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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 1223. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CELTIC [ENGLAND]. The Bellovaci in Gaul. Circa 1st century BC. AV Stater (5.90 gm). Cross-channel prototype. Stylized head of Apollo right, with star behind large frontal eye / Horse galloping right; stars above and below. Cf. Scheers, SM 737; De la Tour 7235; Ployart 191; Allen & Nash - (all as Veliocasses); D&T 271. Good VF. Rare. ($2000)

By the first century BC there were extensive connections between the Celtic tribes inhabiting Britain and the Gallo-Belgic tribes across the channel. Several, such as the Ambiani, Atrebates, and Belgae had branches in both areas. As the Romans subdued the tribes in northern Gaul, it became clear that as long as Britain remained outside the Roman sphere of influence Gaul itself would be unstable. Caesar sent Commius, whom he had appointed king of the Atrebates, to negotiate a peace treaty with his British kinsmen. He was unsuccessful, and Caesar launched a punitive expedition against the British tribes. A few years later, Commius became distrustful of Roman intentions and joined with Correus of the Bellovaci to drive out the invaders. The revolt failed, Correus was killed, and Commius fled to the Germans for protection until he could make his peace with Caesar, who eventually pardoned him. The Bellovaci staters, like their British counterparts, shows the typical Celtic 'disintegrating" head, dissolving into abstract geometric forms, with certain surviving organic traits being emphasised, such as the eye, the brow or the nose. On the reverse one aspect of the British Celtic series becomes apparent, the horror vacui, or the desire to fill all empty space in the field around the horse with abstract design—stars, rosettes, "cogwheels," and so forth. The coinage of the Bellovaci and their neighbors the Atrebates form a bridge to the later native coinages of Britain.