Care to comment on a countermark hidden in plain sight?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    As I was so excited about my new favorite bronze bomber I had posted about this coin before it had actually arrived! Now that it has I am very pleased with it in hand.

    Alexander III the Great
    336-323 B.C. AE 20 (19.5 mm, 5.74 g). Uncertain mint in Western Asia Minor, ca. 323-310 B.C. Head of Alexander the Great as Hercules right, wearing the lion-skin headdress / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ, bow in bow-case above and club, the weapons of Hercules; torch in field below.

    That said, I hadn't noticed the countermark on the reverse from the pics. I thought it was just part of the bow case.
    Here is a pic of it with the countermark circled:


    Of course this just makes me more excited about the coin...but what is the CM?
    I searched AC search and found numerous similar types with CMs, some not even mentioning that the coin has a CM, but no consensus.
    Here are a few images borrowed from them of the type with CM and a description.

    (listing says c/m: Head of lion right within incuse circle)
    (listing says c/m: owl(?) standing right, head facing, within circular incuse)
    (listing says c/m: uncertain object (possibly horse's head right) within circular incuse)
    (one without CM)

    If anyone has any ideas what my countermark might be I'd love to hear those hypothesis. And of course if you have any of these coins I would love to see them or anything else you would like to share!

    Attached Files:

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  3. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Super nice Alexander bronze!

    CM is a neat bonus.

    Did not flatten the obverse much either.

    Ryro likes this.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This is what really strikes me. I wonder if the countermark was applied with the coin laying on thick leather or something that reduced the opposite side damage. I have never noticed the c/m on these.
  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice coin! I really like countermarks. Sometimes they can get "lost" in the design like this - can't help you with ID, sorry to say. It is interesting that there is such a range of countermarks for this host coin that are about the same size and put in the same place.

    I just picked up a couple of really crusty countermarks for a $1.68. This seemed like a good way to hone my countermark detective skills on the cheap. I am still baffled. The one on the left is the back half of a head, I think - laurel ties or a veil, maybe. The other one is an eagle with wings spread - I found a couple of those, but never could quite come up with a match.

    CM - Eagle & Unk lot of 2 June 2019 (3).JPG

    CM - Eagle & Unk lot of 2 June 2019 (7).JPG

    The reverses are illegible.

    Unknown Æ 25
    Æ host (as size?); too worn to identify.
    Countermark: Eagle, wings spread (dotted border?) in 12 mm circle.
    (9.98 grams / 25 mm)

    Unknown Æ 18
    Æ host, male head facing right; too worn to identify.
    Countermark: Veiled head facing right (?) obverse. Right side of countermark weakly struck; left side shows veil or possibly laurel wreath ties in 6 mm circle.
    (4.25 grams / 18 mm)
  6. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    If the, "what really strikes me" was a pun from Doug Smith, it certainly made me day. And even if not, you are correct. It is very interesting how they are all placed in the same area and varied to such a degree. I would say over half this coin type on AC search have this type of counter mark.
    Great point @Theodosius! It seems the same technique was applied on this type. You just don't see much any flattening on them, despite their cm.
    And @Marsyas Mike, excellent counter marked acquisitions! ... Speaking of, I think I have you to blame for this:
    Vindex Rebellion counter mark
    Yeah yeah. I'm the one who bought his$30 coin... Though I got him to let go of it for$15 #cheapskatetactics. The coin is slate other than the CM. But it was from a CNG auction so I've faith (blind and stupid as it may be) that there is a good chance it's legit. If not, hey I've got a Vindex space filler!
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Hurray! Maybe we can start the Vindex Space Filler Club.
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  8. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great new ATG with hide-and-seek c/m!

    I'd say I'm convinced... It's probably a Claudius host coin. If you squint hard enough you can almost make out a left facing profile. ;)
    Ryro likes this.
  9. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I have the same type (Price 2800) as in the OP. Mine was bought from Savoca London (2nd Blue Auction, lot 60). Unfortunately, I'm somewhat behind with photography, but here is the seller's picture:


    When attributing this coin, I saw that at least 20 of the 43 examples of Price 2800 uploaded to Pella show a circular countermark. On some of the coins, it is sharp enough to make out a roaring lion's (?) head. It would take a closer look to establish whether it's the same type of countermark on all coins.

    The countermark seems to be specific to Price 2800 and the very similar Price 2799. It's up for speculation why these issues in particular have countermarked so frequently.
    Bing and Ryro like this.
  10. Alegandron

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

    Are you kidding me? That is not a space IS a Vindex. I have 2 of Vindex’s coins, and I would really like to get one of those Vindex counter-mark coins that @Ryro has! Way cool!
    Marsyas Mike, Justin Lee and Ryro like this.
  11. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I just meant that Ryro had an example from the same place mine came from (eBay via CNG auction) - and that they ain't very pretty.

    But as Gertrude Stein said, a Vindex is a Vindex is a Vindex:

    CM Vindex countermark PR Jun 2019 (0).jpg
  12. Alegandron

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

    Ryro and Marsyas Mike like this.
  13. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    Fun discovery! That WAS a hidden c/m!

    I had a similar experience some years ago. A dealer had listed several quite reasonably priced Ptolemaic bronzes. Looking through many such coins can become a tedious process due to the generally reliable combination of Zeus obverse and eagle reverse. But I just happened to notice something on one of them that led me to buy it immediately. upload_2019-7-13_17-29-35.png
    Due to the topic of this thread I'm sure you all detected it right away, but since counter-marks were far from my mind as I was quickly browsing I came a hair's breadth (feather's breadth?) from missing it. The anchor is somewhat hidden in the feathers, and by the fact that the anchor's tilted angle aligns with the slope of the eagle's back. Also, the listing picture did not have adequate lighting and contrast as used in the image above.

    The presence of a Seleucid c/m on a Ptolemaic bronze adds some cool historical-interest value. :) See Catherine Lorber's work titled, "The Lotus Aphrodite in Ptolemaic Bronzes" for more information.

    Lesson: Watch out for those sneaky counter-marks!

    Last but not least:
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