Featured Claudius countermarked coinage (updated)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Claudius approved the use of countermarked sestertii, dupondii and asses in order to extend the supply of money after his invasion and conquest of Britain in 43AD.

    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 120, 41-45AD (38mm, 29.2gm)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right

    Countermarked PROB (Probatum - temporarily accepted)

    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)

    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 123, 41-45AD (35mm, 22.3gm)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right

    Countermark NCAPR in oblong incuse rectangle behind head (unknown mark on head)

    Reverse depiction: Triumphal arch surmounted by equestrian statue of Nero Claudius Drusus

    The countermark NCAPR was most frequently employed under Nero and 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.


    Pangeri 85d, (29mm, 14.6gm)

    Obverse countermark DV (denoting half value) on neck

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

    Here is a recent acquisition:

    Agrippina Senior, Sestertius, RIC I (Claudius) No. 102, AD 42-54, 25.2 gm.

    Obverse depiction: Agrippina, draped bust facing right, hair in long plait down back

    Reverse depiction: Large SC

    NCAPR in rectangular countermark above (by Vespasian?)


    Reference resources ..........

    1. THE COPYING OF BRONZE COINS OF CLAUDIUS 1 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, countermarking, etc.

    2. The Romano-British imitations of Bronze Coins of Claudius I (PDF) - a digital edition of the highly regarded monograph by C. H. V. Sutherland, provided by the American Numismatic Society.

    General Notes:
    1. There were numerous imitations of Roman aes coins - some of poor quality but also some of reasonably good quality - produced in Britain during this period using spurious dies.
    2. In order to help relieve pervasive coin shortages, quantities of reasonably well made imitative coins were occasionally accepted by Roman officials for circulation.
    3. Many coins were countermarked to indicate their official status and in some instances to denote re-valuation of coinage denomination.

    In COINS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM (BMCRE), Volume I (Augustus to Vitellius) - Introduction to Claudius Chronology, Harold Mattingly points out that there were numerous imitations of Claudius aes coinage, some of them barbarous, during this period. These coins were produced throughout the northern frontier - notably in Gaul and Britain - often by unskilled fabricators using unofficial dies. These local imitations were sometimes accepted (and countermarked) by Roman Officials for use by both the Roman military and civilian population.

    In his discussion relating to Countermarks Mattingly also points out that their main purpose was to extend the circulation of coins under new authority - and in some instances to also denote re-valuation of coinage denominations. The countermarks were heavily incused (stamped within a border), mostly on the coin obverses, in order to survive prolonged usage and wear.

    Countermarks may also have been applied to confirm the continued validity of old and much worn or inferior coins, particularly when the supply of new coins to frontier areas fell short of established goals.

    In his article "The Countermark PROB on Coins of Claudius I from Britain" (The Numismatic Chronicle Vol. 148 {1988}, pp. 53-61), Robert Kenyon records that after his conquest of Britain in 42AD (and maybe planned before) Claudius issued large quantities of early OB CIVES SERVATOS (without PP) and SPES Sestertii of 41AD (minted in Rome) for use in general commerce in Britain. All of this coinage was countermarked PROB (Probatum = approved) on the coin obverse.

    In my experience surviving countermarked coins are usually much worn and in not very good condition, but they often have great historical association.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Every time we revisit these I as but still do not know the meaning of AD on this Claudius as. Maybe I'll get lucky and we will get a new person who specializes in these.
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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Those are some nice looking countermarks. I've been looking for one with a clear portrait but have not found one yet.

    Here is a cool countermarked coin that has 3 countermarks on it. The host coin is all but obliterated at this point but I like that it has 2 lettered countermarks as well as a symbol. I wonder what that one was for.

    Tiberius Countermark
    14-37 AD
    Ae As (or barbaric imitation)
    Countermarks: AVG, TICAE, Helmet
    5.07g, 24mm
    ex: @Marsyas Mike
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  5. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Great timing as today is the old man's birthday!!!
    Claudius was born 10 bce on this day:woot:
    It's hard to make it out but the reverse appears to have a possible CM... or just really bad deterioration:

    And I cannot say who is on this coin. But it has the rebels PR:
    PR=Populus Romanus
    - The Roman People. AE 24.2 MM, 6.5 gr. This countermark was used by the rebels in Gaul under the leadership of Julius Vindex during the months of March through June of 68 CE. Used mostly upon dupondii and Asses. Coin appears intentionally slate as these were known to deface and denounce the current powers that be.
    Ex: CNG
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  6. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Claudius only stayed in Britain for sixteen days before returning to Rome to accept the accolades of the Senate which included the traditional Imperator Triumph. Before departing Britain (never to return) Claudius appointed Aulus Plautius (a renowned Senator and friend of the Claudians) to be Governor of Britain, and it was he who actually instituted and controlled the monetary policies and procedures there.

