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dougsmit
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https://coinweek.com/dealers-companies/shanna-schmidt/numismatic-grab-bag-five-ancient-coins-with-shanna-schmidt/

Regulars here might be interested in a Coin Week video last month featuring a discussion with dealer Shanna Schmidt (aka daughter of Harlan Berk) where she discusses five coin of interest to her.  In all honesty, I found four of them rather ordinary examples of very interesting coins which surprised me since I had pegged her as a specialist of only the finest coins (the ones I could not afford).  The video is worth a watch if you have not seen it.  HOWEVER, the other coin was really special to me and would be especially to anyone here who counts as a friend our member zumbly who has a VERY similar coin of Gortyna and has posted it here (and over at the other place) every time someone asks about our favorite coins.  If I owned his coin, it would be very high on my favorite list as well. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see this:

 

The BIG thing here is the Shanna Schmidt coin is also overstruck but it was struck much harder the second time so the undertype was almost completely erased.  There is where my question comes up.  Which of the two coins is 'better' by your definition of that word.  Those who know me might suspect that I prefer the ugly scrap of silver belonging to zumbly exactly because it shows the undertype so much better.  I have no doubt that 99% of people who have the kind of money to buy coins like anything from Gortyna would pay much more for the coin Shanna Schmidt showed but those of us who like coins that are ugly for good reason never care that much about that segment of the hobby.  Seeing this second overstruck Gortyna drives me to wonder if they may have had a bucket of the coins that needed to be 'converted' into the new type.  Will we see more?  Perhaps we all need to pay attention and se what we see.  

Note that zumbly admitted to showing his coin every chance he gets (please post it here) so I will post the coins I always post exactly because of their over or double striking and invite the rest of you to show your oddball examples of the sort.  

Mine are (search for previous discussions of them if these are not in your memory):

1. The anonymous Class A3 overstruck on an as of Gordian III that was nearly 800 years old when it was overstruck.  

rz0505fd3399both.jpg.48d7daa3349ecb6be42a49e17702ec45.jpg

2. The flip over double strike of Magnentius where the first strike was a brockage.

rx7115bb1097a.jpg.d81047f0de80b02fbf96cdd91095da7d.jpg

3. A rather worn nomos of Sybaris that was doublestruck leaving tell tale 'extra' lines.  I bought this for a little over half of what I had paid (and sold for no profit) for a slightly less worn but 'undamaged' one.  I like faulty coins. 

g10086fd3393b.jpg.1401de1cc6b7a35b983fa13e6b790a52.jpg

4.  Finally, one of my worst coins:  A rough 'ghost' of a falling horseman double struck using one die of Constantius II and one of Constantius Gallus merged on the obverse in such a way we see a wreath on the portrait and legend ending NOB CAES.  ALL coins of Gallus have bare heads; horsemen of Constantius II end in AVG.  How should this be catalogued?  Easy answer: a piece of junk not worth the $5 I paid for it. 

 rx7277bb3232.jpg.d96845755a2176e7c343660e955a35ff.jpg

 

While I'm here, I'd like to suggest you listed to the Drachmas and Denarii video on YouTube where the discussion on slabs or not ventures the opinion (which I obviously share) that there are things more important in selecting ancient coins that being a mint state starred super coin in plastic.  They discuss style.  I have no idea if the could love my oddballs. 

 

There is a lot of good stuff online for the student of ancient coins.  I suspect people here are mostly like me in not being able to keep up with it.  

Edited by dougsmit
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I'm with you Doug. In my amateur opinion and since "better" is subjective, the coin with both types showing is the historically more important coin. However, the "prettier" coin with the better strike on the beautiful and popular type will sell for more.

Though not an overstrike this "situation" is not totally dissimilar to when you'd pointed out whether people would consider the overlap of metal on my new favorite Syracusian a flaw or a unique way to show how the metal was prepared before minting:

Screenshot_20220508-123435_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.b55be14018e1daf4e9b85f3e5b88bd3e.png

I second the sentiment, I hope @zumblyposts that beauty of his again!

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I'm a little surprised that the Coinweek cast didn't include a picture of the coin on which the overstrike was hammered.  It would have been immensely helpful in discussing overstrikes if, in addition to the struck coin, a separate picture of the underlying coin was also included, oriented in the same angular position as the coin being discussed.

I'm probably not alone here in not having sufficient range of ancient coin knowledge to "see" the underlying coin and its features, even for those coins with which I'm familiar.  So especially when the underlying coin is a type I've never seen, there is little or no possibility that I'll be able to see those underlying features.

Doing this also might draw a lot more interest in the topic of overstrikes in general. 

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I think the interesting thing is that the Shanna Schmidt stater of Gortyna was overstruck on a coin of Aegina, whereas @zumbly's was overstruck on a Minotaur/Labyrinth coin of Knossos much older than the Aegina one of Shanna's, so apparently the mint at Gortyna was using whatever stater-sized silver coins they had on hand. I prefer Zumbly's because you can see the undertype so well.

