Verica Galley. c.AD10-40. Silver unit. 12mm. 1.03g. Central cornucopia, four-pellet cross either side, sceptre placed diagonally to left and behind, prow of Roman-style galley to right, COM to left, all within beaded border./ Naked horseman riding bareback to right, spear or javelin in raised right hand, VERIC below, beaded border. ABC 1259, VA−, BMC−, DK 127, S−. Good VF, bright silver, ornate cornucopia. Unlisted by Van Arsdell and Hobbs BMC and unrecorded until 1995. Found near Sandwich, Kent, 2016. EXCESSIVELY RARE only three others recorded (all in private collections).
The Verica Galley silver unit is catalogued in ABC as a coin of the Regini and Atrebates. However it is now certain that it was issued for use in Kent, and probably minted in Kent, because all four findspots are in the former territory of the Cantiaci: the first one came from Richborough, the second one came from near Canterbury, the third came from near Dover, and this one – only the fourth recorded – came from near Sandwich. The flans of Verica Galley units are remarkably flat, like the later silver coins of Cunobelinus, whereas Verica’s southern units are all slightly scyphate. Another unusual feature of the Verica Galley is that its reverse design of a cornucopia and beaded sceptre in saltire is very similar to a silver denarius of King Juba II of Mauretania (Sear GIC 5974) which was struck sometime between 25 BC and AD 31; even the bull-headed base of the cornucopia is similar on both coins, though the three-pronged top of Verica’s horn is more like a later denarius of Juba II dated AD 36. Were both designs copied from the same Roman Imperatorial coin or gemstone? The galley prow on Verica’s coin looks very like one on a denarius of Mark Antony, possibly struck at Corcyra Nigra (modern Korcula), an island in the Adriatic Sea off the Dalmatian coast, in the summer of 40 BC (Sear RCV 1472). Prof. John Creighton wonders if Tincomarus met young Juba in Rome (Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain, p.118). Juba was brought up in Italy, received Roman citizenship, apparently from Octavian whom he accompanied on campaigns. Juba’s first wife was Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII of Egypt. Dr John Sills says: “It is unlikely to be a coincidence that the only [British] Iron Age types featuring ships were both struck in Kent, and it is possible that Verica was deliberately upstaging Cunobelinus’ outline vessel by engraving a realistic galley prow. The form of the name and the similarity of the cornucopia to the pair on his southern region Cornucopia silver, ABC 1241, which belongs to the latter half of his reign, suggests that Verica may have held onto part of Kent for a reasonable length of time” (Divided Kingdoms, p.80).