In February 2010 a lady metal detectorist found an extremely rare British gold coin near Caister, Lincolnshire, called a ‘Tring Wheel’. The first known specimen, a gold quarter stater minted in the mid first century BC, around the time Julius Caesar raided Britain, was discovered near Tring in Hertfordshire. Hence the name.
The obverse shows a stylised head of the sun-god Apollo (can you see the hidden face with huge eyebrows?). The reverse displays a three-tailed sun-horse with a spoked sun-wheel above and a sunburst below. Only nine other examples of the Tring Wheel have been recorded, including one in the National Museum of Wales; the British Museum does not have one in its collection.
Dr John Sills, co-author of Ancient British Coins (Chris Rudd 2010), says: “The Tring Wheel type is a North Thames version of British Qc, one of a short series of Qc variant copies struck somewhere between the Trinovantes and the Catuvellauni in the Essex/Herts region. The Tring Wheel type is extremely rare and an early issue, probably around 55-45 BC. The rarity and coherence of the group in general suggest it may have been struck by a small unknown tribe rather than by the Trinovantes or Catuvellauni.”
“The Trinovantes and Catuvellauni were originally two separate tribes, the Trinovantes having Verulamium (St Albans) as their tribal capital, while the Catuvellauni had Camulodunum (Colchester) as theirs. At some point the two tribes became merged and their joint tribal areas covered Bedfordshire, Bucks, Essex, Herts and parts of Cambs, Northants, Oxfordshire and Suffolk. Two of the most famous leaders of these tribes are Tasciovanus (Killer of Badgers) and Cunobelin (Hound of Belinus), who may have been father and son.”
The Tring Wheel will be sold by auction in Aylsham, Norfolk, 10 November 2014, by Elizabeth Cottam of Chris Rudd, the Ancient British coin specialist. “I’m thrilled to be selling this great rarity,” says Liz. “In over twenty years of trading we’ve never had a Tring Wheel before.”
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At auction, the coin sold for £2000 on a Fixed Price List. A subsequent one was sold by Chris Rudd in 2015 and fetched £1900.
Timeline Auctions sold a similar coin in May this 2014 for £2400. The estimate was £600 – £800.