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Silver unit of the Dobunni

Bill Wiggins said he thought I would be interested in seeing this coin, which was unearthed in Northamptonshire. Well, I was very interested for it is a rather attractive Ancient British silver unit.

On the obverse is a very abstract head facing right. It has a curved hair line made up of pellets, lips on stalks and three stars in the field.

On the reverse, facing left, is a disjointed horse with three tails. Above is a ring and dot with a crescent underneath and below the horse is what has been described as a flower. There is something not altogether clear behind the rump of the horse but is could be a star.

All the characteristics listed above allow me to say this silver unit is listed in Ancient British Coins as a coin of the Dobunni; it is an example of the Cotswold Stars type in ABC (number 2030) and is said to be excessively rare. In the Standard Catalogue it is number 378 but this includes some far less rare varieties.


The abstract obverse would grade nearly VF. The reverse is better and this side would grade good VF. As it is excessively rare it is difficult to give an accurate price, as there could be completion between prospective buyers. However, I would set a pre-sale auction estimate at £500 – £600 and see what happened when the bidding started.

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