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THE HOARDS (part one)

Click for graphs of hoard contents of Jersey 5 and 6 Click for graphs of hoard contents of Jersey 9 Click for graphs of hoard contents of Jersey 11 Click for graphs of hoard contents of Roz-Landrieux Click for graphs of hoard contents of Merdrignac Click for graphs of hoard contents of Penguilly Click for graphs of hoard contents of Trebry

Click on the red squares for a new window showing the hoard configuration. To ensure that the window stays on top, close it before selecting the next hoard. Charts showing all of the main hoards used in this study can be found at the end of this chapter.

On April 22, 1935 at La Marquanderie in the parish of St. Brelade, Jersey, excavations for the foundations of a house unearthed 171 pounds of Celtic Coins. Of the 10,547 coins in the hoard, all but eight or nine were attributable to the Coriosolite tribe. The owner of the land, Mr. Percy Ellis of Woodford in St. Brelade, donated them to Major Rybot for the Société Jersiase. The hoard was later designated "Jersey 9."

Some coins were given to museums is Britain and France, but 9,254 of them were lent to Dr. Colbert de Beaulieu in France for further study. Through various methods, he expanded Rybot's four groups into six classes and changed the chronology.

The drawings of the die designs of these coins, often having to be reconstructed from several incomplete impressions, owe their accuracy to Major Rybot's painstaking methods. By drawing over photographs, and then bleaching out the photographic image, he was able to make any necessary adjustments to his drawings. The resulting images expose more of the original intentions of the die engravers than any other method, since details may be lost in the shadows of a photograph, and single specimens are often distorted through faulty striking.

All of Major Rybot's drawings are reproduced here. No other hoard has been similarly treated, so it is fortunate that Jersey 9 is the largest deposit of these coins ever found. The hoard known as Jersey 5, discovered in 1820, was drawn by Baron Donop and published in 1838. Many of the drawings are of such poor quality that even the attribution of some of them to a particular class is a matter of opinion. When I attempted this, I found that my results different from those of Colbert de Beaulieu.

Particularly problematical are the coins of Classes V and IV. Mules of these classes exists; that is, where an obverse is of one class and the reverse is of the adjacent class. Baron Donop's drawings made is difficult to detect some of these mules, and Colbert de Beaulieu assigned the mules arbitrarily to one class or the other, instead of separating them out for greater accuracy.

I made an attempt to reassign Baron Donop's illustrations to my expanded system of fifteen groups. It was only the groups that made up Class III where I could be certain of a trend.

The following diagram shows the number of the coins attributed to each group. The numbers in parentheses represent additional coins whose attribution is uncertain.

27 (5) 33 (2) 74 (0)

It can be seen that the number of the coins increases with the chronology. This can be checked by ascertaining the ratio of coins to dies. Here I have used the dies illustrated by Rybot as the standard:

4.5 4.7 8.2

Although these charts will have some built-in inaccuracies, they do establish an increase in the survival of later coins, which is what would be expected.

I am also certain that there were more Class III coins in the hoard than Class I coins. This is a contradiction of Colbert de Beaulieu's figures. He gives 15.1% for Class I. My calculations give 15%, a negligible difference. It is in the quantities for Class III where we are in greater disagreement: he gives 14.5%, and I have 19.6%. Both D. F. Allen and A. L. T. McCammon concluded that the hoard contained a greater number of Classes III than Class I coins. There is a certain amount of disagreement over the exact number of Class III coins in the hoard, but considering the quality of the illustrations, this is understandable.

Many other discrepancies exist between my figures and Colbert de Beaulieu's that I am at a loss to explain. Baron Donop illustrated 760 of the 982 coins in the hoard; of these, four were of the Baiocasses, and two were Coriosolite quarter staters. This leaves 754 Coriosolite staters. Colbert de Beaulieu's base number is 740, leaving 14 coins unaccounted for and presumably of uncertain type. Even sorting by the coins by Series X, Y, and Z, our results are different.

The following chart demonstrates this:

Series Hooker Colbert de Beaulieu
X 13.8 14.9
Y 34.6 29.6
Z 51.6 55.3
Totals: 100 99.8

The differences are not great enough to change any conclusions about this hoard. I have not been able to check other hoards because of the lack of visual data, although Katherine Gruel did include some photographs of coins that she attributed to a transition between Classes II and I. In her breakdown of the Trébry hoard she placed them with Class II.

These coins are examples of Group J, which is actually a transition between Classes I and III. The obverses are distinguishable by the front of the neck forming a small curl. The reverses are of two types: The Class I type, in which the pony has a bead for an eye; and the early Class III type, in which the eye is implied by a notch in the cheek section (Group K). Mistakes such as these may be quite common, for when sorting coins by only one or two major differences; there can be considerable subjectivity. There is a superficial similarity between the obverse of one of the dies of Group J and the coins of Class II, but when minor details are observed there are many differences. It is only the overall appearance that confuses the two.

Ironically, when viewing photographs, or even the coins themselves, some of these important differences can be difficult to detect. As Rybot's illustrations are reconstruction, they depict ideal coins. Coins such as these are extremely rare; most are flawed by die-breaks, mis-strikings, wear, corrosion, and flaws in the metal. It takes a number of coins to be certain of the designs.

While these topics are dealt with in the catalogue, I am obliged to mention them here, as they do affect the hoard figures. It is vital that hoards of coins be recorded visually, even if only by photographs. As classification systems are perfected, and more divisions are made, the lack of visual data becomes a serious impediment to the study. Rather than adjust Gruel's figures for the Trébry hoard and make further note of possible errors in Colbert de Beaulieu's figures for Jersey 5, I have decided to leave all of the hoards with the last published proportions. My resulting graphs may thus be slightly inaccurate, but not enough to affect the conclusions.

I attempted to obtain Rybot's original notes for Jersey 9 without success. I had hoped to be able to give the number of coins for each of his illustrations. Unfortunately, the archives in Jersey did not have these records, and their present whereabouts are unknown.

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