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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.

Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D., Cohors II Italica Civium Romanorum Countermark

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.,| |Cohors| |II| |Italica| |Civium| |Romanorum| |Countermark||prutah|
Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort...(Acts 10:1).

Spijkermann was the first to publish a countermarked prutah, also a Valerius Gratus coin, in 1963. Lnnqvist published the first detailed study, "New Vistas on the Countermarked Coins of the Roman Prefects of Judaea" in INJ 12. Kogon published an update, "Countermarks on Small Judean Coins" in INR 7, identifying 47 known specimens of countermarked prutah of all types. Both papers are available online. Lnnqvist interpreted CΠ in the countermark as an abbreviation for the Greek word σπειρα, referring to a Roman legionary tactical unit, a cohors. The use of CΠ referring to a cohors is also known from an inscription. He suggested that the countermarks were applied in 36 - 37 A.D. in Jerusalem to mark the coins as pay for the soldiers of the cohors II Italica civium Romanorum.
JD111613. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6369a (same c/m); RPC I 4966.8-11 (same); Meshorer TJC 330 (same); countermark: Kogon 3b, Howgego GIC 386, coin: Fair, countermark: VF, weight 2.195 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 24 - 25 A.D., c/m: 36 - 37/41 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - IA (year 11 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; countermark: palm frond flanked by C-Π within 8mm circular punch; from the collection of a Texas clergyman, ex J. P. Fontanille Collection (2016); rare countermark; $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1290.00

Lot of 13 Countermarked Ancient Bronze Coins, c. 350 B.C. - 450 A.D.

|Countermarked|, |Lot| |of| |13| |Countermarked| |Ancient| |Bronze| |Coins,| |c.| |350| |B.C.| |-| |450| |A.D.||Lot|
LT75954. Bronze Lot, 13 countermarked ancient bronze coins, 14.6 - 27.3mm diameter, nice countermarks - the best of which are probably visible in the photo; the actual coins in photograph; not researched by FORVM, unattributed, not tags or flip, as is, no returns; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Gadara, Decapolis

|Judaea| |&| |Palestine|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Gadara,| |Decapolis||AE| |23|
A round countermark with a head right is common on this type and is identified usually attributed as Howgego 206. Howgego identifies the head as Tyche but notes it may be male and may appear turreted due to an undertype. RPC II notes the heads are not all the same. We believe some do look very much like Tyche-Fortuna and some look very male. This one looks male.
GB111784. Bronze AE 23, Spijkerman 26a (c/m male bust); RPC II 2093; SNG ANS 6 1300; Rosenberger 32; Sofaer 24; countermark: Howgego 206, gF, dark green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, obv. countermark, weight 11.134 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Decapolis, Gadara (Um Qais, Jordan) mint, 71 - 72 A.D.; obverse OYECΠACIANOC KAICAP (clockwise from upper right), laureate head right; countermark: male(?) head right in a round punch; reverse ΓAΔAPA (clockwise on right), Tyche standing left, wreath in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, date LEΛP (year 135) horizontal center left; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 479; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00

Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 164 - 27 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Tarsos,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |164| |-| |27| |B.C.||AE| |20|
In ancient Greek mythology, Tyche was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city. She wears a mural crown (a crown that resembles the walls of the city).
GB110118. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG Levante 918 ff.; SNG BnF 1285 ff.; SNG Cop 326 f.; SNGvA 5973; BMC Lycaonia p. 181, 115 (various controls), aF, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, c/m: VF, weight 5.513 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 164 - 27 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Tyche right, hair rolled, two strands with loose curls down back of neck, monogram (control) behind; countermark: bow in bowcase in a rectangular punch; reverse Zeus seated left on throne with high back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, long scepter topped with an eagle in right hand, TAPΣEΩN downward on left, two monograms (controls) on right; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00

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

|Other| |Phrygia|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Acmoneia,| |Phrygia||AE| |19|
Acmoneia was located on a small tributary of the river Sindros, about six miles west of Diocleia. Struck by magistrate L. Servinius Capito, third issue. There was a local cult of Asklepios
RP111812. Bronze AE 19, SNGvA 3373 (same c/m); RPC Online I 3176.25 (same); BMC Phrygia 43; SNG Cop 29; c/m: Howgego 241 (12 pcs), aF, green patina, scratches, burnished, porous, weight 4.573 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Akmonia (Ahat Koyu, Turkey) mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NEPWNA CEBACTON AKMONEIC, laureate head right with aegis, crescent above, winged caduceus below; countermark: Asklepios standing, holding serpent-encircled staff, in rectangular punch, 4.5 x 9 mm; reverse CEPOYHNIOY KAΠITWNOC KAI IOYΛIAC CEOYHPAC, Zeus enthroned left, phiale extended in right, resting left on long scepter vertical, owl under throne, EΠI APX TO Γ right; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00



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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