Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Copper alloy currency-bar ('ramo secco').

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 6thC BC-4thC BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Weight: 829.31 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    'Ramo secco' bar, c. 6th-4th century BC. The name derives from the design of a 'dry branch'. Such bars are found principally in northern central Italy. An early date is suggested by the discovery of one piece in a stratum of an excavation near Gela in Sicily which has been dated by the pottery finds to the 6th century BC.

    Copper alloys were used as currency in northern and central Italy in the form of scrap and cast into bars. The earliest bars contained copper and iron, and apparently circulated from the 6th to 3rd centuries BC, mainly in Etruria. They were very brittle, and it seems likely that the iron was introduced to increase their weight. The weight was not fixed at this stage, but when the Romans started to make their own currency bars in about 300 BC, they adopted a standard of about 5 Roman pounds.

    Burnett, Andrew and Paul T. Craddock and Nigel Meeks. ‘Italian currency bars.’ Italian Iron Age Artefacts in the British Museum. Papers of the Sixth British Museum Classical Colloquium, 1982, edited by Judith Swaddling. London: British Museum Publications Ltd, 1986. p. 127-130.

    See Tripp, David Enders. ‘Coinage.’ Etruscan life and afterlife: a handbook of Etruscan studies, edited by Larissa Bonfante. Warmister: Aris & Phillips, 1986. p. 203, fig. VI.17.


  • Bibliography

    • Haeb 10, p.17 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Coins & Medals

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • HSBC.755 (Money Gallery Exhibited)
Iron currency-bar.

Obverse & Reverse

Iron currency-bar.

Image description



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Object reference number: CGR133822

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