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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 106, Lot: 1068. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CELTIC. ‘Ring Money’. Circa 1150-750 BC. AV Plated Æ (20mm, 13.18 g). Thick gold-plated bronze band with thin silver inlay pattern. Van Arsdell 1-3; ABC p. 202; SCBC p. 117; cf. Quiggin p. 279-81; Opitz p. 280. VF, splits near terminal. Rare this large.

Although not conclusively identified as an early form of money, these rings have been found in hoards and do bear some resemblance to other Celtic objects accepted as “proto-money”, such as small bronze or potin wheels. R.D. Van Arsdell, in his book Celtic Coins in Britain, notes that precious-metal rings such as this “may have had multiple functions; as items of personal adornment (many were hair ornaments), as a means of displaying wealth, and as a medium of exchange. The weights and diameters vary, making it difficult to establish whether denominations existed.” The authors of ABC, on the other hand, regard these as jewelry and ornaments, albeit with some ceremonial wealth-storage value attached.