Iron Age coins provide the first written evidence from Britain and mark the end of its ‘prehistory’. These coins, often referred to as
‘Celtic’ coins, are mainly found in southern and eastern England. Because of the lack of historical information about Iron Age Britain, we
must depend on the archaeological record to inform us. We cannot, therefore, easily identify mints, minters, tribes, or rulers, and ‘begin’
and ‘end’ dates are mainly indicative.
A note on some data discrepancies
The CCI cards have been transcribed up to 2003; since then, cards have continued to be created but have not been transcribed. These cards
have been scanned, and a MicroPasts crowdsourcing project has been created
to help digitise their data. In 2010, all the digitised data up to 2003 were imported into the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)
website and are linked to those specimens on the CCID website. This means that the CCI data can be found in multiple forms: 1) scanned cards that are
not transcribed and not linked to PAS records; and 2) scanned and transcribed cards that are linked to PAS records.
Alongside these, 3) some PAS records of Iron Age coins have not been assigned CCI numbers, which is an ongoing process; and 4) some CCI
cards have been made of PAS records, but we have not been able to collate them. We hope that with this new digital resource, we may, over
time, be able to solve these mis-matched records.
We welcome your contributions – if you spot any errors in these data, please contact us through the Feedback form.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent member of staff in charge of this email account, so please be patient if it takes time to receive a
There are two types of fields included on this website: the IACB fields give information from the ABC typology; the CCI fields give more
specific information about that individual specimen from the CCI data. All definitions for the IACB fields are accessible on Nomisma’s website.
- CCI: CCI Number
- The CCI numbers are written as CCI-12.3456. The first two digits represent the year the coin was recorded, and the four digits represent the order in which that coin was recorded that year. CCI-12.3456 would be the 3,456th coin that was recorded in the year 2012.
Because the CCI records coins that come up in auctions, this means one coin could be recorded multiple times. Therefore, a single specimen could have multiple cards assigned to it, which are all provided.
- CCI: Leins ID
- Ian Leins’ PhD thesis, Numismatic data reconsidered: coin
distributions and interpretation in studies of late Iron Age Britain, was completed in 2012. This number refers to the
coin’s unique identifier for his database.
- CCI: Axis
- The relationship between the orientation obverse and reverse of a (struck) coin or medal. Often expressed as hours of the clock.
- CCI: Diameter
- This is the diameter in millimeters of this specific specimen.
- CCI: Weight
- This is the weight of this specific specimen.
- CCI: Chemical Analysis
- Very few coins have been scientifically analysed, but where they have, these data can be found in these fields.
- CCI: Collection
- This field includes the name of the Museum or Private Collection in which this specimen can be found.
- CCI: Notes
- This is a free-text field in which various pieces of information can be found. The CCI Obverse Inscription and CCI Reverse
Inscription are descriptions of the inscriptions found on an individual specimen, which may be more specific than the ABC typology
- CCI: Findspot
- When known, this is the lowest-level geographic entity in which the object was found (usually a parish).
- IACB: Type Number
- There are 999 ABC types, which are numbered from ABC 1 to ABC 3008. They are numbered sequentially with two unused numbers between
each defined type, so that new types can be added using unused numbers. From the time of publication in 2010, some new types have
been identified, which will soon be included here. The type numbers found here are the same as in the printed ABC, but please be
aware that the data have been edited from the original published version (e.g. descriptions, spellings).
- IACB: Object Type
- Refers to the object type referenced by the typology, e.g., 'coin'.
- IACB: Date Range
- The date ranges of these coin types are based on data that are variably reliable. Some date ranges originally published in ABC have
been edited to reflect new data. More information about these dates can be found here.
- IACB: Denomination
- The denominations of the coins are essentially our constructs, as we do not know what they were called in the Iron Age. New denomination IDs have been made for the Iron Age coinage in Nomisma, which are used here.
- IACB: Manufacture
- This refers to the technique used to create the coin type, mainly to distinguish between those that were struck (majority) and those
that were cast.
- IACB: Material
- The material of the coins is not qualified. It includes gold, silver and bronze, but does not include more details about the
material composition (e.g. ‘debased’), which should be included in individual specimen records.
- IACB: Region
- The regional delineations are very unclear. The geographical names are not based on current geographical/political boundaries, but
on the distribution of Iron Age coins. For example, ‘South Western’ does not refer to the southwest counties of England but to the
southwest coin producing area of Britain. For the purposes of linked data, we have had to use the Roman term ‘Britannia’, but this
is not an assertion that we believe Britain was called this during the pre-Roman Iron Age.
- IACB: Authority
- The majority of references to ‘tribes’ in Britain comes from written sources outside of Britain, which were sometimes written much
later than the period of British coin production and use. Whether or not these names can be projected onto the past is highly
debatable. For example, we use ‘Victis’ for the Isle of Wight, which is a Roman name for the island, but we do not use Vectuarii,
which is a tribe first mentioned in Bede in AD 723. Overall, we use the term ‘tribe’ very loosely here, mainly for the purpose of
connecting datasets and not with an intention to define bounded groups that cannot be identified archaeologically. This approach
differs from the ABC, which sees the issuing authority as a ruler, not a tribe. Some spellings have also been altered from the ABC,
e.g. Cantiaci instead of Cantii and Regini instead of Regni.
- IACB: Ruler
- There are only a handful of known individuals from Iron Age Britain as defined by written sources (e.g. Adminius, Caratacus,
Commius, Cunobelin, Dubnovellaunos, Tincomarus, Verica). All other individuals are hypothetical. The names included in this field
are based on inscriptions (see Legend) – some undoubtedly refer to ‘rulers’, but most are unknown to us. They could refer to, for
example, moneyers, minters, important people, or traders.
- IACB: Legend
- We use this field for inscriptions. The majority of text on British Iron Age coins does not follow the contour of the coin and the
inscriptions are often incomplete.
- IACB: Obv./Rev. Type
- The published descriptions of the types have been edited in this version. Due to the often-enigmatic quality of the imagery on Iron
Age coins, we have opted to leave motif definitions open for debate.
- IACB: Type Series
- The typological reference work from which the coin type is derived. In this case, Ancient British Coins as expressed as a
- IACB: Reference
- These include the original references listed for the type from the ABC publication; some further references have been added.
- IACB: Related type
- A number of typologies of British Iron Age coins exist, which you can use to search this site (results are based on the concordance
published in ABC). These include: Van Arsdell’s
Celtic Coinage of Britain
British Iron Age Coins in the British Museum
(1996) and Spink’s
Coins of England & the United Kingdom
The IACB website supports the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The PAS seeks to transform knowledge and understanding of the
archaeology and history of England and Wales through the recording of archaeological finds discovered by the public. The PAS database
holds records of archaeological finds discovered by members of the public in England and Wales. Finders of Iron Age coins are strongly
encouraged to record their discoveries with the scheme, which is administered by the British Museum and National Museum Wales: https://finds.org.uk/. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all finders of groups of coins from
the same finds, over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Separate legislation
applies in other parts of the British Isles. For further information, see https://finds.org.uk/treasure.
Last updated: February 2022