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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Byzantine Countermarked||View Options:  |  |  | 

Countermarked Byzantine Coins

A countermark is a stamped or punched impression adding elements of design to a coin after it was originally struck. The practice of countermarking coins was widespread throughout antiquity. It was particularly common in the provinces of the Roman Empire. Countermarks were applied to coins for many reasons, including revalidation, revaluation, devaluation, and propaganda. Exactly when and why any individual countermark was applied is often uncertain.

Byzantine Empire, Theme of Chaldia (Trebizond), Theodore Gabras, c. 1075 - 1126 A.D., In the Name of Alexius I

|Empire| |of| |Trebizond|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Theme| |of| |Chaldia| |(Trebizond),| |Theodore| |Gabras,| |c.| |1075| |-| |1126| |A.D.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |Alexius| |I||follis|
The general Theodore Gabras captured Trebizond and ruled it and the theme of Chaldia as a virtually autonomous state (c. 1081 - 1098). He was celebrated for his martial exploits, and was later venerated as a saint in the region. Following the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the region became the center of the new Empire of Trebizond which survived until falling to the Ottomans in 1461.
BZ95867. Bronze follis, Bendall Trebizond (NC 77), p. 133, issue 13B & pl. 7, 18; DOC IV p. 433, 13b; Schlumberger pl. ii, 5; Hendy -; Wroth BMC -; Ratto -, gF, overstruck on Michael IV follis, dark brown patina, obverse off center, light marks, weight 6.735 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Trebizond (Trabzon, Turkey) mint, c. 1092 - 1098 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, bearded and nimbate, wearing tunic and himation, Gospels in right hand, IC - XC (Greek: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse Latin cross on three steps, a globule at the end of each arm, AΛBP (Greek: AΛεξιω Bασιλευϖ Pωμαιων - Alexius king of the Romans) in angles, Arab countermark 'Lillah" (For Allah); rare; $800.00 (€736.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

|Heraclius|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Heraclius| |&| |Heraclius| |Constantine,| |23| |January| |613| |-| |11| |January| |641| |A.D.||follis|
Heraclius came to power through revolt against the tyrannical Focas. He defeated the Sassanid Persians, but this only facilitated Arab conquest of Persia and the eastern Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines lost Syria and Palestine before Heraclius died and Egypt fell soon after.
BZ68100. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 243; Anastasi 66; Wroth BMC 398; Tolstoi 315; Ratto 1450; Morrisson BnF 10/Sy/AE/35; SBCV 884; Sommer 11.115, F, overstruck, weight 5.875 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 632 - 11 Jan 641 A.D.; obverse facing busts of long-bearded Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine, wearing short beard, cross above, all within large round countermark; traces of undertype; reverse Heraclian monogram and SCs within large round countermark; traces of undertype; $25.00 (€23.00)
 


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class C, Michael IV, 12 April 1034 - 10 December 1041 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |C,| |Michael| |IV,| |12| |April| |1034| |-| |10| |December| |1041| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The obverse countermark is attributed in Mardin Hoard to Izz al-din Abu Bakr al Dubaysi (541-551 A.H. / 1146 - 1156 A.D.), al-Jazirah mint.

The reverse countermark is a common formula which means "just" or "equitable" and was used on Islamic coins from an early date to indicate they are of an approved weight standard or fineness. It is attributed with doubt as perhaps Artuqid, a mint somewhere in the province of Diyar Bakr.

BZ36226. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class C; DOC III-2 C.1, SBCV 1825, Ratto 1998, Sommer 40.5; obverse c/m Mardin Hoard 13; reverse c/m Mardin Hoard 10?, Fair, weight 5.241 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1034 - 1041 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ, three-quarter length figure of Christ standing facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left, IC-XC; al-Jazirah countermark; reverse Jeweled cross with pellet at each extremity, in the angles IC - XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ Conquers); Artuqid? countermark; ex Mardin Hoard; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Anastasi, M. Monete Bizantine di Sicilia. (2009).
Bellinger, A.R. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Bendall, S. "An 'Eagle' Countermark on Sixth-century Byzantine Coins" in NC 136 (1976), p. 230.
Berk, H.J. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Evans, J.D. "Heraclian Countermarks on Coins Found in Caesarea" in AJN 5 (1993), pp. 97 - 104, and AJN 6 (1994), pp. 102 - 104.
Goehring, J.E. "Two New Examples of the Byzantine 'Eagle' Countermark" in NC 143 (1983), pp. 218 - 220.
Lampinen, P. "Countermarked Byzantine| Folles and the Identification of a New Imperial Family Member" in Caesarea| Papers 2. (Portsmouth, 1999), pp. 399-404.
Lowick, N.M., S. Bendall, & P.D. Whitting. The Mardin Hoard. (London, 1977).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Schulze|, W. "The Byzantine 'Eagle' Countermark - Re-attributed from Egypt to Palestine" in INR volume 4 (2009), pp. 113 - 120.
Schulze|, W. & T. Goodwin|. Countermarking in Seventh Century Syria|. (Supplement to ONS Newsletter, 183). (2005).
Schulze|, W., I. Schulze|, & W. Leimenstoll. "Heraclian countermarks on Byzantine| copper coins in seventh century Syria" in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (2006), pp. 1-27.
Sear, D.R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A.U. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Woods, D. "The Byzantine Eagle Countermark: Creating a Pseudo-Consular Coinage under the Heraclii" in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 55 (2015), pp. 927 - 945.
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

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