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DNW sell Celtic Carnyx

A rare Celtic warhorn known as a carnyx was sold by Dix Noonan Webb at their auction on 1 and 2 December 2021 for £3,400.


The carnyx was found by Ian Bailey, a detectorist for 30 years, in a field in Suffolk in September 2018. He had been doing work on a fence on one of his permissions. He began detecting and after finding a few cartridge cases he got a strong signal.

He dug down eight inches to discover the bronze trumpet. He took it to Bury St Edmunds museum, where it was recorded on the PAS as SF-5A50AE. They said it held a striking resemblance to carnyx, despite being much smaller. 


The carnyx is Lot 1340 in DNW’s auction and was estimated at £2,000 – £3,000. Further information on the lot and the rest of the auction can be found in my article on the auction; DNW – Coins, Medals and Antiquities – 1 & 2 December 2021.

Nigel Mills, Artefacts and Antiquities Consultant at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “The miniature trumpet which dates from the 1st century AD has a hollow slightly curved shaft with a snarling boar’s head at the summit with a wide open mouth projecting forwards and a series of curving crests along its back. There is a small opening behind the head which could have been for attachment of a wooden tongue


The only other carnyx found in Britain is the Deskford carnyx which was found in Scotland in 1816. A reproduction was made from that carnyx, which you can seen being played in this video.

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