A Couple Neat Countermarks

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by SeptimusT, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    Lately I've been buying and flipping some lots to acquire select coins that I like, and came across a couple neat countermarks in one of them. I don't have access to any references on them, but they are all pretty interesting types.


    The best is certainly this one, which looks to be some sort of Augustus undertype. The same set of countermarks is known to appear on coins of Augustus from Ephesus, so that could be the case here as well. The countermarks on the obverse are TICA, AVG and, although indistinct on my example, a helmet. The most interesting one, however, is the reverse, which shows a dolphin right within an incuse rectangle, with a dot within circle on the bottom left. It's a very attractive and interesting countermark to me, even if the dolphin's head didn't quite strike.


    The other countermark appears on what I suspect may be an issue of Tiberius from Carthago Nova (the shape of the busts is similar, and I can just make out the letters 'IN' on the bottom right side of the reverse) and has a countermark which looks, to my eyes at least, to be a helmeted face looking left within an incuse circle. Could this be Mars or Minerva, or is it something more generic? At any rate, it's soaking in distilled water at the moment to deal with the tiny patches of bronze disease on the reverse.

    If you've seen (or own) any of these countermarks or their undertypes, post them here, along with any other countermarks you count as interesting.
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  3. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    I agree, your presumed Augustus undertype example is great and the dolphin mark is particularly interesting and unusual. Does anyone know what the dolphin mark represents or what city applied it? I could see myself building a countermark collection in the future, some can be very interesting.

    Not roman, but my best countermark is this, which I believe is from Temnos in Aeolis. I collect the coins of Temnos, and randomly scrolled past this "unknown" and immediately recognized it, as the 6mm stamp is basically a perfect miniature of the standard reverse on their bronzes. As a bonus it's well centered on the smooth slug of a coin. I don't know if it's described in a reference somewhere but I couldn't find any other examples, and I have no idea what the undertype is. I was very excited to stumble across it and give it a home with it's siblings.
    temnos1.JPG temnos2.JPG
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  4. jamesicus

    jamesicus Well-Known Member

    I really enjoy Countermarked coins - they have such great historical association. @Marsyas Mike has a great deal of interest in them also - I hope he chimes in with a contribution to this thread. Here are some Countermarked coins that have association with the British Invasion of Claudius:



    Pangeri 85d, (30mm, 15.2gm)
    Countermarked DV (denoting half value) on obverse.

    Enlargement of DV countermark:


    This is a devaluation countermark indicating this coin is re-valued as a Dupondius (half value) due to its very low weight. Note edge chisel mark on the obverse at approx. 3 o'clock which is always present on DV countermarked coins.



    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 120, 41-45AD (38mm, 29.2gm)
    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Countermarked PROB
    Mattingly note - Cmk. in oblong incuse in front of neck and face; end of legend obliterated
    Reverse depiction: Civic Oak Wreath
    Inscription in four lines:

    EX SC
    O B
    C I V E S

    (within Civic Oak Wreath)

    Enlargement of PROB countermark:


    PROB (Probatum = approved) countermark. I believe this to be an irregular issue coin (struck from locally made unofficial dies). Note the flattened and bulged area on the reverse resulting from the very heavily struck countermark on the obverse which was carelessly positioned almost off the flan. The inscriptional lettering on the reverse is somewhat uneven and not very well formed.


    Agrippa Obverse & Neptune reverse As
    BMCRE, Vol I, Tiberius, No. 168 (RIC, Vol I, No. 58)
    Plate 26
    Reverse: Claudius Countermark TIAV (A and V ligatured) in oblong incuse over head of Neptune

    "In hand" enlargement of countermark:

    Neptune reverse
    As, BMCRE, Vol I, Tiberius, No. 168 (RIC, Vol I, No. 58)
    Plate 26
    Reverse: Claudius Countermark TIAV in oblong incuse over head of Neptune

    Mattingly lists TIAV as the usual Countermark employed by Claudius for these coins. They were issued for extended circulation in Britain by Claudius following his Victory there. These were the common Roman denominations used as legal tender in Britannia - evidently for a very long time, for many are found in very worn condition.


    Evidently Nero also Countermarked and issued Claudius aes coinage in order to extend the supply of money in Britain after the death of Claudius.


    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 123, 41-45AD (35mm, 22.3gm)
    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Countermarked NCAPR in oblong incuse rectangle behind head (unknown mark on head)
    Reverse depiction: Triumphal arch surmounted by equestrian statue of Nero Claudius Drusus

    Enlargement of NCAPR countermark:


    This coinage was usually countermarked NCAPR - which is interpreted different ways by collectors and researchers, with the most popular and frequently used interpretations being Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit or Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano. This coin was well struck and centered. Likewise, the countermark is well struck and correctly positioned. I believe this to be a coin produced at the Rome mint and subsequently re-issued for use in Britain.


