and the Duro Boat Bird quarter staters were minted by the Durotriges around 80-50 BC and 50-20 BC respectively. They are a continuation of the boat and geometric theme started by the Morini tribe with their GB-Ca2 and GB-D quarter staters. The Durotriges started minting these coins in gold but transitioned to silver as their gold stocks ran out. The transition between the gold and silver coinages is subtle and it’s not always clear whether a particular coin should be categorised as Duro Boat Gold (gold) or Duro Boat Bird (silver). The blue iridescent toning on this coin shows that it has a high silver content, but as it has a significant golden hue it could be assigned to either. My opinion is that if I’m not sure if it’s gold, then it’s not.

This is one of eight in the collection (see 1, 9, 13, 15, 100, 110, and 118).