Tag Archives: London

J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token

Identifying Metal Detecting Finds – J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token

J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token
J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token

J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station, Provision Merchant Opposite, Wholesale Depot, London N.W. George III Token. Georgian tokens are very common metal detecting finds.  Another George III token trying to look like a spade guinea. These are very common, almost as common as the George III “In Memory of the Good Old Days” Gaming token I posted in an earlier blog.

J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token
J. Sainsbury West Croydon Station George III Token

Metal Detecting UK

Follow Metal Detecting UK on Twitter

Auction Day Arrives – Christie’s Sale 5488, Lot 176: The Crosby Garrett Helmet

The Crosby Garrett Helmet at the Christie’s web site:
“Lot Description
A ROMAN BRONZE CAVALRY PARADE HELMET CIRCA LATE 1ST-2ND CENTURY A.D.
Composed of two sections, helmet and mask; the tinned bronze face-mask with idealised youthful features, the openwork eyes with irises formed of delicate perforated rings, the upper and lower lids with incised lashes, the eyebrows arching from the bridge of the nose to the hairline with incised herringbone detail, the nostrils pierced, the fleshy lips slightly parted, with filtrum indicated, the face framed by three rows of tight corkscrew curls, the individual strands finely incised, the lower edge with remains of iron rivets on either side, probably for attachment of a strap for fastening to the helmet; the bronze helmet in the form of a Phrygian-style cap, with curved tip, surmounted by a solid-cast griffin, on an integral base, seated on its haunches, with finely incised details of the fur and mane, an attachment loop on the back of the neck, his wings outstretched with incised feather detail, his right paw raised and resting on the rim of a fluted amphora, an oval recess below with pierced loop at the tip, the back edge of the cap delineated by a raised ridge, curling inwards at the corners, terminating in incised button finals and decorated with pairs of vertical lines bordered by tongues, a row of hair curls emerging from underneath, the back and sides of the cap decorated with five rosettes, with groups of punched dots at the tips of the petals, with narrow flaring neck-guard, pierced in the centre and left corner, the perimeter decorated with incised diagonal dashes and tongues, with original hinge for attachment to the face-mask, mounted 16 in. (40.7 cm.) high

Lot Notes

This remarkable cavalry parade helmet, with its enigmatic features, is one of only three that have been discovered in Britain complete with face-masks. The others being the Ribchester Helmet, found in 1796 and now in the British Museum, and the Newstead Helmet, in the Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, found circa 1905. The Crosby Garrett Helmet, found in Cumbria earlier this year is an extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith.

The Crosby Garrett Helmet sets itself apart by virtue of its beauty, workmanship and completeness, particularly the face-mask, which was found virtually intact. In addition, the remarkable Phrygian-style peak surmounted by its elaborate bronze griffin crest appears unprecedented. H. Russell Robinson, formerly the curator of the Royal Armouries, cites only one other fragmentary helmet found at Ostrov in Romania, dated to the second half of the 2nd Century A.D., in the form of a tall Phrygian cap. Representations of similar helmets can be found at the base of Trajan’s Column among the captured Dacian and Sarmatian armour (cf ., H.R. Robinson, The Armour of Imperial Rome, London 1975, pp. 134-135, pls. 409-410). The openwork eyes and facial features of the Crosby Garrett Helmet find their closest parallels with Robinson’s Cavalry Sports Type E helmets, and in particular with a helmet from Nola, in southern Italy, now in the British Museum, dated to the late 1st to early 2nd Century A.D., (ibid., p. 124, pl. 361). However, the rendering of the hair in large tight curls is comparable to that of the Belgrade mask, now in the Archaeological Museum in Belgrade, belonging to Cavalry Sports Type C, and dated to the 2nd Century A.D. (ibid. p. 115, pl. 326).

These helmets were not for combative use, but worn for hippika gymnasia, (cavalry sports events). The polished white-metal surface of the Crosby Garrett face-mask would have provided a striking contrast to the original golden-bronze colour of the hair and Phrygian cap. In addition, colourful streamers may have been attached to the rings along the back ridge and on the griffin crest. Arrian of Nicomedia, a Roman provincial governor under Hadrian, provides us with the only surviving contemporary source of information on cavalry sports events. He describes, in an appendix to his Ars Tactica, how the cavalrymen were divided into two teams which took turns to attack and defend. He suggests that the wearing of these helmets was a mark of rank or excellence in horsemanship. Participants would also carry a light, elaborately painted shield, and wear an embroidered tunic and possibly thigh-guards and greaves, all of which would contribute to the impressive spectacle. These events may well have accompanied religious festivals celebrated by the Roman army and were probably also put on for the benefit of visiting officials. The displays would have been intended to demonstrate the outstanding equestrian skill and marksmanship of the Roman soldier and the wealth of the great empire he represented.”

Photographing metal detecting finds with a cheap digital microscope

I’ve been messing around with a cheap digital microscope to see how useful it would be for photographing metal detecting finds:

PLON - London mint of ConstantineCoin of Crispus minted in London, pretty blurry.
Flavius Magnus Magnentius coin with very early roman christian iconographyCoin of Magnentius with very early roman christian iconography.

The picture of the coin of Magnentius isn’t too bad, I think I need to work on my focusing. One of the problems with the digital microscope I am using is that it is very difficult to focus the thing without moving it, which means you have to focus it again. Maybe practise makes perfect?

Although I made sure that the microscope would work with Windows 7 when I bought it, the microscope software is clearly not fully compatible with Microsoft’s latest operating system as the software window does not display properly, rendering some of the microscopes functions unusable.

Even with my poor job of focusing, it is clear that the image quality will never match that of a half decent digital camera. Maybe the more expensive digital microscopes can produce better quality images, I’ll have to see if I can borrow one from somewhere and find out.

Although I am going to continue messing around with this digital microscope, it doesn’t seem that it will be all that good for finds, it is a lot of fun to play with though!

Maybe I can get better images out of it once I am more familiar with it, or can find a software upgrade that will make the microscope fully compatible with windows 7!

More pictures tomorrow if I get time!

And all this messing around with digital microscopes reminds me that I need to get the guide to photographing coins and artifacts pages done for the main web site!

London Coins Auction – Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010

London Coins Auction – Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010

The latest London Coins Auction‘s sale is happening this coming weekend (Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010).

The catalogue for the auction is up to London Coins Auction usual high standard, as are the the offerings within. The sale catalogue contains more than 2400 individual lots.

Some highlights from the sale catalogue (Auction 130):

Phillip and Mary Ireland shilling dated 1555. VF. Catalogue number 522. Estimate £750-£1500.

A stunning Solidi of Constantine the Great, Nicomedia mint. Good VF. Catalogue number 918). Estimate £3000-£5000). This coin is a new one on me, very unusual.

The most stunning Commonwealth Crown I have ever seen. Dated 1656. Graded choice EF.  Catalogue number 957. Estimate £2500-£5000.

And too many other fantastic items to list.

Bids by e-mail : bids@londoncoins.co.uk, or snail mail to 4-6 Upper Street South, New Ash Green, Kent DA3 8JJ, phone 01474 871464 or fax 01474 872173.

Now if only I could win a few million on the lottery…