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

Overstruck Coins

Although most ancient coins were struck on newly made flans, it was not unusual for a coin to be struck with an older coin used at the "blank" flan. Overstrikes are important because we can firmly establish the overtype is a later issue than the undertype. Overstrikes have been used to determine not just the sequence of issues but have also been used to more precisely date issues and, in some cases, to establish the order of rulers' reigns. For some ancient realms, numismatics provides the primary or only clues of who ruled and when they ruled. Sometimes overstrikes were done to recycle worn or obsolete coins. The most interesting overstrikes were done for political reasons. For example during the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt against Rome, the rebels struck their own silver zuz over Roman denarii, thus obliterating symbols of the hated Romans and replacing them with their own.


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86356. Bronze follis, DOC II part 2, 16, Morrisson BnF 9/Ax/AE/01, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, VF, rev. a little off center cutting off part of mintmark, scratches, overstruck, weight 11.035 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $540.00 (Ä475.20)


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86357. Bronze follis, DOC II 16, Morrisson BnF 9/Ax/AE/02, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, aF, uneven strike, a little off center, scratches, overstruck, edge cracks, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse Large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $360.00 (Ä316.80)


Byzantine Empire, Romanus IV, 1 January 1068 - 19 August 1071 A.D.

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Based on seal inscriptions, the letters on the reverse have been interpreted to abbreviate, Σταυρε βοηθει Pwmavov ∆εσποτην (O Cross, aid our ruler Romanus).
BZ91207. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, 8, Morrisson BnF 1, Wroth BMC 9, Ratto 2030, Sommer 54.4, SBCV 1866, VF, well centered, nice portrait of Jesus, attractive toned copper surfaces, overstruck with strong undertype effects, weight 6.148 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1 Jan 1068 - 19 Aug 1071 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, wears pallium and colobium, Gospels in both hands, dotted cross behind head, IC - XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ Conquers) flanking in two divided lines across the field; reverse cross with X at center and globus and pellets at the end of each arm, pellets and points at base, C - R / P - ∆ in the angles; ex Forum (2016); $175.00 (Ä154.00)


Byzantine Empire, Michael VII Ducas, 24 October 1071 - 24 March 1078 A.D.

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Sear notes the type is frequently overstruck on folles of Romanus IV, SBCV 1866.
BZ88934. Bronze follis, DOC III - 2 14b; Wroth BMC 26; Ratto 2042; Morrisson BnF 55/Cp/AE/9; Berk 958; Sommer 55.8; SBCV 1878, EF, dark patina, overstruck, part of edge ragged, weight 6.561 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, obverse bust of Christ facing, cross behind head, wearing pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left ornamented with nine pellets, large star right and left, IC - XC above arms of cross; reverse + MIXAHΛ RACIΛ O ∆, bearded bust facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum and globus cruciger; $170.00 (Ä149.60)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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In 305 B.C., Demetrius Poliorcetes besieged Salamis and defeated Ptolemy's navy off the coast. Demetrius offered lenient terms and Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, surrendered the city. After this victory, Demetrius declared himself a King. Ptolemy also declared himself a King. This coin has the usual Ptolemaic hemiobol types, with the title BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) visible. It is overstruck over a bronze of Demetrios Poliorketes with helmeted head of Demetrios Poliorketes right obverse (under the reverse of our coin) and prow reverse (under our obverse). Ptolemy struck this coin at Salamis after he re-took Cyprus in 294 B.C. Both Ptolemy I and Demetrios died in 283 B.C. Demetrios died in captivity, imprisoned by Seleukos.
GP87139. Bronze hemiobol, SNG Cop 43 (X, also overstruck, perhaps with same undertype); Svoronos 163; BMC Ptolemies 8, 69; under-type: Newell 20; SRCV II 6775, VF, nice green patina, strong undertype effects, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 294 B.C.; obverse deified head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon, hair long; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left, head left, wings open, X or (AX monogram) over helmet in left field; extremely rare; $160.00 (Ä140.80)


Lysimacheia, Thracian Chersonese, c. 245 - 225 B.C., Overstruck on Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochos II, 261 - 241 B.C.

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Undertype: Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochos II, 261 - 241 B.C., cf. Houghton-Lorber 522, Sardes(?) mint, obverse: diademed head of Apollo right; reverse: tripod over anchor, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left.
RP89880. Bronze AE 18, MacDonald Overstrikes 91 (same undertype); Asilbeyli Hoard, group 8, 95 (same); SNG Cop 914; BMC Thrace p. 195, 4, aVF+, nice green patina, weak strike leaving strong undertype on reverse, earthen deposits, weight 4.154 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Lysimachia (Eksemil, Turkey) mint, c. 245 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse Nike standing left, raising wreath in right hand, ΛYΣIMAXEΩN starting downward on left and ending below, monograms (controls) on right; undertype: obverse - head of Apollo right; $160.00 (Ä140.80)


Lysimacheia, Thracian Chersonese, c. 245 - 225 B.C.

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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.
RP89897. Bronze AE 17, HGC 3 1500 (S), SNG Cop 914; cf. BMC Thrace p. 195, 4, gVF, green patina, overstruck, weight 4.058 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Lysimachia (Eksemil, Turkey) mint, c. 245 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion's scalp headdress; reverse ΛYΣIMA,XEΩN (downward on left, ending in exergue), Nike standing left, raising wreath in right hand, monograms(?) right; $60.00 (Ä52.80)


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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Heraclius came to power through revolt against the tyrannical Focas. He defeated the Sassanid Persians, but this only facilitated Arab conquest of Persia and the eastern Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines lost Syria and Palestine before Heraclius died and Egypt fell soon after.
BZ68100. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 243; Anastasi 66; Wroth BMC 398; Tolstoi 315; Ratto 1450; Morrisson BnF 10/Sy/AE/35; SBCV 884; Sommer 11.115, F, overstruck, weight 5.875 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 632 - 11 Jan 641 A.D.; obverse facing busts of long-bearded Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine, wearing short beard, cross above, all within large round countermark; traces of undertype; reverse Heraclian monogram and SCs within large round countermark; traces of undertype; $36.00 (Ä31.68)







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REFERENCES|

Curtis, C. "Colin Kraay's Explanation of the Phenomenon of Overstruck Reverses on Roman Imperial and Provincial Coins" in the Journal of Ancient Numismatics, Vol. 1, Issue 2, June/July 2008.
de Callataˇ, F. "A Coin with the Legend ΘPAKΩN Overstruck on an Athenian Stephanophoros Tetradrachm of AΠEΛΛIKΩN-ΓOPΓIAΣ (88/7 BC) and its Consequences for the Thasian Type Coinage" in Studies Prokopov.
Emmons, B. "The overstruck coinage of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 6 (1954), pp. 69 - 83.
MacDonald, D. Overstruck Greek Coins: Studies in Greek Chronology and Monetary Theory. (Atlanta, 2008).
Rosenberger, M. The Rosenberger Israel Collection Volume IV: The Coinage of Eastern Palestine, and legionary countermarks, Bar-Kochba overstruck. (Jerusalem, 1978).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Stannard, C. "Overstrikes and imitative coinages in central Italy in the late Republic," in Essays Hirsch. (1998)

Catalog current as of Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
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Overstruck