I have only one overstrike in my collection.

[IMG]
Faustina Sr, AD 138-141
Roman AR denarius; 3.83 g, 18.2 mm
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust, right
Rev: AETERNITAS, Fortuna standing left, holding globe and rudder
Refs: RIC 348; BMCRE 360; Cohen 6; RCV 4577.
Note: Overstruck on previous issue, perhaps a CONCORDIA seated issue of Sabina.

If I rotate the reverse 90 degrees counterclockwise, you can see a throne and what is likely a cornucopiae beneath it. Coming down from Fortuna's face is a roughly spiral-shaped vertical object I think is a goddess's shin:


[IMG]

I postulate it was a CONCORDIA AVG issue of Sabina:

[IMG]
 
 

 

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3 hours ago, idesofmarch01 said:

I'm a little surprised that the Coinweek cast didn't include a picture of the coin on which the overstrike was hammered.  It would have been immensely helpful in discussing overstrikes if, in addition to the struck coin, a separate picture of the underlying coin was also included, oriented in the same angular position as the coin being discussed.

I'm probably not alone here in not having sufficient range of ancient coin knowledge to "see" the underlying coin and its features, even for those coins with which I'm familiar.  So especially when the underlying coin is a type I've never seen, there is little or no possibility that I'll be able to see those underlying features.

Doing this also might draw a lot more interest in the topic of overstrikes in general. 

I'm very glad that none of the aptitude or "intelligence" tests I ever took when I was young required me to identify undertypes on overstruck ancient coins. I would have failed miserably. And still would today!

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Interesting, thank you for sharing the video! Being an Illinois resident (but one who sadly did not go to the convention in Chicago), I'm looking forward to having another storefront to visit when I make my next numismatic trip to Chicago (and perhaps library, if she lets the public look at her books, the way HJB does!).

 

THE COIN:

Speaking of interesting overstrikes... It was the main reason I wanted this coin (it helped that it's reportedly ex-Tom Virzi Collection). The under-type (a Syracuse AE Drachm, example below) makes it looks like Apollo is wearing a helmet and the lyre frame is constructed from dolphins.

Aside from the artistic/design elements created by the overstrike, I'm curious about the political/military relationship between Syracuse and the mercenaries... (Very little is given MacDonald 2009, below, or sources I found online.)

Adranon Mercenaries retirement colony in the Aetna area, AE Drachm (30mm, 26.11 g), early to mid-4th century.
Obv: Head of Apollo (struck over helmeted head of Athena).
Rev: Lyre (struck over a star and pair of dolphins).

Ref/Prov: Virzi 512 = CNS III 2 st 4/5.
[Old Photo by 
CNG e-Auction 116 (2005), Lot 56]

image.jpeg.2bc8ce005ab23ca4e5ad6f661d8e4a3d.jpeg

For comparison here's the undertype, with reverse rotated to the same dolphin orientation, from CNG Triton VIII [edited, not my coin]:

image.jpeg.63cce3674b694c2a9eb1be8152d9abc0.jpeg

 

THE BOOK:

...and yet another Illinoisan, David MacDonald (2009, Whitman), a prof. at IL State U in Normal, wrote this interesting volume, Overstruck Greek Coins...  Looks like a used copy can be purchased for under $30. Depending on your interests, it could be very worthwhile.

image.jpeg.60806be441025f0c8b7520cc6a44e0db.jpeg

It briefly discusses my type below:

image.jpeg.4d26ae3fa975aacbfb3f96e7448c9929.jpeg

 

  • EDIT p.s., I'm happy to check and see if any types are in there if anyone wants to find out before buying a copy.

 

ADDENDUM, "The Gamble": Same coin, other photos (clickable-expandable thumbnails). You'll see why I used the older CNG photo above and hope it's the more accurate one (the coin is in the mail):

image.png.68c068b70e3f8754e0c56b6b47d5292d.pngimage.jpeg.4436606eaf0a1348594589d85123b008.jpeg

The coin is still in transit, and I'm especially anxious because I don't know if it looks as it did in the 2005 photo by CNG e-Auction 116, Lot 56 (or even earlier, at NAC Auction I, Lot 1137 in 1999), or the recent photo at Noble Numismatics 130, 4317 (not good). Either way, I'll be okay with it. But I'm hopeful because in all my previous purchases from Noble, the coins looked better than the photos (they're not primarily an ancient coin firm, and it's clear they don't put as much time/resources into photography as other ancient coin firms).

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Well, since I've got no choice, here it is again... 😊

55580183_CreteGortyna-ARStaterLabyrinthMinotaur1877.jpg.51f2388ca2f5024f379a25ad15b7272a.jpg

I enjoyed the Coinweek video and can relate to what Shanna Schmidt said about collectors of Cretan coins.  Now, I just need more Cretan coins! 

