Mon, 02 Nov 2020
Gold stater of Caratacus Photo credit: Chris Rudd
A GOLD coin described as ‘the most important single Iron Age coin ever found in this country’ is going under the hammer – with an estimated price of £30,000.
The coin – uncovered in a field near Newbury in November last year – depicts Caratacus, the first British freedom fighter and famed military commander who resisted the Roman conquest of Britain in the first century.
The coin was struck at Calleva – modern day Silchester – shortly before the Roman Emperor Claudius invaded Britain in AD43 and is the first gold coin of Caratacus to be found.
The coin is considered to be important because the inscription CVNO confirms that Caratacus was a son of Cunobelinus, the legendary Old King Cole and the Cymbeline of Shakespeare.
Dr John Sills, author of Divided Kingdoms: the Iron Age gold coinage of southern England, said: “Just when you think you’ve seen everything, something completely unexpected turns up out of left field – the find of a lifetime.
“The Caratacus stater is the most important single Iron Age coin ever found in this country, the only known gold coin of one of Britain’s greatest resistance leaders.”
David R Sear, author of Roman Coins and their Values, added: ‘The gold stater of Caratacus is amazing and most certainly confirms the attribution [to Caratacus] of the silver coins bearing the inscriptions CAR and CARA.
“This must surely rank amongst the most exciting numismatic discoveries of the 21st century, if not of all time.”
Caratacus was born in AD10, a privileged prince in Britain’s first famous royal family, and after the death of his elder brother in AD43 became the sole heir to the former kingdom of Cunobelinus – the biggest, richest kingdom in Atlantic Europe.
From AD43 until AD51 he was on the run, the most wanted man in the Roman Empire, defying and delaying the forces of Rome until he was betrayed in Yorkshire by Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes.
He is also remembered for the eloquent speech he gave as he stood as a chained captive before Claudius, expecting to be executed.
Instead of being executed however he was pardoned, living out his days in Rome.
A metal detectorist uncovered the coin last year in a field near Newbury, not far from where it was minted 2,000 years ago.
The coin has been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme of the British Museum and by the Celtic Coin Index at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford.
The starting price for the coin is £24,000 and experts estimate it will sell for £30,000.
It will go under the hammer at auction by coin dealer Chris Rudd on November 15.
For more information on the auction visit www.celticcoins.com