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

Countermarked Imperial Roman and Roman Provincial 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.

Jerusalem, Judaea, Legio X Fretensis Countermarks, c. 68 - 132 A.D.

|Roman| |Countermarked|, |Jerusalem,| |Judaea,| |Legio| |X| |Fretensis| |Countermarks,| |c.| |68| |-| |132| |A.D.||AE| |26|
The boar and the galley were emblems of the Tenth Legion Fretensis, stationed in and around Jerusalem.
CM38681. Bronze AE 26, Hendin 6641 (R), countermarks F, weight 10.974 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, c. 68 - 132 A.D.; obverse Flavian(?) profile visible, LXF countermark; reverse galley and LXF boar countermarks; rare; SOLD


Nero Claudius Drusus, Born 38 B.C., Died 9 B.C., Issued by his Son Claudius

|Roman| |Countermarked|, |Nero| |Claudius| |Drusus,| |Born| |38| |B.C.,| |Died| |9| |B.C.,| |Issued| |by| |his| |Son| |Claudius||sestertius|
The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.
RB16474. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I Claudius 109, BMCRE I Claudius, 208, BnF II Claudius 108, Cohen I 8, SRCV I 1897; countermark: Pangerl p. 121, 60, VF, attractive burgundy and olive patina, some corrosion, weight 28.884 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 42 - 43 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head left; countermark behind: NCAPR in a rectangular incuse punch; reverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, Claudius seated left on curule chair, togate, branch in right hand, surrounded by arms and shields, S C in exergue; SOLD


Countermarked Bronze Coin, Time of Civil War to Vespasian, c. 68 - 79 A.D.

|Roman| |Countermarked|, |Countermarked| |Bronze| |Coin,| |Time| |of| |Civil| |War| |to| |Vespasian,| |c.| |68| |-| |79| |A.D.||AE| |28|
Countermarked with:

1. Head right (Divus Augustus?)

2. Bunch of grapes

3. Capricorn



According to Martini, the Capricorn countermark appears on coins from Augustus to Nero, from Moesia or Thrace. The letters or device below the capricorn are not clear on our our coin nor were they to Martini from other examples. The capricorn was a symbol of Vespasian and issue under his reign is a good possibility. The coin is listed by Martini right after #93, a Galba countermark.
SH24953. Bronze AE 28, countermark: Pangerl 94 for the capricorn, the other two countermarks not listed, weight 14.701 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, interesting and unusual countrmarks; SOLD


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

|Claudius|, |Claudius,| |25| |January| |41| |-| |13| |October| |54| |A.D.||sestertius|
R. F. Kenyon in "The countermark PROB on coins of Claudius from Britain" (NC 148, 1988) writes that the PROB countermark, which was applied only to sestertii of Claudius, can be expanded to PROBatum, meaning "approved." The Claudian sestertii bearing this countermark are found almost exclusively in Britain and Italy. His study did not find shared punches between any coins with known provenances from Britain and Italy, suggesting that the Claudian sestertii circulating in Britain were countermarked there. The countermarks were carefully applied, always in the right obverse field and never overlapping the imperial portrait. Coins were countermarked before they had seen much, if any, circulation.
SH85461. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 99; BMCRE I 124; SRCV I 1853; Cohen I 85; c/m: Kenyon 1 - 7 (same coin type, same placement), Pangerl 23 (Gallia), Martini 40, Choice VF, c/m: EF; Tiber toning, bumps and scratches, light corrosion, reverse double struck, weight 25.951 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 42 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, laureate head right, countermark: PROB in a rectangular punch; reverse SPES AVGVSTA, Spes walking left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare countermark; SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Parion, Mysia

|Parium|, |Trajan,| |25| |January| |98| |-| |8| |or| |9| |August| |117| |A.D.,| |Parion,| |Mysia||AE| |17|
Plotina was Trajan's wife, married to him before he became emperor. She was renowned for her virtue and simplicity. Marciana was Trajan's eldest sister and the mother of Matidia. She was an accomplished woman who lost her husband before her brother's succession. Matidia lived as a widow with Plotina and they were united by the tenderest and most uninterrupted friendship. Both were awarded the title Augusta at the same time in 105. Marciana died c. 112 - 114. Plotina died in 129 A.D.
RP42037. Bronze AE 17, RPC III 1543 (17 spec.), SNG BnF 1468, Weber 5151; countermark: Howgego 304 (11 or 17 of this type in RIC have this countermark), VF, tight flan, cut across face of Plotina, weight 2.038 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 114 A.D.; obverse TRAIAN AVG, laureate head right; countermark: capricorn right in an oval punch; reverse MARCIANA AVG PLOTINA, confronting draped busts of Plotina, on left, and Marciana, on right; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Baker, R. "The Countermarks Found on Ancient Roman Coins: A Brief Introduction" in SAN XV (1984). pp. 52-58.
Barag, D. "The countermarks of the Legio Decima Fretensis" in Kindler Patterns. (Tel-Aviv, 1967).
Barag, D. & S. Qedar. "A Countermark of the Legio Quinta Scytica from the Jewish War" in INJ 13 (1994).
Howgego, C. Greek Imperial Countermarks. RNS, Special Publication No. 17. (London, 1985).
Kenyon, R. "The countermark PROB on coins of Claudius from Britain" in NC 148 (1988).
Martini, R. Nomismata 6: The Pangerl Collection Catalog and Commentary on the Countermarked Roman Imperial Coins. (Milan, 2003).
Mac Dowall, D. "Two Roman Countermarks of A.D. 68" in NC 1960, pp. 103 - 112, pl. VII.
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Rosenberger, M. The Rosenberger Israel Collection Volume IV: The Coinage of Eastern Palestine, and legionary countermarks, Bar-Kochba overstruck. (Jerusalem, 1978).
Seyrig, H. "Monnaies contremarques en Syrie" in Syria 35 (1958), pp. 187-197.
Topalov, S. 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).
Werz, U. "Die Gegenstempel von Kalkriese und der Mnzumlauf in frhtiberischer Zeit in der Germania inferior und superior" in Wiegels, p. 237 - 252.
Werz, U. Gegenstempel auf Reichs - und Provinzialprgungen der rmischen Kaiserzeit - Katalog der Sammlung Dr. Konrad Bech, Mainz. (Speyer, 2004).

Catalog current as of Friday, February 3, 2023.
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