    The Countermarks found on Ancient Roman coins - A brief Introduction - Richard Baker (PDF)

    Coinage of Britain during the Roman Occupation by Peter R. Thompson - The Ormskirk & West Lancashire Numismatic Society

    Museum of Countermarks on Roman Coins - Roman Coins & More - Roman Numismatic Gallery

    The copying of Bronze Coins of Claudius in Roman Britain (PDF) - Ph.D dissertation of Robert Frederick Ernest Kenyon, Institute of Archaeology, University College, London, April 1992 - a 535 page PDF document, which is a very comprehensive body of work that covers, in exhaustive detail, all aspects of this coinage including production, circulation, counter marking, etc.

    Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum (BMCRE), Volume 1 (Augustus to Vitellius) by Harold Mattingly - an online 1923 edition archived copy. The introductory chapters include a great deal of essential reference material relating to this coinage. I personally use my 1983 (revised) printed edition.
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  5. jamesicus

    jamesicus Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread @SeptimusT

    Here is a counter stamped coin that I came across:


    BMCRE, Vol. I, AUGUSTUS, AS, Rome, No. 141, 15 BC (27mm, 8.3gm)
    Obverse depiction: CIvic Wreath
    Four unknown Countermarks
    Reverse depiction: Large S C
    Inscription: L SVRDINIVS IIIVIR A A A F F
    unknown Countermark (to me)
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  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice countermarks. That OP has about the best Dolphin I've seen - most of them seem to be poorly-struck or worn. At least mine are.

    These TICAE countermarks are really becoming common on eBay - I am not getting the counterfeit vibe from them - they are too wretched, mostly, and too various in fabric, strike, style, etc. Somebody is digging these up by the ton.

    Here are some countermarks I got from a big batch of miscellaneous stuff - the DV countermark on the Claudius "Imitative" sestertius is at the upper left (see jamesicus' post above for a much nicer one). The others are AVG, TICAE, TICA types, with one Augustus P.P. (considerably scarcer):

    Lot CMs and Arabic AE Aug 2019 (CM1).jpg

    In the realm of coins only a countermark collector could love, here is a wretched Faustina II from Hieropolis I recently got.

    I've spent hours researching it. The incuse T is fairly common and I found a couple on this same host coin. The other one - which might be Nike - common on Hieropolis - might also be something else - other, nicer examples on the Web are uncertain. But I think I see a wing.

    CM - Faustina II Heiropolis Aug 2019x (0).jpg
    Faustina II Æ 26
    Hierapolis, Cilicia
    (c. 146-180 A.D.)

    [ΦAYCT]INA [CEBACTH], crescent over draped bust right, / IEΡ[OΠOΛITΩN] Helios stdg. left holding whip and raising right hand, torch in left field.
    RPC 4976; SNG Levante, 1586
    Obverse: Nike advancing left, [holding wreath], in oval (?)
    (6 x 7 mm). Howgego 258 or 260 (?).
    "Nike appeared as a type on coins of Macrinus...refer to his Victoria Parthica" (Howgego)
    Reverse: T in irregular punch. Howgego 686.
    (8.95 grams / 26 mm)
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  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Jamesicus, I am pretty sure what you have there is the P.P. countermark found on these moneyer As issues. They are usually found with the AVG and TICA/AE countermarks as well.

    Here is one of mine, with my attribution below (Pangerl 81a for the P.P.):

    CM - Augustus PP lot Aug 2019 (0).jpg

    Augustus Æ As / Dupondius
    Imperial Moneyer with Pannonia c/m (1st C. A.D.)

    AVGVSTVS [TRIB]VNIC [POTE]ST in three lines within
    oak wreath / [?]MSAN[?] around large SC.
    (Uncertain attribution; possible Balkan imitative)
    AVG, TICÆ obverse /
    P•P• and CAE reverse.

    M. Pangerl Collection
    75 (AVG),
    90 (TICÆ)
    81a (P.P.)
    77c (CAE)
    (7.16 grams / 25 mm)

    Here's another one I have, very crusty. With my efforts to "enhance" the countermarks:

    CM - PP on Augustus Moneyer As Dec 18 (0).jpg

    CM - PP on Augustus Moneyer As Dec 18 (1).jpg

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  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I have posted this before.

    Here is my version of your first one, @SeptimusT .

    Here is one I got from @Valentinian . I had been reading about old, worn-out coins being retarrifed in later ancient times by the Legions so they could have some pocket-change. (Harl, Coinage in the Roman Economy). I need to research this one... I know of some earlier posts about TICA, and this one looks like a whale (that would be cool) or dolphin on the reverse. Not sure of the AW G, or AVG with three separate stamps...
    RI Augustus with four countermarks 25-23mm 9.84 g TICA Head AVG dolphin in rect Said to be From the Balkans
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