I thought the Gortyna stater they showed was great and would love to have something like it in my collection (can't afford the $10k being asked for that particular piece on Vcoins though!).  Even if the undertype doesn't seem like the most exciting, it serves to illustrate the prevailing notion that coin production of the Cretan cities began in conjunction with the arrival there of Aegina's staters, which gave the cities a supply of silver with which to strike their own coins.  It's possible that my coin was an Aeginitian turtle before it became a stater of Knossos, before finally becoming the mess of a Gortynian stater it is.  The coin below (not mine), shows what the undertypes originally looked like:

Clipboard02.jpg.c59b6e34506784eb2d0b2211552e012e.jpg

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For those having trouble reading zumbly's obverse:  It makes a great deal of difference if we turn the coin upside down to restore the bull to 'right side up' orientation.  That is why I often do photos shot with the undertype up as well as in 'final' orientation.  Sometimes it is enough just to rotate the same photo but it can make it easier to see if the lighting comes from the top making the under-subject pop out as 'normal.  To me, the left facing bust of the Constantius II undertype is more clear in the top photo below than it is in the lower pair oriented to favor the second use by Gallus. 

rx7205bb2887rot.jpg.60bf2e0dbed6a5428e3c747de14fca7d.jpg

To me, the Shanna Schmidt coin is a great Crete coin but a marginal overstrike.  I prefer them bold and messy.  The reverse incuse from the undertype is obvious but I have not studied it enough to swear that Aegina is the only possibility and I am not seeing traces of the obverse turtle.  Aegina coins come with several different style reverse punches and I only know the ones I have.  If you are not tired of seeing my turtles, you must be new here.   I might also point out that I see the type as a turtle swimming left rather than up.  The 'normal' up description is based on the majority of coins lacking good head detail with a clear beak on the turtle. We will never know how it was seen by the original designer of the type.  

g40990b01850blg.JPG.dbb52456549bc6eb6eb569c1bf4a3738.JPGg41000rp1784out.jpg.5822ddda16bf8c64f4b18a4ce26f50be.jpg

I am a big fan of 'seeing' things in clouds, inkblots and oddball coins that sane humans might deny.  Dr. Rorschach invented his inkblot test to diagnose mental illness back in the days (1921) when 'normal' was a great deal more expected of everyone than it is today.  I might go so far as to say not that the inkblot resembles an object but that we are seeing a representation of that object pretending to be an inkblot.  It is like asking about that die break under my second turtle above.  I see a killer whale.  If you don't, you may not be my definition of 'normal'.  I enjoy learning new things.  Today I learned a word 'Klecksography' (technically in violation of what I expect of a proper term since it combines roots from two different languages).  As a child, the inventor of the inkblot test was considered strange by 'normal' kids and nicknamed accordingly.  Who said collecting coins is not educational?  'Normal'?  Maybe not???

https://www.simplypsychology.org/what-is-the-rorschach-inkblot-test.html

 

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That anonymous Class A3 overstrike of a Gordian III coin is amazing!  I've never seen such a overstrike before, and the under coin is very bold.

This is a follis of Heraclius, RY 3, Constantinople, that I've paraded out before on CT, though I think this its first appearance on this forum. It is the best one I have of a multiple strike combined with an over strike.  

The strike rotation on both sides is clear, and part of a figure, in consular robes, holding an orbis cruciger, can be seen on the reverse at around 6 o'clock.  That is likely Phocas, who Heraclius deposed in 610.  There is an outside chance that the emperor is Maurice Tiberius, but I think that is unlikely.  Phocas did a pretty thorough job (gold an exception) of over striking his coins., or melting them down to produce more of his coinage.

1595788441_D-CameraHeracliusFollisRY3ConstantinopledoublestruckandoverstruckRoma9-5-22.jpg.f54fbe1a2b812b7e7c2f2d9e84e52348.jpg

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Sometimes it seems that Byzantines without overstriking are the scarce ones.  I still like them and messier is better.  This one finished with Heraclius but the rest of its story is less certain to me.  I have posted it several times in other places but would enjoy new opinions on the steps of its journey. It is always nice to determine which details belonged to which use.  The Photo is oriented to show the use by Phocas at least on the reverse).

rz0330bb0703.jpg.a8022e6c7944f6b10ce92ef6f9efc938.jpg

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I have shown this one before also, but it's my best example of an overstrike.

Anonymous, Time of John I, AD 969-976. Æ Follis (23mm, 7.11g, 7h). Constantinople mint, Class A1. Obv: Nimbate (two pellets in arms of cross) facing bust of Christ, raising hand in benediction and holding Gospels. Rev: +IhSUS / XRISTUS / bASILU / bASILE. Ref: DOC A1.6-10; SB 1793. About Fine, holed, overstruck on two earlier Folles of Constantine VII and Nicephorus II.

image.jpeg.c83dee92bbd488923d5b71d34acc0758.jpeg

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Some great overstrikes!

