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Coin of ‘British hero’ with estimated price of £30k up for auction in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:17 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:24 22 October 2020

Gold stater of Caratacus struck at Silchester, found near Newbury in Berkshire in November 2019. Picture: Chris Rudd

Gold stater of Caratacus struck at Silchester, found near Newbury in Berkshire in November 2019. Picture: Chris Rudd

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A coin described as the “most important single Iron Age coin ever found in this country” will go under the hammer in Norwich - with an estimated price of £30,000.

Dr John Davies, former Chief Curator of Norwich Castle Museum. Picture : ANTONY KELLYDr John Davies, former Chief Curator of Norwich Castle Museum. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Bidders will have the chance to buy the golden coin of Caratacus, Britain’s first famous freedom fighter, at auction by Chris Rudd on November 15.

The coin is the first of Caratacus to be discovered and it was struck in Hampshire shortly before the Roman emperor Claudius invaded Britain in AD43.

Caratacus was a military commander in the 1st century AD who resisted the Roman conquest of Britain for eight years.

The starting price for the coin is £24,000 and experts estimate it will sell for £30,000.

Portrait of Caratacus from a stained glass window in Colchester Town Hall. Picture: Miranda Aldhouse-Green, courtesy of Colchester Borough Council.Portrait of Caratacus from a stained glass window in Colchester Town Hall. Picture: Miranda Aldhouse-Green, courtesy of Colchester Borough Council.

Dr John Sills, author, said: “The Caratacus gold 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.”

A metal detectorist uncovered the coin in November 2019 in a field near Newbury in Berkshire, only 20 miles from where it was minted two thousand years ago.

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Dr John A Davies, former chief curator of Norwich Castle Museum, said: “What a superb discovery. It is very close indeed to the stater of Epaticcus in ABC 1343.

“The lettering is arranged in an identical way - a significant association. Yes, this does all confirm that Caratacus issued coinage in his name, in turn having significance for the other ‘CAR’ silver coins. This is a very important find and a beautiful coin.”

The coin is considered to be important because it has the inscription ‘CNVO’ which confirms the previously disputed claim that Caratacus was the son of Cunobelinus, the legendary Old King Cole and the Cymbeline of Shakespeare.

Chris Rudd, Celtic coin specialist, said: “Now the familial relationship has been hammered home in gold.”

Professor Colin Haselgrove, archaeologist and numismatist, said: “It must be in with a chance of being the most valuable Iron Age coin found to date.

“Everyone like a British hero.”

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.

For more information on the auction visit www.celticcoins.com


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