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

Countermarked Ancient Greek 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.

Macedonian Kingdom, Nikokreon, King of Salamis, Cyprus, c. 331 - 310 B.C., Ptolemaic Eagle Countermark

|Cyprus|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Nikokreon,| |King| |of| |Salamis,| |Cyprus,| |c.| |331| |-| |310| |B.C.,| |Ptolemaic| |Eagle| |Countermark||half| |unit|NEW
This coin was struck by Nikokreon, the king of Salamis, in the name of King Alexander the Great. In the war between Antigonos and Ptolemy in 315 B.C., Nikokreon supported Ptolemy and was rewarded by being placed in control of all Cyprus. The eagle countermark on this coin is apparently unpublished and we were unable to find another example. The eagle was a symbol of Zeus and of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
GB110026. Bronze half unit, Price 3158, Liampi Chronologie 170 - 192, SNG Cop II 1125, HGC 3.1 958b (S), Mller Alexander; countermark: apparently unpublished, F, green patina, mild porosity; countermark: VF, weight 4.143 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse Macedonian shield, facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center, five double crescents and five groups of five pellets alternating around; reverse crested Macedonian officer's helmet facing, flanked by B - A (BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY - King Alexander), kerykeion (control) lower left, countermark: eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, in a c. 4.5mm oval punch; extremely rare countermark; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Antioch, Roman Provincial Syria, Fall 48 - Spring 47 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

|Roman| |Syria|, |Antioch,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Syria,| |Fall| |48| |-| |Spring| |47| |B.C.,| |Cleopatra| |Countermark||AE| |24|NEW
From McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch, p. 74, note 25: "The coins of this year (Pompeian Era 19 = 48/7 BC) and of Year 3 of the Caesarean Era are frequently seen with a countermark on the obverse, which was previously described as "head of Apollo r." in an oval. As discussed in the text, it now seems likely that the countermark portrays Cleopatra, and was used to mark coins circulating in the Syro-Phoenician territories, which were given to her by Mark Antony."
RP110050. Bronze AE 24, McAlee 43; RPC I 4216; BMC Galatia p. 155, 35; Cohen DCA 384; HGC 9 1366; SNG Cop -; countermark: McAlee p. 74, note 25, VF/F, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 12.383 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, fall 48 - spring 47 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust of Cleopatra right in an incuse oval; reverse ANTIOXEΩN THΣ MHTPOΠOΛEΩΣ, Zeus Nicephorus enthroned left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs, Nike offering wreath in his extended right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, fulmen (thunderbolt) above, cornucopia (control symbol) inner left, IΘ (Pompeian Era year 19) below, all within laurel wreath; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00 ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Philippi, Macedonia

|Philippi|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.,| |Philippi,| |Macedonia||AE| |19|NEW
Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the assassins of Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi in the plain to the west of the city in October 42 B.C. They released some of their veteran soldiers, probably from legion XXVIII, to colonized the city, which was refounded as Colonia Victrix Philippensium. In 30 BC, Octavian became Roman emperor, reorganized the colony, and established more settlers there, veterans possibly from the Praetorian Guard and other Italians. The city was renamed Colonia Iulia Philippensis, and then Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis after January, 27 BC, when Octavian received the title Augustus from the Roman Senate.
RP90246. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 1656; Varbanov III 3770 (R4); BMC Mysia p. 103, 86 (Parium); SNG Cop IV 282 (same); c/m: Howgego -, aVF, green patina, small edge split, obv. flattened opposite c/m, weight 4.981 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Philippi (near Filippoi, Greece) mint, 16 Jan 27 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse AVG, bare head right; reverse two priests with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; countermark: HPA in a rectangular 9.0x4.5mm punch; ex Classical Numismatic Group, ex Richard Baker Collection; rare countermark; $90.00 (93.60)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||AE| |28|
The obverse legend abbreviates AYTOKPATΩP KAICAP ΘEOY TPAIANOY ΠAPQIKOY YIOC ΘEOY NEPOYA YIΩNOC TRAIANOC A∆PIANOC CEBACTOC - The Emperor Caesar, son of the divine Trajan Parthicus, grandson of the divine Nerva, Hadrian Augustus.

The countermark with laurel-branch with four leaves in a rectangular punch, 4.5 x 6 mm, is Howgego 378 (69 pcs). The countermark was applied before 132 - 135 A.D.
RY93148. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 536b (scarce); RPC Online III 3694 (13 specs.); BMC Galatia p. 186, 299; SNG Fitz 5890; Butcher 231; c/m: Howgego 378, F, oval flan, clear countermark, legend weak/off flan, rev. flattened opposite c/m, green and red encrustations, weight 14.595 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 11 Aug 117 - c. 132 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC Θ TP Π YI Θ NEP YIW TP A∆PIANOC CEBAC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; countermark: laurel branch with four leaves within rectangular incuse punch; reverse S C (senatus consulto), Γ∆ below, all within laurel wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00







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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).
Bauslaugh, R. "Cistophoric Countermarks and the Monetary System of Eumenes II" in NC 1990.
Calciati, R. Corpus Nummorum Siculorum. The Bronze Coinage. (Milan, 1983 - 1987).
Davesne, A. "Une contremarque au trident sur certaines monnaies de Ptolme II Philadelphe" in BSFN 42/2 (Feb. 1987), pp. 145-149.
Elayi, J. & A. Lemaire. Graffiti et contremarques ouest-smitiques sur les monnaies grecques et proche-orientales. Glaux 13. (Milan, 1998).
Howgego, C.J. Greek Imperial Countermarks. RNS, Special Publication No. 17. (London, 1985).
Martini, R. Nomismata 6: The Pangerl Collection Catalog and Commentary on the Countermarked Roman Imperial Coins. (Milan, 2003).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Rosenberger, M. The Rosenberger Israel Collection Vol. IV: The Coinage of Eastern Palestine, and legionary countermarks, Bar-Kochba overstruck. (Jerusalem, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2: Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Seyrig, H. "Monnaies contremarques en Syrie," in Syria 35 (1958), pp. 187-197.
Thompson, M. "A Countermarked Hoard from Bykekmece" in ANSMN VI (New York, 1954), pp. 11 - 34, pls. I - VII.
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).
Waggoner, N. "The Propontis Hoard" in NR XII, 1979, pp. 7 - 29, plates I - X.
Werz, U. Gegenstempel auf Reichs - und Provinzialprgungen der rmischen Kaiserzeit - Katalog der Sammlung Dr. Konrad Bech, Mainz. (Speyer, 2004).

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