Finds of the Month – February 2021

It was getting to the point recently that I didn’t think I would have much for Finds of the Month. However, very recently some rather interesting things landed in my inbox which I’ll be seeing once museums reopen.

The first is, what would have been in its day, a very decorative Millefiori stud, dated to the 2nd – 3rd century AD found near Thatcham. The center is decorated with alternating segments of red and blue enamel in a checkerboard pattern, each with a smaller blue and white checkerboard within. The next field is now empty but the final one has alternating solid red segments with the same red segments in the center. Other examples suggest the missing field would have been solid blue segments with the same blue ones from the center.

Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0BERK-8AF47D 

These types of studs were likely used on horse harnesses and would have been surrounded by more of the same type in a symmetrical pattern. The pattern is also seen on brooches of the time such as this one from near Chester (LVPL-F1F6CC)

There are now over 40 objects with this type of checkerboard decoration on the database, including studs, brooches and seal boxes. 

“Milefiori is the name used to describe small polychrome patterns in glass. These are made by arranging glass rods of various colours side by side, heating them just enough to fuse them and stretching the bundle of rods into a long thin cane. When cold slices can be cut from the cane and used as part of enamelled designs”, (Bayley and Butcher 2004: 47).

The next find seems quite a common thing but identifying it and finding a very similar one made it interesting. It is a half cut penny of Henry III, specifically Type 6d dating to AD1217-18.

The remaining reverse legend of CANTE shows it was minted in Canterbury. However, the moneyers name is missing. The finder of this coin did a little research and found this example in the British Museum

British Museum 1915,0507.1650

On close inspection it would appear that it was struck from the same die. However, there is a small difference in the initial cross above the portrait. It might be that the monyer HIVN is the same as it would need to be a short name to fit on the coin.

Various other Roman and Medieval coins have been reported this month and they are really nice clear examples

Two of exactly the same coin issue of Constantine were sent to me, however, one is from the mint at Trier and the other is from Lyon.

Copper-alloy Nummus (AE2) of Constantine I Obv. IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG. laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right Rev. SOLI INVICTO COMITI. Sol rad., stg. l raising r. hand, globe in I., chlamys across I. shoulder. Mintmark: PTR (Trier) Date AD313 – 315 RIC VII 39

Copper-alloy Nummus (AE2) of Constantine I Obv. IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG. laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right Rev. SOLI INVICTO COMITI. Sol rad., stg. l raising r. hand, globe in I., chlamys across I. shoulder Mintmark: PLG (Lyon) Date AD313 – 314 RIC VII 1

This rather nice groat of Henry VII was great to identify being so clear. It can be narrowed down to its class by the anchor initial mark and only one jeweled arch on the crown.

A silver groat of Henry VII (AD1485-1509), Class IIIc, dating to the period 1490-1504. Anchor initial mark. Mint of London. North (1991) no. 1705c. Measurements: 25mm in diameter, 2.88g in weight.

Another groat of Henry VII was a little trickier at first but it was identified as by the four normal fleurs on the single bar of the crown rather than 6 uprights seen on other examples.

Silver groat of Henry VII (AD1485 -509). North 1706 Class IV(a). Crosslet mint mark Date 1504-1507. Diameter 30mm, Weight: 2.93

This shilling of Charles I shows a tun initial mark and his 4th Group D bust.

A Post Medieval silver shilling of Charles I (AD 1625 – 1649), Group D, tun initial mark, dating to the period AD 1635 – 1636. Minted at the Tower of London. As North (1991) North No 2225.

Finally for the Medieval and Post-Medieval coins is a groat of Henry VIII. 

A complete silver groat of Henry VIII (AD 1509-1547). Rose initial mark.  Date: AD 1526-9.

A couple of really nice Iron Age coins were also sent to me. The first is a coin of Eppilus who was a ruler of the Atrebates out of Silchester. He was the father of Verica, the last Atrebatic king who supposedly fled to Rome or was expelled from Britain after attacks from the Catuvellauni.

Iron Age silver unit if Eppillus Obv. Outline cresent, REX above, CALLE (occ. CALL) below. Rev. Spread eagle r. EPP behind, occ, two joined pellet in rings in front. VA 415, BMC 1016-60, Ev.4.1, Al. -, M 108, S 99 ABC 1160

The last one is quite an interesting copper-alloy Iron Age unit. The obverse and reverse show a lion and a helmeted sphinx. However, the style is very classicised as apposed the more traditional looking ones.

Copper alloy Iron Age unit of Tasciovanus. Lion and Sphinx. NT7. Lion right head turned back, pellet border./ Helmeted sphinx left pellet border. VA 1824, BMC 1760-1, EV.11.14, Al.–, M 181, S 255 ABC 2700

All photos courtesy of the finders and the records will be fully completed when the objects can be brought in when the restrictions allow.