    It was also Aulus Plautius who was the commanding general of the four legion invasion force that landed in Britain in the summer of 43 AD. Claudius only arrived there later in order to accept the surrender of the British coalition of fighting forces. The other leading general during the campaign was Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the future Emperor Vespasian).

    I am personally a great admirer of Claudius and hold him in great esteem, however, he really only made a token contribution to the conquest of Britain.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    This is such an interesting era, from a countermarking standpoint. It seems all this countermarking died out with the Flavians - massive issues of AEs for Europe? A gradual easing of the money supply?

    My two Claudian dupondii with the DV countermark - the nice one (top) is ex-jamesicus:

    CM - Claudius - DV cm on Sest. Aug 2019 doov (0).jpg

    CM - Claudius DV on Sest Lot Aug 2019 (0).jpg

    A bit later, a hostile Nero countermarked by Galba supporters in a Greek-speaking area (Thrace, probably):

    CM - Nero w Galba countermark May 2018 (0).jpg

    Nero / Galba Æ As
    (63 A.D.; c/m 69 A.D.)

    NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS, laureate head right / [GENIO AVGVSTI], Genius, naked to waist, standing half-left, holding cornucopiae,
    [altar left]. RIC 125
    Countermark: ΓAΛBΛ (GALBA in Greek) Howgego GIC 526
    (9.77 grams / 27 mm)

    Galba Countermarks:
    "GALBA in Greek Letters (Martini Pangerl Collection 92). This countermark occurs also on Provincial coins and is Howgego as GIC 526. (These) coins are in the grey zone between official coins (so called Thrakian mint) and provincial coins of the Balkan region"
    (Museum of Roman Countermarks)

    Attached Files:

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  8. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Very interesting post @Marsyas Mike. I had not encountered that Greek countermark on the Galba previously. Let me hasten to add that I am not an authority or expert regarding these countermarks. I just became very interested in Claudian countermarked coins when I began collecting Julio-Claudian Aes coins many years ago. I think that much of the present day research material has only become available in recent years. In my opinion, one of the richest sources for historical information relating to Romano-British countermarked coinage are the introductory notes on the subject by Harold Mattingly in volume I of BMCRE (British Museum Coins of the Roman Empire).
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  9. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    An impressive coin and countermark. Have you ever heard of another [AD] countermark? Maybe a counterfeiter or near sighted die maker, trying to copy the guy across from him. Seeing "DV" (DVpondius) upside-down he copied it as "AD". Stamping your AE As as a DVpondius sounds like it might pay off (2 to 1).
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  10. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Happy birthday, Claudius!!

    Claudius, AD 41-54.
    Roman Æ as, 10.86 g, 28.3 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 42.
    Obv: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, bare head, left.
    Rev: LIBERTAS AVGVSTA SC,Libertas standing right.
    Refs: RIC 113; BMCRE 202-5; Cohen 47; CBN 230-2; RCV 1860.
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  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I have not but I can't stretch my imagination to call it a dupondius.
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  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    My only counterstamped coin :D.

    Claudius, AD 41-54, Ex R. Baker, Ex CNG.jpg
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  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I didn’t know you were into countermarked coins, FF. I like your multi-countermarked coin - I had one similar to that:


    A42AC5EB-39C9-4AEC-87E7-AF365D31FF56.jpeg 357E4040-DA53-4F89-8271-EBD65E545645.jpeg
    BMCRE, Vol. I, AUGUSTUS, AS, Rome, No. 141, 15 BC (27mm, 8.3gm)

    Obverse depiction: Civic wreath
    Reverse depiction: Large S C
    Inscription: L SVRDINIVS IIIVIR A A A F F

    It seems like the similar ones I have encountered are all from the early Empire - have you conducted any research on this?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  14. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    although I suggested it, I have to agree with you, would certainly stick with "mystery" unless more information surfaced
    The combination seems to originate from Moesia: AVG, TICAE, Helmet
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  15. Alegandron

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

    COUNTERMARK - rejuvenate worn AE coinage for change

    MY made up answer to the TICA acronymn:

    TIberius' Countermarked As... :D

    Augustus As four countermarks 25-23 mm 9.8g TICA AVG probably for Tiberius Augustus CE14-37 Dolphin
    Ex: @Valentinian

    CLAUDIUS birthday

    With his son Britannicus (poisoned at 13 by the little creep to later become Nero)

    Judaea Claudius w-Britannicus CE 41-54 Æ Prutah 17mm 2.8g Antonius Felix-procurator Dated RY 14 54 CE 2-crossed shields spears - Palm tree BPIT K AI L IΔ date Hendin 1348
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  16. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    I was looking through BnF and they have this AD countermark but only have (?) for translation, so Giard didn't know or want to guess.
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  17. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    I used this page to identify my two countermarks :

    left coin , spanish provincial : i see a ''RC''
    right coin , Lugdunum As : - "TIBCAVF" in square possibly on a Lugdunum As, meaning thought to be "Tiberius Caesar Augustus Filius",
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