I need some help with a small countermarked AE - Greek? Provincial?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsyas Mike, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I think ancient countermark collecting is the Dark Side of the Dark Side. Which is to say I'm trying to attribute a small batch of countermarks and I am not having much luck.

    I was wondering if anybody can steer me in the right direction with this small AE - just getting the host coin down would be great. There is a male head on the obverse, mostly obliterated by the two countermarks - Apollo? Augustus?

    The reverse has a tantalizing lack of visible features - fragments of an inscription and what might be a lyre?

    The countermarks are a (1) an bunch of grapes and (2) goddess holding two torches (?). Diana lucifera, maybe? 14 mm and 2.8 grams.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    CM - Artemis w 2 torches & grapes Nov 2019 (0).jpg

    CM - Artemis w 2 torches & grapes Nov 2019 (0 det3).jpg

    I did have some luck with the host coin on this one. But the countermark still alludes me - Artemis/Diana drawing her bow, a K (?) behind. Anybody seen one like this? (the countermark is show right-side up; the portrait of Hermes is upside down - you can just see the brim and top of his petatos at 3 and 6 o'clock - the reverse is just a lousy photo - sorry)

    CM - Ionia Hermes & Griffin Diana K cm Nov 2019 (0).jpg

    CM - Ionia Hermes & Griffin Diana K cm Nov 2019 (0det).jpg

    Phokaia, Ionia Æ 14
    (c. 300-200 B.C.)
    Magistrate Aristoleos

    Head of Hermes right, wearing petatos / [ΦΩ] AΡIΣTO[ΛEOΣ], forepart of griffin right.
    SNG Cop 1037; SNG Tüb. 3127; SNG Lewis 943.
    Countermark: Artemis w. bow r., K behind, 7 mm circle obverse.
    (3.30 grams / 14 mm)
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Diana Lucifera is usually depicted with one long torch and often with the crescent moon on her shoulders.

    Ceres/Demeter depicted with a lighted torch in each hand is known as Ceres Taedifera, “Ceres the torch-bearer.” Here she is on a couple of Roman coins:

    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres Sestertius.jpg Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres Sestertius 2.jpg
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  4. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thanks RC. I was just guessing at this point.
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  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Ah, the heart is a lonely hunter, when it comes to countermarks. I decided to take another whack at my little mystery AE and found a likely partial thread, after only an hour or three. A listing in FORVM got me going in the right direction - one similar to mine, but the photo is pretty unclear:


    The FORVM listing led me to this: "The Countermarks of Cabyle" by Dimitae Dkagabov. It describes the standing figure countermark as Artemis Phosphoros holding two torches!

    I was very excited, however I can only access the first page unless I pay $42.00 and as much as I'd like to support academic research, it is Christmas and I am broke. But the first "teaser" page shows the countermark, blurrily, and it appears to be a match.

    CM - Cabyle article book - list of CM's5.png

    Cabyle (Kabyle) is a fairly obscure place in Thrace - Wildwinds has a couple. Artemis with the two torches seems to be a civic logo. Seleucid AEs were extensively countermarked at Cabyle - I still haven't figured out the host coin - Apollo and what might be a lyre? The other countermark is a mystery as well. I found other references in this general area, but some are in Bulgarian.

    The hunt continues. Here is a somewhat better photo and my notes (which I copied from the FORVM listing - Tapolov, Houghton & Lorber):

    CM - Cayble Artemis Phosphoros lot Nov 2019 (0).jpg

    Cabyle, Thrace Æ 15
    (250-200 B.C.)

    Laureate head right (Apollo?) / Lyre (?), Greek inscription.
    Countermarks: Both obverse:
    Artemis Phosphoros holding 2 torches in 8 mm circle.
    Cluster of grapes (?) in 6 mm circle.
    Tapolov Countermarking p. 240, 4
    Houghton & Lorber 2002 173, 184
    (2.78 grams / 15 mm)
    eBay Nov. 2019 Lot @ $2.20

    Attribution Note:

    "The Countermarks of Cabyle" by Dimitae Dkagabov describes countermark: "...depicts Artemis Phosophoros holding two long torches...between 6 and 8 mm"
    He notes 135 specimens from 16 countermark punches.

    Host: I can't find it (Dec. 2019)
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  6. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I don't have the books you are citing. I have Howgego. The countermark and obverse look like Howgego 236. One example, with a host coin of Docimeium. No picture of the reverse, but an obverse something like https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=429092

    Howgego wrote "Cult statue (Artemis Ephesia?) ... possibly to be interpreted as a cult statue of Cybele ..."

    Grapes are Howgego 411-416. Most in circular incuse and not easy to tell apart. Howgego 415 and 416 were applied on Phrygian coins (but not Docimeium).
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
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  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you Ed, I appreciate the help. I'd never heard of a Boule (a personification of the citizen's council, according to Wikipedia), or Docimeium (city in Phrygia) - and so my journey out of ignorance continues!

    I really, really need to get a copy of Howgego. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution for '20.
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