What is the significance of a countermark like this?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Xodus, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Xodus

    Xodus Well-Known Member

    At 26mm - Syria, Seleucis and Pieria. Antiochia ad Orontem. Domitian. A.D. 81-96. AE 14 Struck A.D. 81-83. IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG, laureate head right / S·C within laurel wreath. RPC 2021

    It looks to be what I "think" is an Athena countermark on the observe. I'm just wondering if anyone can shed any light on why someone would do this. Ie, was there a battle won and this was to signify it? Thanks for the help!

    IMG_20200126_092031966-ccfopt.jpg IMG_20200126_092052755-ccfopt.jpg
     
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Countermarks were usually introduced to (re)validate coinage, thereby making or ensuring a coin of its value through the power of the ruler of the empire (or senate or overseer of the area) at the time.

    Here is a excerpt from a short article/page from CNG:
    "Beside the obvious necessity of re-validated worn, obsolete or unusual coins for circulation in areas where regular coinage was scarce, there are clear cases where changing political realities were expressed by making revisions to the circulating coinage. Such cases are the numerous varieties of countermarks applied during the tumultuous reign of Nero and subsequent civil unrest. And again, in the Severan period, the struggles for legitimacy among the various family members and usurpers saw a wide array of politically motivated re-validations." ​

    You are correct that it is of Athena (Minerva) facing right with shield and spear: Howgego 245.

    Edit: another great resource to learn more about c/m's: https://www.accla.org/actaaccla/Baker1984.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  4. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice countermark! A very handsome specimen. I found two of these on FORVM, with some comments, though no reason for the issue:

    http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=546&pos=60

    http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=546&pos=59

    There are a bunch of these on acsearch - you might find some info there (as Justin notes, it is Howgego 245). Several CT members have copies of Howgego, I believe - they might be able to provide more info.

    https://www.acsearch.info/search.ht...s=1&thesaurus=1&order=0&currency=usd&company=
     
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    This is a countermark that I have a specific affinity for, as I'm infatuated with simple and elegant presentations of Minerva. This one is thought to have been introduced by Domitian because of his equal affinity for Minerva, and the timing of coins with this countermark. I currently have 4 examples:

    [​IMG]
    Otho, Ruled Jan 15-Apr 16, 69 AD
    AE26, Syria, Antioch Mint

    Was Poppaea Sabina’s initial husband, but she had an affair with Nero and eventually left him for Nero while Nero was Emperor.
    Obverse: CAE AVG IMP M OTHO, laureate head right; countermark – Athena standing right within rectangular incuse.
    Reverse: Large SC within laurel wreath of eight leaves, fastened at top with pellet, between inner circle and outer dotted border.
    References: RPC 4318; countermark – Howgego 245
    Size: 26mm, 11.1g
    Ex: Savoca Coin Auction, 4th Blue, Lot #930 (12-27-2017)


    [​IMG]
    Domitian, 81-96 AD
    AE22, Syria, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG, laureate head to left; countermark of Athena/Minerva standing right, holding spear and shield, in rectangular punch (Howgego 245).
    Reverse: Large SC surrounded by laurel wreath of eight leaves.
    References: McAlee 409, RPC 2023
    Size: 22mm, 6.3g


    [​IMG]
    Domitian, 81-96 AD
    AE22, Syria, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG, laureate head to left; countermark of Athena/Minerva standing right, holding spear and shield, in rectangular punch (Howgego 245).
    Reverse: Large SC surrounded by laurel wreath of eight leaves.
    References: McAlee 409, RPC 2023
    Size: 20mm, 6.1g


    [​IMG]
    Claudius, Ruled 41-54 AD
    AE25, Syria, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: [IM•TI•CLA•CAE-AV•GER], laureate head right; countermark of Athena/Minerva standing right, holding spear and shield, in rectangular punch (Howgego 245).
    Reverse: Large S-C within inner solid boarder, laurel wreath surround, fastened with pellet at top.
    Reference: RPC 4279, McAlee 250a
    Size: 25mm, 14.1g
     
  6. Xodus

    Xodus Well-Known Member

    Wow, thank you guys so much! Also, Very cool collection of countermarks @Justin Lee!

    After clicking on that link to the forum post, I read this: "May be an imperial countermark due to Domitian's association with Athena/Minerva, likely applied between A.D. 83-96 in Antioch". That's interesting :)
     
  7. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    It's odd that this Trajan has the countermark... o_O That is so late for the dating of the countermark. Could the stamp used to make the mark been lingering in someone's possession and this was a one-off by someone who had the mark NOT at the officina? Or it could be imitation?

    [Pause post for a few minutes while I go look up Howgego 246...] :bookworm::bookworm::bookworm:

    Ok, it seems this is in fact a different c/m than the 245 (hence the different number, duh lol :hilarious:) and is used on specific Trajan coins from Gabala in 106/107 AD. Nevermind...
     
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  8. benhur767

    benhur767 Sapere aude

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