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

Countermarked Byzantine 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.

Byzantine Empire, Maurice Tiberius, 13 August 582 - 22 November 602 A.D.; Palestina Prima Countermark

|Maurice| |Tiberius|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Maurice| |Tiberius,| |13| |August| |582| |-| |22| |November| |602| |A.D.;| |Palestina| |Prima| |Countermark||follis|
Due to new finds around Caesarea Maritima, Wolfgang Schulze re-attributed this countermark from Egypt to Palestina Prima. David Woods proposes that "Nicetas, the cousin of the future emperor Heraclius, ordered the countermarking of these coins as he advanced from Egypt into Palestine during the summer of 610 in order to signal the change of government from Phocas to the Heraclii." Another possible date is after the recovery of Syria from the Persians in 628. Schulze dates it to the Arab siege of 637 - 640 A.D., to which Caesarea succumbed. This is only the third example known of this eagle countermark applied to a coin of Maurice Tiberius. Woods identified the other examples, as "a careless accident."
SH77069. Bronze follis, Hahn MIB II 65b, DOC I 22 var. (no 4th officina), SBCV 494; for countermark see Schulze INR 2009, and Woods (Heraclius, Palestina Prima), countermark: VF, coin: aF, areas of corrosion, weight 11.287 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, coin c. 583 - 584, countermark c. 610 - 637; obverse DN mAV - RC P P AV, crowned bust facing, crown with cross and pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand, shield on left shoulder; reverse large M (40 nummi) between ANNO and II (regnal year 2), ∆ (4th officina) below, CON in exergue; countermark: in exergue, eagle standing facing, head right, wings raised, in a round punch; from The Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection (found at Caesarea, Israel); very rare countermark; SOLD


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class C, Michael IV, 12 April 1034 - 10 December 1041 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |C,| |Michael| |IV,| |12| |April| |1034| |-| |10| |December| |1041| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The obverse countermark is attributed in Mardin Hoard to Izz al-din Abu Bakr al Dubaysi (541-551 A.H. / 1146 - 1156 A.D.), al-Jazirah mint.

The reverse countermark is a common formula which means "just" or "equitable" and was used on Islamic coins from an early date to indicate they are of an approved weight standard or fineness. It is attributed with doubt as perhaps Artuqid, a mint somewhere in the province of Diyar Bakr.

BZ36226. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class C; DOC III-2 C.1, SBCV 1825, Ratto 1998, Sommer 40.5; obverse c/m Mardin Hoard 13; reverse c/m Mardin Hoard 10?, Fair, weight 5.241 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1034 - 1041 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (romanized Hebrew - God is with us), three-quarter length figure of Christ standing facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left, IC-XC; al-Jazirah countermark; reverse Jeweled cross with pellet at each extremity, in the angles IC - XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ Conquers); Artuqid? countermark; ex Mardin Hoard; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Anastasi, M. Monete Bizantine di Sicilia. (2009).
Bellinger, A. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Bendall, S. "An 'Eagle' Countermark on Sixth-century Byzantine Coins" in NC 136 (1976), p. 230.
Berk, H. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Evans, J. "Heraclian Countermarks on Coins Found in Caesarea" in AJN 5 (1993), pp. 97 - 104, and AJN 6 (1994), pp. 102 - 104.
Goehring, J. "Two New Examples of the Byzantine 'Eagle' Countermark" in NC 143 (1983), pp. 218 - 220.
Lampinen, P. "Countermarked Byzantine| Folles and the Identification of a New Imperial Family Member" in Caesarea| Papers 2. (Portsmouth, 1999), pp. 399-404.
Lowick, N., S. Bendall, & P. Whitting. The Mardin Hoard, Islamic Countermarks on Byzantine Folles. (London, 1977).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Schulze|, W. "The Byzantine 'Eagle' Countermark - Re-attributed from Egypt to Palestine" in INR volume 4 (2009), pp. 113 - 120.
Schulze|, W. & T. Goodwin|. Countermarking in Seventh Century Syria|. (Supplement to ONS Newsletter, 183). (2005).
Schulze|, W., I. Schulze|, & W. Leimenstoll. "Heraclian countermarks on Byzantine| copper coins in seventh century Syria" in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (2006), pp. 1-27.
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Mnzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Mnzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Woods, D. "The Byzantine Eagle Countermark: Creating a Pseudo-Consular Coinage under the Heraclii" in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 55 (2015), pp. 927 - 945.
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

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