Regenbogenschüsselchen (Stater) mit Rolltier (Typ Kellner I A)

Staatliche Münzsammlung München


Obverse image: Convex, curled-up animal to the left with back bristles and curled-up tail.

Reverse image: Concave, torques with six globes.

Although the Celts were connected by a largely uniform language and culture, they were not organised as a state but politically divided into local tribes. Consequently, Celtic coinage was not uniform, but differed in its organisation and appearance throughout the Celtic world. From the last third of the second century BC, the Celts increasingly minted coins in the region of today's southern Bavaria. Through their sometimes abstract, sometimes naïve and even modernist images the coins give an impression of Celtic art during the late Latène period (c.150 BC to AD 0). The convex obverse of the present gold coin, a so-called rainbow cup, shows a curled-up animal, which is important in Celtic mythology. This mythical creature, also known as ram-snake, appears as the companion of the horned god Cernunnos, for example in the well-known depiction on the silver cauldron at Gundestrup (Denmark). The concave reverse of the coin shows a torques. This piece of jewellery, mostly worn around the neck, was a sign of political influence and military strength for the Celts. The secular reverse thus complements the mythical/religious motif on the obverse and ultimately refers to the unknown ruler with the prerogative of minting coins, through a symbol of power and domination.