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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ OverstruckView Options:  |  |  | 

Overstruck Coins

Although most ancient coins were struck on newly made flans, it was not unusual for a coin to be struck with an older coin used at the "blank" flan. Overstrikes are important because we can firmly establish the overtype is a later issue than the undertype. Overstrikes have been used to determine not just the sequence of issues but have also been used to more precisely date issues and, in some cases, to establish the order of rulers' reigns. For some ancient realms, numismatics provides the primary or only clues of who ruled and when they ruled. Sometimes overstrikes were done to recycle worn or obsolete coins. The most interesting overstrikes were done for political reasons. For example during the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt against Rome, the rebels struck their own silver zuz over Roman denarii, thus obliterating symbols of the hated Romans and replacing them with their own.


France, Louis XIV the Sun King, 1643 - 1715

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This coin is overstruck on an older coin, part of a "reformation" process involving financial manipulations and impacting all French silver and gold coinage from 1690 to 1709. The undertype is a Louis XIV, demi-écu aux huit L, Paris, workshop A, 1690 - 1693, Duplessy 1515; obverse: LVD•XIIII•D•G (sun) FR•ET•NAV•REX, draped and cuirassed bust of Louis XIV right, wearing large wig, obscure date below; reverse: (Mg) CHRS - REGN - VINC - IMP (star), cross formed of four groups of two L's, each arm under a crown cutting the legend, A (Paris mint workshop letter) in a circle at the center, lis in each quarter.
SH84613. Silver demi-écu aux palmes, Duplessy 1521A, Ciani 1895, Gadoury 185, Krause KM 295.1, VF, extraordinarily strong undertype remnants, reverse of undertype on obverse, obverse of undertype on reverse, weight 13.297 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, Paris mint, 1694 (A, reformation); obverse LVD•XIIII•D•G (sun) FR•ET•NAV•REX (Louis XIV, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre), cuirassed bust right, wearing large wig, cuirass ornamented with facing head of Medusa on chest; reverse BENEDICTVM (arrow point) 1964 (crescent horns up - indicates reformation) SIT•NOMEN•DOMINI (Blessed be the name of the Lord), crown above three lis in a circle (round arms of France), between two palms tied at the bottom, •A• (Paris mint workshop letter) below; edge inscribed: (lis) (sun) (lis) (flower) DOMINE (flower) (lis) (flower) SALVVM (lis) (flower) FAC (flower) (lis) (flower) REGEM; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Romanus IV, 1 January 1068 - 19 August 1071 A.D.

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Based on seal inscriptions, the letters on the reverse have been interpreted to abbreviate, Σταυρε βοηθει Pwmavov ∆εσποτην (O Cross, aid our ruler Romanus).
BZ83532. Bronze follis, DOC III, part 2, 8; Morrisson BnF 1; Wroth BMC 9; Ratto 2030; Sommer 54.4; SBCV 1866, VF, overstruck, light marks, green patina, small edge crack, weight 5.994 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1 Jan 1068 - 19 Aug 1071 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, wears pallium and colobium, Gospels in both hands, dotted cross behind head, IC - XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ Conquers) flanking in two divided lines across the field; reverse cross with X at center and globus and pellets at the end of each arm, pellets and points at base, C - R / P - ∆ in the angles; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D..

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Overstruck over a denarius of Severus Alexander, which suggests that the new coin was worth at least as much of the old one. Otherwise, it would have made more sense to melt the denarius.
RA73221. Silver antoninianus, cf. RIC V 287 (S), Webb Carausius 336, SRCV IV 13629, VF, toned, weight 2.664 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 225o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 290 - 291 A.D.; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, mintmark obscured by over-strike effects; undertype bust (Severus Alexander?) visible; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection, ex Forum (2010); scarce; $145.00 (€129.05)
 


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class D, Constantine IX, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055 A.D.

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The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
BZ77168. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class D; SBCV 1836, VF, very large flan, overstruck with fairly strong undertype effects, weight 17.156 g, maximum diameter 36.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055 A.D.; obverse Christ seated facing on throne with back, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, and holding gospels with both hands, to left IC, to right XC; reverse ISXS/bASILE/bASIL (Jesus Christ King of Kings), lines and cross above, ornamental lines and crescent below; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Danubian Celts, Serdi Region, Moesia, 168 - 31 B.C.; Overstruck on Pella, Macedonia Bronze

