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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.

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Antioch, Syria

|Antioch|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Syria||AE| |26|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
CM112118. Bronze AE 26, RPC II 2022g (2 spec.); McAlee 407g (ex rare); countermark: Howgego 245, gF, tight flan cutting off most of legend, marks, weight 11.872 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 81 - 83 A.D.; obverse IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG, laureate head right; countermark: Athena standing right in 6x4mm rectangular punch, spear vertical behind in her right, left hand resting on grounded shield; reverse large S C (senatus consulto), Z (7th officina) below, within laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves; from the Michael Arslan Collection; extremely rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


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

|Other| |Phrygia|, |Claudius,| |25| |January| |41| |-| |13| |October| |54| |A.D.,| |Cadi,| |Phrygia||AE| |20|
Cadi (Gediz, Turkey) was near the sources of the Hermus at the foot of Mount Dindymus. Gediz suffered major earthquakes in 1866, 1896, 1944, and 1970. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 28 March 1970 killed 1,086 people and left 1,260 people wounded and many thousands homeless. The town was relocated after the destruction to a new place 7 km away under the name "Yeni Gediz" (Turkish: New Gediz).
RP112132. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online I 3062; SNG Cop 246; SNGvA3685; SNG Lewis 1523; BMC Phrygia p. 120, 18; c/m: Howgego 309, F, dark patina, weight 4.886 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Cadi (Gediz, Turkey) mint, stephanephoro Meliton Asklepiadou, c. 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse KΛAYΔIOC KAICAP (counterclockwise from lower right), laureate head right; countermark: Capricorn right in an oval punch; reverse ΕΠI MΕΛITΩNOC ACKΛHΠIAΔOY (under authority of Meliton, son of Asklepiados), Zeus standing left, eagle in right hand, long scepter in left hand, CTEΦAN monogram (stephanephoros, magistrate title) in lower left field; from Shawn Caza former diplomat, author of A Handbook of Late Roman Coins (Spink, 2021), collection assembled during postings and international travel; ex Dorotheum Vienna; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


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


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., Lampsacus, Mysia

|Lampsakos|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.,| |Lampsacus,| |Mysia||AE| |22|
In 45 B.C., Cleopatra and Caesarion, his son by her, were living in Caesar's villa on the Tiber just outside of Rome. Caesar and Cleopatra never married. Caesar was already married. Also, Roman law only recognized marriages between two Roman citizens. Romans did not consider their relationship adultery - a husband was free to have sex with slaves or unmarried women.

The reverse depicts the ritual founding of a Roman colony at Lampsacus, c. 45 B.C. Lampsacus and Parium were founded as twin colonies by Julius Caesar for his retiring veterans. The colony at Lampsacus disappeared after the city was occupied by Sextus Pompey.
RP86127. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 2268 (14 spec., 2 with this c/m), SNG BnF 1260, Waddington 930 (Parium), Imhoof-Blumer MG p. 252, 127 (Parion), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Mn -, aF, centered, green patina, rough, weight 7.935 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, c. 45 B.C.; obverse C G I L (Colonia Gemella(?) Iulia Lampsacus), laureate head of Julius Caesar right; countermark: ΛAE monogram in a rectangular punch; reverse priest plowing with two oxen, marking the pomerium (sacred boundary marking the foundation of a new Roman colony), Q LVCRETIO / L PONTIO in two lines above, II VIR before bull's forelegs, M TVRIO LEG in exergue; very rare; SOLD


Augustus and Agrippa, 16 - 15 B.C., Colonia Augusta Nemausus, Gallia Narbonensis

|Roman| |Gaul|, |Augustus| |and| |Agrippa,| |16| |-| |15| |B.C.,| |Colonia| |Augusta| |Nemausus,| |Gallia| |Narbonensis||dupondius|
The reverse commemorates the conquest of Egypt in 30 B.C. and was probably issued in connection with Augustus' visit to Gaul in 16 B.C.
RP60688. Bronze dupondius, SNG Cop 698 (same c/m), RIC I 155, SRCV I 1729, RPC I 523; c/m: Martini Locarno 10; Howgego -; Pangerl -, F, weight 11.595 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 315o, Nemausus (Nimes, France) mint, 16 - 15 B.C.; obverse IMP DIVI F, back to back heads of Augustus and Agrippa, Augustus bare head right, Agrippa left wearing a rostral crown, hook shaped punch, c/m: D palm D in circular incuse; reverse COL NEM, crocodile right chained to a palm, wreath with long ties above, two palm fronds below; SOLD


