Do you know the undertype?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Broucheion, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    Hi folks,

    I collect coins of Ptolemaic Egypt. I bought this coin as part of a group lot of variously countermarked coins. My experience tells me the countermark is Ptolemaic but I am struggling with identifying the host coin type.

    OBV: Athena in Corinthian helmet facing right. No border visible. Countermark: Ptolemaic eagle wings closed, facing right, standing on thunderbolt in incuse square.
    REV: Standing figure facing left. Drapery fold in left field. Legend: [xxx]YS (?). No border visible.

    My question is simply: can you tell me what the undertype of the coin shown might be? My best guess, which does not count for much, would be a Seleucid host coin. Some Seleucid AEs are known to sport Ptolemaic countermarks. As an example, see Newell's 'Western Seleucid mints' plate xlix, #11 (described on page 223 as a case of Antiochus II coins showing Ptolemaic countermarking as a result of the occupation of Tarsus by the Egyptian forces).

    If I had to guess I would start with Seleucus II (ref SC vol1, #660.2c). See the second coin at .
    What bothers me about that guess is the lack of apparent drapery in the left field and it is heavier. That coin is from Sardes and 17x18mm, 4.71g.
    OBV: Helmeted bust of Athena right.
    REV: Apollo Delphios standing right, holding arrow, leaning on tripod. Monograms to outer left and outer right. BASI/\EWS SE/\EYKOY.

    Thanks for any help you can give.
    - Broucheion
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  3. David@PCC


    I can rule out the under type as being Seleucid. No reverse looks like the one you posted with helmeted Athena obverse. All coins showing Apollo have the knees together, yours is also lacking a bow.
    Any early type would also have BAΣIΛEΩΣ on the right side in most cases.

    You are correct about the eagle counter mark on issues of Antiochus II. Image courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France
    I can't say if the two are the same?
  4. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    Dear David@PCC,

    Thanks for your insight. Regarding the BnF coin, that's the exact type but not the exact ones in WSM by Newell.

    Well, my other thought when I first got the coin was a Thessalian or Northern Greek coin with a Hermes reverse. No other guesses after that.
  5. Svarog

    Svarog Well-Known Member

    @Broucheion , can you share more of your Collection of Ancient Egypt, as I do also collect those.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Great looking countermark. I've never seen one like it, so I can be no help identifying it. But I do like it a lot.

    The closest countermark like this I have is a crusty eagle with wings spread, head right, in a circle. It might be standing on a thunderbolt, like the Ptolemaic eagles, but I'm not sure. I've not yet been able to attribute it:

    CM - Eagle Unk June 2019 lot (1).jpg
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  7. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    Hi Marsyas Mike,

    Thanks for the post! Here's my version of the countermark you pictured. And yes, this is another case of "Do you know the undertype?" I'm thinking it's a coin of Macedon under Rome. Since this is outside my specialty I leave it to the experts to educate me.


    Obv: Alexander the Great with lion skin headress. Aqila countermark: Eagle with spread wings facing left, head turned to right (Aqila = Roman legionary eagle).
    REV: Indeterminate.
    Weight: 3.27 g
    Size: 17 mm
    Axis: Indeterminate

    I call it an Aquila becasue it very greatly resembles the images seen here on a web page that outlines how a reenactor created his facimile Aquila for LEGIO-IIII-SCYTHICA sigla.

    Again, all help appreciated.
    - Broucheion
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  8. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Usually the best strategy for finding the host coin is identifying the countermark in Howgego. He lists the cities he knows for each undertype. In this case I couldn't find the countermark in Howgego. Yours has a square border. The examples in Howgego have circular borders, or the eagle is facing a different way.

    Given those legs the figure on the reverse is likely Herakles or Zeus. The figure looks nude. Most mythical figures are clothed on coins. Only a few go nude: Herakles, Dionysos, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, “Athlete”, Perseus, Harpocrates, and Marsyas.
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  9. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Wow! I'd spent hours looking for one of these - your example is beautiful. It never occurred to me to think "Aquila" - but indeed, it does resemble one.

    Thanks for sharing this.
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