My Favorite Coins

Heraclius, 610-641 AD, AE follis
While Byzantine coins are not my specialty, this one made my list of favorites by going the extra mile and being mysterious. Many Byzantine coins were overstruck on earlier coins so that is nothing special. This one is a type of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine of the Constantinople mint overstruck on a follis of Phocas also of Constantinople. I have turned the obverse image to be right side up for Phocas so the uppermost strike top is now to the right. I enjoy overstrikes where the types can be distinguished. What makes this one unusual is the bold TIB at the obverse left just next to the smaller OCAS of Phocas. This would seem to indicate the coin started out as an issue of Tiberius Constantine but I have no explanation of how the under-undertype could be so bold in just this small area without being erased by the Phocas or Heraclius dies. The TIB looks more like a countermark than an undertype. The mystery of how the design elements worked together to form this coin is the greatest part of its appeal to me and explains how it crept onto my list of favorites.

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(c) 2013 Doug Smith