British Numismatic Journal 1906 Volume III
A Find of Ancient British Coins at South Ferriby,
B Y BERNARD ROTH , Vice-President.
THOMAS SHEPPARD , of the Hull Museum, wrote
to me as follows :—
” I was born in the next house to that of Thomas Smith at
South Ferriby. He was very eccentric, and in no circumstances would
he allow people to see his collection, whilst the idea of selling anything was
absolutely out of the question, because, as he quaintly put it, ‘the’ll nobbut
tak best.’ Beyond a ridiculously exaggerated idea of the value of the objects he
found, he knew nothing about them ancl apparently cared less. Practically
anything that was metal was added to his collection, and whilst he obtained an
enormous amount of rubbish in this way, he also got many valuable specimens.
In addition to the British, he found nearly three thousand Roman bronze and
silver coins, principally small bronze of Constantine and his period ; also a few
Anglo-Saxon stycas and silver coins of pre-Elizabethan date. In addition to
the coins, there were about one hundred fibulze, mostly Roman, but including
a few Anglo-Saxon of the ‘ square-headed ‘ type, and there were also some
British stone implements, particularly a fine flint arrow-point. With the
exception of the British coins which were withdrawn at the sale, we have now
in this museum practically everything of interest that was sold from this locality,
having bought back the lots that were taken away by purchasers. In his early
days Thomas Smith worked at the chalk quarry, but for a long time prior to
his death he had no occupation, and lived on some money which had been left
to him by a relative. His expenses were almost nil—I never knew a man live
on so little. I have seen him having his ‘ dinner’ at the fount in the
village—an onion bruised in a basin of water! He died in August, 1905,
aged 67 years.
” On the South Humber shore there is a bank of boulder-clay and gravel,
nearly a mile long, which runs between South Ferriby Hall and the Ferriby
Chalk Pit. This bank is really an ancient glacial moraine. About mid-way
along the cliff is a spring, which rises from the chalk below. Around this
spring was a small Roman encampment, ancl practically everything which
Smith found was in front of the one field in which this spring is situated.
I know the place fairly well, for I have spent days with him collecting. During
the past forty years or so, the Humber has been washing the cliff away to
a serious extent, several acres having entirety gone. Years ago, I distinctly
remember seeing human bones in some numbers being washed out of the cliffs.
The place was obviously a cemetery, and it was at that time that so many
objects were found. Nowadays, the Humber seems to have entirely denuded
that part of the land which contained the remains, and with the exception of
a few small pieces of pottery, nothing seems to be washed out. I spend much
time on the spot and can find nothing in comparison to what it was possible to
find years ago. I have one small British silver coin in poor condition which
I found there myself (Plate, No. 16). The reason the coins are not worn by
tidal action on the beach is that they rarely got so far as the water-line,
for, as a rule, they were picked up from the slope of the clay before they were
washed on to the shingle.”
British Numismatic Journal 1906 Volume III
The rest of the article is available here in a PDF:
South Ferriby Uniface. c.45-10 BC. Gold stater. 17-19mm. 5.68g. Virtually blank obverse./ Lunate horse left, star below. ABC 1743 var., VA 811-3 var., BMC 3173-76 var., S 390. Good VF, big flan of toned rose gold, bold strike. Ex Bernard Roth collection, ex R.P.Mack collection (with his ticket), ex Spink 21.5.1948, ex South Ferriby hoard.
A pedigree piece, extensively published in D.F.Allen, SCBI, The Coins of the Coritani, 1963, pl.VII, 288 (this coin); B. Roth, ‘A large hoard of gold and silver ancient British coins of the Brigantes, found at south Ferriby, Lincolnshire in 1906’, Num Chron. series 4, vol.8, 1908, 17-55, No.13 (this coin); R.P.Mack, SCBI 20, R.P.Mack Collection, 1973, pl.IX, no.272 (this coin); P.de Jersey, Coin Hoards in Iron Age Britain, Spink 2014, p.278, no.54 (this coin).
Thank you Chris Rudd for image and auction text Images copyright Chris Rudd.