SUR-4557D6: Roman coin: Denarius of Otho

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Unique ID: SUR-4557D6

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A silver Roman denarius of Otho (AD 69), dating to AD 69 (Reece period 3). PONT MAX reverse type depicting Vesta seated left holding patera and transverse sceptre. Mint of Rome. RIC I (2nd ed.), p. 261, no. 24


Found with a hoard of coins and votive objects. The full report for the objects and coins reads:

The Coins

Thirteen of the coins are Roman silver coins of a denomination known as the denarius (plural denarii). The earliest was from the time of the Roman Republic (probably of the moneyer D. Iunius Silanus, 91BC). The latest coins include two of Diva Faustina I which could have been produced up to the end of the reign of Antoninus Pius in AD 161. The latest closely dated coin is of Pius's 12th tribunician year (an annually renewed title): AD 148/9. The coins can be summarised as follows:

Summary, the Roman coins:

Republic 1

Otho (AD 69) 1

Vespasian (AD 69-79) -

Titus Caesar 1

Trajan (AD 98-117) 5

Hadrian (AD 119-38) 1

Antoninus Pius (AD 138-61) 2

Diva Faustina I 2

Two Iron Age ('Celtic') gold coins were also found: a Southern uninscribed British QC gold quarter stater struck in c. 50-20 BC and a gold quarter stater of Tasciovanos struck in c. 25/20 BC-AD 10. British QC staters are usually associated with the Atrebates and Regni, who are thought to have lived in south central England in the late Iron Age; Tasciovanos is usually thought to have been a ruler of the Catuvellauni. Given the location of the findspot, on the margins of the circulation of both Southern and Eastern coinage, it is unsurprising to find them together.

This assemblage seems to have a slightly longer chronological spread of coin issues compared to other Roman hoards in Britain terminating in the Antonine period (e.g. the survival of Republican and Iron Age coins). It is possible that deposition occurred over a longer period than would normally be the case for a group of coins withdrawn from circulation at the same time and buried together as savings. The non-coin objects from the findspot considered below consist of material that seems to have a votive (ritual or religious) purpose by being miniature versions of everyday objects. These two aspects of the assemblage strongly suggest that both coins and objects were deposited over some period of time as part of a repeated ritual.

The other objects by Philippa Walton, finds advisor, Portable Antiquities Scheme

Six objects were found in association with the coin hoard from Charlwood, Surrey. They comprise four miniature brooches, a fragment of a miniature socketed axe and a spindle whorl. Whilst the spindle whorl is of a type which is not closely datable, the remaining objects are consistent with the date of the coins. The brooches imitate types produced in the late first or early second century AD, whilst the miniature axe can be tentatively dated to the late Iron Age or early Roman period. Miniature Roman brooches are not common finds, particularly examples which could not have been functional. Kiernan (Miniature Votive Offerings in the Roman North-West, 2009, 180) notes several examples from the temple at Jublains, Mayenne, but concludes that these were worn to 'fasten lighter garments or to support the clothing of small children and babies'. However, the presence of miniaturised objects in conjunction with Iron Age and Roman coinage suggests a votive element to activity at the site.

A further object, a leaded bronze vessel foot, dating to the fifteenth century AD, was found close to the other objects and coins in the assemblage. However, its medieval date means that was not deposited at the same time as the other objects and should not be considered as part of the Treasure case.

Date and Metal Content

The coins satisfy the terms of the Treasure Act with regard to age and metal content. They are certainly more than 300 years old and all have precious metal contents far in excess of the 10% threshold.

Of the same find?

It is unlikely that fifteen ancient precious metal coins could have come from the same findspot as a result of accidental individual deposition. This therefore suggests that these coins formed a hoard, or more likely a votive deposit deliberately left as offerings by being buried together in antiquity.


On the balance of probabilities, I conclude that this find constitutes a prima facie case of treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act (1996), by being a group of two or more precious metal coins of the same find. The six ancient bronze votive objects (but not the 15th century vessel foot) should likewise be considered treasure by their association with the coins.

Richard Abdy Curator, Roman coins Department of Coins and Medals British Museum

The other finds from the site can be found at these records:






















Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T297


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 69
Date to: Circa AD 69

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 2.99 g
Diameter: 18.58 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 21st November 2010

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: 10-1468
Treasure case number: 2011T297

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Denarius (Empire)
Denomination qualifier: Certain
Ruler/issuer: Otho
Primary ruler qualifier: Certain
Reece period: Period 3 [54-68]
Mint or issue place: Rome
Mint qualifier: Certain
Obverse description: Bare head right
Obverse inscription: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P

Reverse description: Vesta, draped left, seated left, right holding patera and left, transverse sceptre
Reverse inscription: PONT MAX

Degree of wear: Hardly worn: extremely fine
RIC Identifier: RIC I (second edition) Otho 24
Status: Regular
Status qualifier: Certain

Coin references

  • RIC : I (2nd ed.) p. 261, no. 24

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Surrey (County)
District: Mole Valley (District)
Parish or ward: Charlwood (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ2242
Four figure Latitude: 51.164247
Four figure longitude: -0.256562
1:25K map: TQ2242
1:10K map: TQ24SW
Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SUR
Created: 11 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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