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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Overstruck||View 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.


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

|Revolt| |of| |the| |Heraclii|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Revolt| |of| |the| |Heraclii,| |608| |-| |5| |Oct| |610| |A.D.|, |follis|
Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86357. Bronze follis, DOC II 16, Morrisson BnF 9/Ax/AE/02, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, aF, uneven strike, a little off center, scratches, overstruck, edge cracks, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse Large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $280.00 SALE |PRICE| $252.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |I| |Soter,| |305| |-| |282| |B.C.|, |hemiobol|
In 305 B.C., Demetrius Poliorcetes besieged Salamis and defeated Ptolemy's navy off the coast. Demetrius offered lenient terms and Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, surrendered the city. After this victory, Demetrius declared himself a King. Ptolemy also declared himself a King. This coin has the usual Ptolemaic hemiobol types, with the title BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) visible. It is overstruck over a bronze of Demetrios Poliorketes with helmeted head of Demetrios Poliorketes right obverse (under the reverse of our coin) and prow reverse (under our obverse). Ptolemy struck this coin at Salamis after he re-took Cyprus in 294 B.C. Both Ptolemy I and Demetrios died in 283 B.C. Demetrios died in captivity, imprisoned by Seleukos.
GP87139. Bronze hemiobol, SNG Cop 43 (X, also overstruck, perhaps with same undertype); Svoronos 163; BMC Ptolemies 8, 69; under-type: Newell 20; SRCV II 6775, VF, nice green patina, strong undertype effects, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 294 B.C.; obverse deified head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon, hair long; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left, head left, wings open, X or (AX monogram) over helmet in left field; extremely rare; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Byzantine Empire, Constantine X Ducas, 25 December 1059 - 21 May 1067 A.D.

|Constantine| |X|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Constantine| |X| |Ducas,| |25| |December| |1059| |-| |21| |May| |1067| |A.D.|, |follis|
The undertype, SBCV 1853, Class F Anonymous Follis, was also struck under Constantine X.
BZ91671. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, 8, Wroth BMC 18, Morrisson BnF 51/Cp/AE/1, Ratto 2021, SBCV 1853, Sommer 52.6; undertype: SBCV 1856, aVF, overstruck with strong undertype effects from Anonymous Follis class F, weight 5.625 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 25 Dec 1059 - 21 May 1067; obverse +EMMA-NOVHΛ, Christ stands facing on footstool, wears nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, Gospels in left, IC - XC across field; undertype: ISXS / bASILE / bASIL (Jesus Christ King of Kings) in three lines; reverse + KWNT ∆K - EV∆K AVΓO (or similar, from upper right), Eudocia on left, Constantine on right both stand facing crowned, wearing loros, holding between labarum with cross on shaft on three steps; undertype: nimbate Christ seated facing on throne without back; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $85.00 SALE |PRICE| $76.50


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

|Focas|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Focas,| |23| |November| |602| |-| |5| |October| |610| |A.D.|, |half| |follis|
Focas became emperor through a military revolt. He was an oppressive evil tyrant. His reign was a period of disaster with invasions, persecution of the aristocracy and civil unrest. Focas restored recognizable portraiture to the coinage - an oddity considering his appearance is often described as grotesque.
BZ92762. Bronze half follis, DOC II part 1, 37a; Ratto 1218; Hahn MIB 65b; SBCV 644; Sommer 9.29; Wroth BMC -; Morrisson BnF -; Tolstoi -, VF, overstruck with strong undertype effects, small edge split, weight 4.567 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 603 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.; obverse D N FOCA PERP AVG, crowned bust facing, bearded, wearing consular robes, mappa in right hand, cross in left hand; reverse XX (20 nummi), star above, CONA in exergue; ex German dealer or collector (anonymous German tag); $65.00 SALE |PRICE| $58.50


Lysimacheia, Thracian Chersonese, c. 245 - 225 B.C.

|Lysimacheia|, |Lysimacheia,| |Thracian| |Chersonese,| |c.| |245| |-| |225| |B.C.|, |AE| |17|
Lysimachia was built by Lysimachus in 309 B.C. On the isthmus, it commanded the road from Sestos and mainland Thrace. To obtain inhabitants for his new city, Lysimachus destroyed neighboring Cardia and settled the inhabitants of it and other Chersonese cities here. Lysimachus made Lysimachia the capital of his kingdom and it must have rapidly risen to great splendor and prosperity.
RP89897. Bronze AE 17, HGC 3 1500 (S), SNG Cop 914; cf. BMC Thrace p. 195, 4, gVF, green patina, overstruck, weight 4.058 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Lysimachia (Eksemil, Turkey) mint, c. 245 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion's scalp headdress; reverse ΛYΣIMA,XEΩN (downward on left, ending in exergue), Nike standing left, raising wreath in right hand, monograms(?) right; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00