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Celtic imitative of a rare Macedonian issue struck under Philip V or Perseus, 187 - 168 B.C. The choice was appropriate for the Serdi Celts as the river Strymon runs through the Serdi region.
CE46714. Bronze AE 20, Malloy Danubian Celts type C3A; imitative of a Macedonian Kingdom (Philip V or Perseus) type, 187 - 168 B.C., SNG Cop 1299, gF, centered on a tight flan, green patina, patina chips and edge chips, overstruck, weight 6.035 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, obverse reed-wreathed head of the river god Strymon right; remnant of helmeted head of Athena right from undertype; reverse trident head, stylized dolphin ornaments between the prongs, blundered illiterate imitation of an inscription, remnant of ΠEΛΛHΣ legend over grazing cow from undertype; overstruck on a Pella, Macedonia bronze, SNG Cop 266 ff., after 187 B.C.; scarce; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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In 654, Constans II appointed his two-year old son Constantine IV as co-emperor (Augustus). In 659. Constans II also elevated Constantine IV's younger brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, as co-emperors.
SH69722. Bronze follis, Anastasi 157; DOC II, part 2, 180; Wroth BMC 358; Morrisson BnF 6; Tolstoi 278; Ratto 1604; Hahn MIB 209; Berk 696; Sommer 12.91; SBCV 1109, F+, overstruck, ragged flan, weight 5.629 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, 654 - 659; obverse Constans (left) in military attire with long staff in right, and Constantine in chlamys with globus cruciger in right, both crowned and stand facing; reverse large M (40 nummi), monogram above, SCL (Sicily) in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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

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In 614, a Sassanid Persian and Jewish army (26,000 men) led by by Shahrbaraz captured and sacked Jerusalem after a 20-day siege. Somewhere between 57,000 and 66,500 citizens were slain; another 35,000 were enslaved, including the Patriarch Zacharias. Many churches in the city (including the "Church of the Resurrection" or Holy Sepulchre) were burned, and numerous relics, including the True Cross, the Holy Lance, and the Holy Sponge, were carried off to the Persian capital Ctesiphon.
BZ77962. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 159b.4 (same dies); Morrisson BnF 10/Ni/AE/07; Wroth BMC 242; Tolstoi 270; Ratto 1436; Hahn MIB 175a; SBCV 834; Sommer 11.73, F, overstruck on a large flan, small edge cracks, strong undertype effects, weight 13.375 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 195o, 2nd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 613 - 614 A.D.; obverse Heraclius on left, Heraclius Constantine on right, both stand wearing crown and chlamys with globus cruciger in right hand, cross between heads, obscure blundered legend; reverse large M (40 nummi) between A/N/N/O and II/II (regnal year 4), cross above, B (2nd officina) below, NIK (Nicomedia) in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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

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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; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


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

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The Byzantine-Sassanid War ended with a Byzantine victory in 628, but the war, after a century of nearly continuous conflict, left both empires crippled. The Persians suffering economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, dynastic turmoil and other social problems, plunged into civil war. The Byzantines had exhausted their treasure, the Balkans had been largely lost to the Slavs, and Anatolia was devastated. Neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they were struck by the onslaught of the Arabs, newly united by Islam. The Sassanid Empire would soon be completely destroyed. The Muslim conquest of Syria, Egypt and North Africa, would reduce the Byzantine Empire to a territorial rump consisting of Anatolia and a scatter of islands and footholds in the Balkans and Italy.
BZ68099. Bronze half follis, DOC II, part 1, 118a; Wroth BMC 206; Tolstoi 286; Ratto 1422; Morrisson BnF 88; Hahn MIB 171a; Sommer 11.65; SBCV 815, F, overstruck, weight 3.696 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 629 - 630 A.D.; obverse Heraclius, on left in military dress with long cross in right, and Heraclius Constantine, wearing chlamys holding globus cruciger in right, both stand facing wears crown with cross, Heraclius monogram left, K right; reverse large K (20 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/X (regnal year 20) right, A below; scarce; $45.00 (€40.05)
 


Byzantine Empire, Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

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In 603, the senate acclaimed the statues of emperor Phocas and empress Leontia. This trivial event was the last ever mention of the Roman Senate in the Gregorian Register. The institution must have vanished by 630 when the Curia was transformed into a church by Pope Honorius I. The Senate at Constantinople continued to exist in the Eastern Roman Empire's capital until at least the mid-14th century when the ancient institution finally vanished from history.
BZ77960. Bronze half follis, DOC II, part 1, 36a (also with obv. leg. d N N...); Tolstoi 149 (same); cf. Hahn MIB 65; SBCV 643; Sommer 9.28; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -; Wroth BMC -, aVF, overstruck, crude, ragged flan, some corrosion, weight 2.983 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 229o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 603 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N N FOCA PER AVC (or similar), crowned bust facing, bearded, wearing consular robes, mappa in right hand, cross in left hand; reverse large XX (20 nummi), cross above, CONA in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare legend variety; $45.00 (€40.05)
 







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Overstruck