Kingdom of Commagene, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 38 - 72 A.D.

|Other| |Kingdoms|, |Kingdom| |of| |Commagene,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |38| |-| |72| |A.D.||AE| |27|
Commagene was located in modern south-central Turkey, with its capital at Samosata (the site is now flooded by the Atatrk Dam). Antiochus IV was an ally of Rome against Parthia and the last royal descendant of Seleucus. He ruled with his half-sister and queen, Iotape. He was deprived of his kingdom after accusations that he was conspiring against Rome. He retired to Rome where he was treated with great respect for the remainder of his life.
GB83137. Bronze AE 27, beveled edge flan; RPC I 3854; BMC Galatia p. 106, 1 ff.; Nercessian AC 199; SNG Cop VII 1; countermark: Howgego 373 (after 69 A.D.), VF, weight 12.418 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Samosata (site flooded by the Atatrk Dam) mint, 38 - 72 A.D.; obverse BANTΣIΛΕYΣ MΕ ANTIOXOΣ ΕΠI, beardless diademed bust right, countermark: anchor flanked by A-N; reverse KOMMAΓ-HNΩN, scorpion and inscription all within laurel wreath, linear boarder inside wreath, boarder of dots outside wreath; SOLD


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hypaepa, Lydia

|Hypaepa|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Hypaepa,| |Lydia||AE| |22|
Hypaepa, Lydia was on the route between Sardis and Ephesus, 42 miles from Ephesus, near the north bank of the Cayster River. The ruins are close to the present-day village of Gunluce, Turkey, 4 km NW of Odemis. According to myth, the women of Hypaepa received the gift of a form of dance from Aphrodite and Hypaepa was the home of Arachne before she became a spider. The Persian goddess Anahita, later called Artemis Anaitis, was worshiped as at Hypaepa. An inscription from the synagogue of Sardis indicates a Jewish community in Hypaepa. In 88 B.C., Hypaepa rebelled against Mithridates VI of Pontus and was severely punished. Under Tiberius it was a candidate to receive a temple dedicated to worship of the emperor, but was rejected as too insignificant. To judge by the number of Byzantine churches that it contained, Hypaepa flourished under the Byzantine Empire.
RS43700. Bronze AE 22, BMC Lydia p. 117, 51 var. (bare-headed); cf. SNGvA 2968 (AE 32); Lindgren A744C (AE30, arched); SNG Cop -; SNG UK -; SNG Munchen -, Fine, green patina, weight 4.984 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, Hypaepa (near Gnlce, Turkey) mint, 199 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANTYP ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, Artemis cultus-statue countermark; reverse YΠAΠHNΩN, tetrastyle temple containing statue of Tyche holding rudder and cornucopia; variant unpublished in references examined; very rare; SOLD


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Eumenia, Phrygia

|Eumeneia|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Eumenia,| |Phrygia||AE| |21|
Eumenia was renamed Fulvia, for Mark Antony's wife, probably on the occasion of Antony's visit east in 41 B.C. The city issued coins with Fulvia's portrait. She was the first non-mythological woman on Roman coins. Fulvia died in 40 B.C. and the name soon reverted to Eumenia.
RP55043. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 3149, SNG Cop 394, BMC Phrygia p. 217, 41, F, weight 3.672 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Eumeneia (near Civril, Turkey) mint, c. 54 - 55 A.D.; obverse NΕPΩN ΣΕBANTΣTOΣ, bare head right; obscure countermark; reverse ΕYMΕNΕΩN IOYΛIOΣ KΛΕΩN APXIΕPΕYΣ AΣIAΣ, Apollo standing left, raven in right, labrys over shoulder in left; struck by Julius Cleon, archiereus of Asia; 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 Monday, September 25, 2023.
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