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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Countermarked||View Options:  |  |  |   

Countermarked Ancient 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.

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|
Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Theme of Chaldia (Trebizond), Theodore Gabras, c. 1075 - 1126 A.D., In the Name of Alexius I

|Empire| |of| |Trebizond|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Theme| |of| |Chaldia| |(Trebizond),| |Theodore| |Gabras,| |c.| |1075| |-| |1126| |A.D.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |Alexius| |I||follis|
The general Theodore Gabras captured Trebizond and ruled it and the theme of Chaldia as a virtually autonomous state (c. 1081 - 1098). He was celebrated for his martial exploits, and was later venerated as a saint in the region. Following the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the region became the center of the new Empire of Trebizond which survived until falling to the Ottomans in 1461.
BZ95867. Bronze follis, Bendall Trebizond (NC 77), p. 133, issue 13B & pl. 7, 18; DOC IV p. 433, 13b; Schlumberger pl. ii, 5; Hendy -; Wroth BMC -; Ratto -, gF, overstruck on Michael IV follis, dark brown patina, obverse off center, light marks, weight 6.735 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Trebizond (Trabzon, Turkey) mint, c. 1092 - 1098 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, bearded and nimbate, wearing tunic and himation, Gospels in right hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse Latin cross on three steps, a globule at the end of each arm, AΛBP (Greek: AΛεξιω Bασιλευϖ Pωμαιων - Alexius king of the Romans) in angles, Arab countermark 'Lillah" (For Allah); rare; $720.00 SALE |PRICE| $648.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $670.00 SALE |PRICE| $603.00
 


Lysimacheia, Thracian Chersonese, c. 225 - 198 B.C.

|Lysimacheia|, |Lysimacheia,| |Thracian| |Chersonese,| |c.| |225| |-| |198| |B.C.||AE| |23|
Lysimachia was built by Lysimachus in 309 B.C. On the isthmus, it commanded the road from Sestos and mainland Thrace. To obtain inhabitants for his new city, Lysimachus destroyed neighboring Cardia and settled the inhabitants of it and other Chersonese cities here. Lysimachus made Lysimachia the capital of his kingdom and it must have rapidly risen to great splendor and prosperity.

Almost every example of this type known to Forum has the lion head countermark on the obverse.
CM97507. Bronze AE 23, SNG Cop 904 (same countermarks); BMC Thrace p. 195, 3; HGC 3.2 1495 (R1), aVF, dark patina with lighter blue highlighting, overstruck(?), weight 8.961 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antiochia ad Maeandrum (near Basaran Turkey) mint, c. 225 - 199/8 B.C.; obverse head of young Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; countermark: lion's head facing with mane around in round punch; reverse ΛYΣIMA-XEΩN, Artemis standing right, wearing short chiton, quiver and bow over shoulder, holding long torch (two torches?) with both hands; countermark: head of grain in oval punch; from the Michael Arslan Collection; rare; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
 


Roman Republic, Anonymous, Second Punic War, 211 - 206 B.C.

|211-100| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |Second| |Punic| |War,| |211| |-| |206| |B.C.||as|
Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions. Janus is believed to be one of the few major deities in Roman mythology that does not have a Greek origin or counterpart.
RR88221. Bronze as, Crawford 56/2, Sydenham 143, BMCRR Rome 373 ff., SRCV I 627, F, green patina, crack, porous, weight 29.386 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 211 - 206 B.C.; obverse laureate head of bearded Janus, I (mark of value) above, countermark: head right in round punch; reverse war galley prow right, I (mark of value) above, ROMA in exergue; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.||tetrobol|
Lorber CPE B503b and Svoronos 1149 are the same as Lorber CPE B503a and Svoronos 1148 but with the addition of the cornucopia countermark. Lorber CPE B503c has an additional countermark with the Greek letters ∆E.

Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria.
GP94526. Bronze tetrobol, Lorber CPE B503b; Svoronos 1149; SNG Cop 211; Weiser 140; BMC Ptolemies p. 75, 76; Hosking 42; SNG Milan 230 (all with same c/m), aVF, dark patina, rough, corrosion, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 42.143 g, maximum diameter 37.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 219 - 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head turned back right, ΣE monogram between eagle's legs; countermark: cornucopia in a rectangular punch; from The Ray Nouri Collection; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50
 


Alexandreia Troas, Troas, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Troas|, |Alexandreia| |Troas,| |Troas,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |19|
Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
CM89990. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 96 (same countermarks); cf. BMC Troas p. 12, 29 ff.; SNG Munchen 92 f.; SNGvA 1461, F, scattered porosity, edge crack, clear countermarks, weight 3.948 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo facing; c/m: lyre; reverse lyre, AΛEΞAN (or similar) around), all within laurel wreath; c/m: star of six rays around a central pellet within a 7.5mm round punch; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
 


Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis,| |Coele| |Syria,| |Ptolemaios,| |85| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |20|
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 


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|NEW
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; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.||tetrobol|
Lorber CPE B503b and Svoronos 1149 are the same as Lorber CPE B503a and Svoronos 1148 but with the addition of the cornucopia countermark. Lorber CPE B503c has an additional countermark with the Greek letters ∆E.

Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria.
GP94531. Bronze tetrobol, Lorber CPE B503b; Svoronos 1149; SNG Cop 211; Weiser 140; BMC Ptolemies p. 75, 76; Hosking 42; SNG Milan 230 (all with same c/m), F, areas rough from corrosion, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 37.724 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 219 - 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head turned back right, ΣE monogram between eagle's legs, rectangular cornucopia countermark; from The Ray Nouri Collection; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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