I can share some from my collection.

1) Carausius overstruck on a Postumus 

3E41A045-DA60-401E-B5EB-62F0997B26A2.jpeg.5274ffbebd39a6f00bfee1b2747c34d0.jpeg

CARAUSIUS AE antoninianus. Overstruck on an antoninianus of POSTUMUS. IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right. Reverse - PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch & sceptre. 20mm, 2.4g. 

HOST COIN - POSTUMUS AE antoninianus. IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right. Reverse - (in line with overtype reverse, lower legs and branch are clearly visible) PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch & scepter.

Bought this one in 2012.

Sellers description and additional pictures:

An interesting portrait, at first it appears as though Carausius is helmeted, and drawn with a Pinnochio-esque nose. Further inspection reveals that the coin is in fact overstruck on a Postumus antoninianus and the phenomena is the remnants of a bust of Postumus (see attached photo). 

A726DC7A-AC09-4340-8953-AD3F7838B52A.jpeg.82d6e3491b267a8a976a963eb566b698.jpeg

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6 hours ago, Agrippa said:

Some great overstrikes!

I can share some from my collection.

1) Carausius overstruck on a Postumus 

CARAUSIUS AE antoninianus. Overstruck on an antoninianus of POSTUMUS. IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right. Reverse - PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch & sceptre. 20mm, 2.4g. 

HOST COIN - POSTUMUS AE antoninianus. IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right. Reverse - (in line with overtype reverse, lower legs and branch are clearly visible) PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch & scepter.

Bought this one in 2012.

Sellers description and additional pictures:

An interesting portrait, at first it appears as though Carausius is helmeted, and drawn with a Pinnochio-esque nose. Further inspection reveals that the coin is in fact overstruck on a Postumus antoninianus and the phenomena is the remnants of a bust of Postumus (see attached photo). 

 

I am particularly happy to see the Postumus undertype.  In confirms my suspicion that Carausius made a habit of overstriking the lower silver Gallic coins.  I have not seen any of his on early Postumus or other coins with more silver content.  Have you? Mine over Victorinus / Salus has been shown many times but is repeated here.

rt3455bb3118.jpg.be8d54ed48fb0b109591cb744fff6abe.jpg

 

The other regular overstriker was in the late reign of Trajan Decius (and family) where Severan denarii like my Geta became antoniniani.  The profit in doing this seems obvious.  I am not as clear on why Carausius did his. 

ro1290bb1659.jpg.6c72193459f8d81f453d8f7cd965227e.jpg

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13 hours ago, dougsmit said:

I am particularly happy to see the Postumus undertype.  In confirms my suspicion that Carausius made a habit of overstriking the lower silver Gallic coins.  I have not seen any of his on early Postumus or other coins with more silver content.  Have you? Mine over Victorinus / Salus has been shown many times but is repeated here.

rt3455bb3118.jpg.be8d54ed48fb0b109591cb744fff6abe.jpg

 

The other regular overstriker was in the late reign of Trajan Decius (and family) where Severan denarii like my Geta became antoniniani.  The profit in doing this seems obvious.  I am not as clear on why Carausius did his. 

ro1290bb1659.jpg.6c72193459f8d81f453d8f7cd965227e.jpg

Hello Doug, indeed I suspect as well that it was for a time common practice for the Carausius minters to use low silver coins of the Earlier Gallic emperors. Haven’t seen any silvered ones or F.i. Tetricus coins that are used.

Here a example of a Carausius (PAX) one with a Victorinus undertype. One the reverse part of the crown and legend (VICTORI) is visible. 
 

0DDE6C31-A41A-46C2-84A1-325CCBB31AF5.jpeg.40cc557e3a3d784618f028d8e849884c.jpeg

 

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Another one I can share is a special one and indicates that the Carausius minters also used Gallic coins as a basis for their rarer denominations.

Carausius clasped hands denarius overstruck on a Victorinus ant.

78EAE618-7D1C-4E4F-8C68-BF52DCC68977.jpeg.8de0b437f34cbe32e5f71ca12e203e67.jpeg



Was able to get this one in 2013. Description of the coin: The obverse shows hints of a radiate crown of the undertype, while the reverse shows a Sol standing left on the clasped hands. Based on the style and the fact that Carausius did overstrike a couple of Gallic ants, we can safely assume that the undertype is a Gallic Empire Antoninian. Since Postumus and Victorinus were the only Gallic emperors to use a standing Sol as reverse type, but Postumus' ORIENS AVG coins being of white metal, the overstruck coin must be a Victorinus Antoninian with INVICTVS around Sol reverse.

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