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

|Heraclius|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Heraclius| |&| |Heraclius| |Constantine,| |23| |January| |613| |-| |11| |January| |641| |A.D.,| |Overstruck| |on| |Focas|, |follis|
Heraclius came to power in 610 following a successful revolt in North Africa against the tyrannical rule of the Emperor Focas. His son Heraclius Constantine was elevated to joint rule in 613 A.D. Heraclius' most spectacular military achievement was the total defeat of Rome's old enemy on the eastern frontier, the Sassanid Persians. Unfortunately, this only facilitated the Arab conquest of Persia and the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines lost Syria and Palestine before Heraclius died in early 641 A.D. and Egypt fell to the Arabs soon after.
BZ91698. Bronze follis, SBCV 805; DOC II-1 76 - 83; Hahn MIB 160b, Sommer 11.53; undertype: Focas, follis, Constantinople, 604 - 610 A.D., SBCV 640, VF, overstruck with strong undertype effects, holed, weight 10.091 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 613 - 616 A.D.; obverse [dd NN hERACLIuS Et hER]A CON[St PP A], Heraclius on left, Heraclius Constantine on right, both in chlamys holding globus cruciger in right, cross between heads; undertype: O N FOCA..., crowned facing bust, mappa in right, cross in left; reverse large M (40 nummi), Christogram above, ANNO left, uncertain year right (years 3 - 5, obscured by undertype effects), A (1st officina) below, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; undertype: large XXXX, ANNO above, uncertain year right (years 2 - 8), CON[...] in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Philippi, Macedonia

|Philippi|, |Claudius,| |25| |January| |41| |-| |13| |October| |54| |A.D.,| |Philippi,| |Macedonia|, |AE| |27|
Philippi was founded by Philip II of Macedonia to control nearby gold mines and the route between Amphipolis and Neapolis. Philip constructed fortifications, sent colonists, and established a mint in the city. In Oct 42 B.C., Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Caesar's assassins, Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi west of the city. They released some of their veterans to colonize the city, which was refounded as Colonia Victrix Philippensium. In 30 B.C., Octavian sent more Italian settlers, veterans possibly from the Praetorian Guard. The city was renamed Colonia Iulia Philippensis, and then Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis after January, 27 B.C., when Octavian received the title Augustus from the Roman Senate.
RP94065. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 1653, Varbanov III 3774; SNG ANS 684, SNG Cop 3074, BMC Macedonia 24, AMNG III 17, Lindgren 1127, Moushmov 6923, F, overstruck, strong obscuring undertype effects, weight 8.865 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, Philippi (near Filippoi, Greece) mint, 41 - 56 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, bare head left; reverse COLA VGIVL PHILIP, statues of Augustus to left and Caesar to right on cippus inscribed DIVVS AVG in two lines, altar flanking on each side of cippus; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00


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; $32.00 SALE |PRICE| $28.80


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|
In 613, Heraclius married his niece Martina; she becomes empress (Augusta) of the Byzantine Empire. This second marriage is considered to fall within the prohibited degree of kinship, but is approved by the Catholic Church in Constantinople. On 22 January 613, Heraclius Constantine is crowned co-emperor (Caesar) by his father Heraclius and shortly after betrothed to his cousin, Gregoria, daughter of Nicetas. Only 8 months old, Constantine has no real power and his dynastic title is purely ceremonial.
BZ92369. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 79a; Morrisson BnF 10/Cp/AE/20; Tolstoi 231; Ratto 1400; Hahn MIB 160b; Sommer 11.53; SBCV 805; Wroth BMC -, F, centered on a broad flan, overstruck with strong undertype effects obscuring some detail, edge splits, weight 10.151 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 613 - 614 A.D.; obverse JJ NN hERACLIuS Et hERA CON PP AV (or similar), Heraclius on left, Heraclius Constantine on right, both in chlamys holding globus cruciger in right, cross between heads; reverse large M (40 nummi), chi rho Christogram above, ANNO left, II/II (regnal year 2) right, A (1st officina) below, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; from a New England dealer, with previous collector's round tag; $27.00 SALE |PRICE| $24.30







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REFERENCES|

Curtis, C. "Colin Kraay's Explanation of the Phenomenon of Overstruck Reverses on Roman Imperial and Provincial Coins" in the Journal of Ancient Numismatics, Vol. 1, Issue 2, June/July 2008.
de Callataˇ, F. "A Coin with the Legend ΘPAKΩN Overstruck on an Athenian Stephanophoros Tetradrachm of AΠEΛΛIKΩN-ΓOPΓIAΣ (88/7 BC) and its Consequences for the Thasian Type Coinage" in Studies Prokopov.
Emmons, B. "The overstruck coinage of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 6 (1954), pp. 69 - 83.
MacDonald, D. Overstruck Greek Coins: Studies in Greek Chronology and Monetary Theory. (Atlanta, 2008).
Rosenberger, M. The Rosenberger Israel Collection Volume IV: The Coinage of Eastern Palestine, and legionary countermarks, Bar-Kochba overstruck. (Jerusalem, 1978).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Stannard, C. "Overstrikes and imitative coinages in central Italy in the late Republic," in Essays Hirsch. (1998)

Catalog current as of Friday, February 28, 2020.
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Overstruck