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Gold stater of the Ambiani

Simon Clark asked me to let him have more information, including a valuation, on the coin pictured here. It’s an early gold stater but of a type that was imported into Britain rather than being made here.

On the obverse is an abstract head, originally based on that of Apollo on Greek gold coins. On the reverse is a horse facing right, with  pellet below, more pallets above and a faint ‘coffee bean’ behind the rump.

In the Standard Catalogue staters of this type are listed under Gallo-Belgic Issues as type C (Ambiani), number 5. The Ambiani was a European tribal group in northern Gaul and their coins were imported into Britain from as early as 150 BC.

In Ancient British Coins this stater falls under Gallo-Belgic imports as the Biface type and is listed as number 13. It has been dated to circa 90-80 BC. ABC lists this type as common but I didn’t trace a high number of specimens on the market. And, type E (ABC 16, S. 11), which has a similar reverse but the obverse is blank, is far more common than type C.


The obverse would grade about VF. The reverser is VF but off centre, the end result of which is the horse’s head is missing. In the Standard Catalogue this stater is priced at £275 in Fine condition and £1,000 in VF; the latter figure seems rather optimistic in the light of recent sale prices. If I was cataloguing the coin for sale at auction then in its present condition I would place upon it a rather wide pre-sale estimate of £550 – £700 and would expect the hammer price to be within that range. I should stress that my opinion is based upon images on a computer screen rather than on sight of the coin itself.

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