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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Greek CountermarkedView Options:  |  |  | 

Countermarked Greek Coins

Aspendus, Pamphylia, 191 - 190 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

In 190 B.C., Aspendos, which had been under Seleukid rule, surrendered to the Romans.
SH59444. Silver tetradrachm, Price 2901, Müller Alexander 1214, Cohen DCA 312, VF, weight 16.227 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 191 - 190 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; Seleukid countermark: anchor in a rectangular punch; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg drawn back, eagle extended in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, wreath above AΣ / KB left (year 22 Era of Aspendos); $240.00 (€211.20)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 200 - 27 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GB72168. Bronze AE 28, SNGvA 7355 (with same countermark); SNG BnF 505 (also with same c/m); SNG Cop 84; BMC Mysia p. 40, 167, VF, nice style, well centered, nice green patina, bevelled obv edge, weight 12.530 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 90o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 200 - 27 B.C.; obverse head of Kore Soteira right, wearing grain wreath; countermark: eagle standing right, wings open in a 7.5mm round punch; reverse tripod with three loop handles, KYZI/KHNWN from upper right, in two flanking downward lines, branch right above, torch left below, monogram outer right, monogram outer left; $185.00 (€162.80)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

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Svoronos 1149 is the same as Svoronos 1148 but with the addition of the countermark.

Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria.
GP72049. Bronze tetrobol, Hosking 42 (with c/m); Svoronos 1149 (same); SNG Cop 211 (same); BMC Ptolemies p. 75, 76 (same, Ptolemy V); Noeske 151 (no c/m); Weiser 97 (Pt. V), VF, weight 39.031 g, maximum diameter 38.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head turned back right, ΣE monogram between eagle's legs, rectangular cornucopia countermark; big 38 mm bronze; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IV, 221 - 204 B.C.

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This rare countermark is also found on Weiser 117, 118 and 114; all bronzes from Tyre. Perhaps the countermark was applied under Seleukid hegemony, when Ptolemy V lost Judea, Philistia, and Phoenicia to Antiochos III after the battle of Panium in 198 B.C.
GP72051. Bronze hemidrachm, Svoronos 1130; Noeske 95 (Ptolemy II); BMC Ptolemies p. 53, 65 (Ptolemy III); Hosking 56; Malter 156; Weiser 48 (Ptolemy II); SNG Cop -, F, some corrosion on the reverse, weight 29.982 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, club before, ∆I between legs; countermark: ivy leaf in irregular shaped punch; rare countermark; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Side, Pamphylia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Side was founded by Greeks from Cyme, Aeolis, most likely in the 7th century B.C. The settlers started using the local language and over time forgot their native Greek. Excavations have revealed inscriptions written in this language, still undeciphered, dating from as late as the 2nd century B.C. The name Side is from this indigenous Anatolian language and means pomegranate.
GB90296. Bronze AE 18, BMC Lycaonia p. 151, 70 (with same Helios countermark); SNG Cop 411 (same); SNG BnF 750 ff.; SNG PfPs 501; Lindgren -, VF, unusually broad flan with full legends, nice green patina, reverse flattened by countermarking, weight 2.667 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Side mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, in crested Corinthian helmet; countermarks: facing head of Helios, helmeted head of Athena right, ΣI∆HTΩN horizontal above; reverse Nike advancing left, holding wreath; wearing long chiton, peplos around waist and left arm, pomegranate in left field, ΣI∆H−TΩN horizontal above divided by Nike's head; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 133 - 16 B.C.

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When the Pergamene king Attalus III died without an heir in 133 B.C., to prevent a civil war, he bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic.

The Greeks and Romans did not view snakes as evil creatures but rather as symbols and tools for healing and fertility. Asclepius, the son of Apollo and Koronis, learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
GB71736. Bronze AE 19, SNG BnF 1815 (with owl countermark); SNG Tübingen 2415 (same); BMC Mysia p. 129, 161 (same); SNGvA -; SNG Cop -, F, green patina, small flan, obverse right side flattened by counter-marking, flan crack, weight 6.107 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 315o, Pergamon mint, c. 133 - 16 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Asklepios right; reverse AΣKΛHΠIOY / ΣΩTHPOΣ, Asklepian snake coiled around omphalos, head right; countermark: owl standing right with head facing, in 6mm round punch; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C.

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The Seleukid countermark was applied for Antiochos IV.
SH58536. Bronze AE 26, Svoronos 1398 (same countermark), SNG Cop 294 (same countermark), Weiser 152 (no countermark), VF, desert patina, weight 10.742 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot mint, c. 176 - 168 BC; obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing on thunderbolt left; lotus to left, EYΛ between legs; countermark: Seleukid anchor.; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Berenice II and Ptolemy III, 244 - 221 B.C.

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In "The Ptolemaic mint of Ras Ibn Hani," INR 2, pp. 63 - 75, Catherine Lorber identifies the mint as Ras Ibn Hani "a Ptolemaic stronghold on the Syrian coast near Lattaqiyah (ancient Laodicea ad Mare)."
GP71897. Bronze dichalkon, Svoronos 1056 (Gaza or Joppa), Noeske 131 (Gaza), Cox Curium 83 (Uncertain mint), Paphos II 57, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Hosking -, F, glossy dark patina with earthen highlighting, tiny pitting, weight 3.754 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Phoenician mint, 244 - 221 B.C.; obverse BASILISSWS BEPENIKHΣ, diademed and draped bust of Berenice II right, hair in melon coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, EY left, two oval countermarks; $105.00 (€92.40)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

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Ptolemaios (also known as Ptolemy I) was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great, the Roman nominee for the Judaean throne. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift. Attribution of the countermark to Cleopatra is speculative, but the evidence seems to fit. Similar countermarks are known for Antioch, Chalkis, Seleukia and Laodicea.
GB57768. Bronze AE 20, HGC 9 1441; Herman 7; BMC Galatia p. 279, 2; SGCV II 5896 var; Lindgren 2134A, aVF, rough, weight 6.201 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libanos mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust right in oval punch; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY / TETPAPΞOY / AXP (AX ligate), eagle flying right, monogram above tail; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 164 - 37 B.C.

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Sandan was a Hittite-Babylonian sun, storm, or warrior god, also perhaps associated with agriculture. The Greeks equated Sandan with Herakles (Hercules). At Tarsus an annual festival honored Sandan-Herakles, which climaxed when, as depicted on this coin, an image of the god was burned on a funeral pyre.
GB72627. Bronze AE 21, cf. SNG Cop 339 (possibly same monograms); SNG Levante 953 (same) and 952 (same countermark); BMC Lycaonia p. 180, 106 ff. (various monograms), aVF, weight 8.347 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 315o, Tarsos mint, c. 164 - 37 B.C.; obverse veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; countermark: radiate head of Helios within oval punch; reverse TAPΣEΩN, Sandan standing right on horned and winged animal, on a garlanded base and within a pyramidal pyre surmounted by an eagle; $70.00 (€61.60)
 







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REFERENCES

Bauslaugh, R. "Cistophoric Countermarks and he Monetary System of Eumenes II" in NC 1990.
Calciati, R. Corpus Nummorum Siculorum. The Bronze Coinage. (Milan, 1983 - 1987).
Howgego, C. Greek Imperial Countermarks. Royal Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 17. (London, 1985).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Seyrig, H. "Monnaies contremarquées en Syrie," in Syria 35 (1958).
Topalov, S.A. New Contributions to the Study of the Countermarking of Coins in the Area of the West Pontic Cities, 3rd-1st c. B.C. (Sofia, 2002).

Catalog current as of Thursday, February 11, 2016.
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Countermarked Coins