World Coins

Celtic stater from modern-day France imitates Greek gold coin

A second century B.C. gold/base metal stater of the Andecavi (Celt) people in northwest Gaul features Celtic design interpretations resembling the gold staters of Macedonian King Philip II.

Images courtesy of Nomos Ag.

The Celtic people, the subject of a British Museum exhibit that opened Sept. 24, fascinate.

Today the word “Celtic” is associated with the cultures, languages, music, and traditions of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man. Yet the name Celts was first recorded around 500 B.C., when the ancient Greek referred to peoples living across a broad swath of Europe north of the Alps, according to the British Museum.

“The Greeks saw these outsiders as barbarians, far removed from the civilised world of the Mediterranean. They left no written records of their own, but today archaeology is revealing new insights into how they lived,” according to a press release from the museum. “Modern research suggests that these were disparate groups rather than a single people, linked by their unique stylised art. This set them apart from the classical world, but their technological accomplishments stand on a par with the finest achievements of Greek and Roman artists.”

A debased gold stater in Nomos Ag’s auction No. 11, scheduled for Oct. 9, highlights the connections between the Celtic and Greek cultures.

The second century B.C. coin was issued by the Andecavi people in northwest Gaul (near modern-day Loire River and the Anjou, Brittany, region of France). 

A Celticized head of Apollo appears on the obverse, with a charioteer, driving a cart drawn by a centaur, on the reverse, in an imitation of the gold staters of Macedonian king Philip II. 

“On the obverse the head of Apollo is adorned by an array of ritually decapitated heads (a sign of divine power) and, on the reverse, Philip’s biga has been turned into cart drawn by a centaur,” according to Nomos.

The coin is struck on a broad planchet and is in Good Very Fine condition, according to the firm. It has an estimate of 5,000 Swiss francs (about $5,128 U.S.) 

To learn more about the auction, visit the auction firm website.

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