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Heraclius overstrike


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Byzantine copper coins are rarely beautiful, but they have other attractions. One (obscure, I admit) interest is their overstrikes. Many are struck, not on new flans, but over previous coins. Here is one example, with pictures at the angles that show what is left of the undertype.


27 mm. 8.90 grams.
Heraclius (610-641) struck at the unusual mint of Seleucia in Isauria in year 7 (616/7).
Two half-length busts facing (Heraclius and son), legend around mostly missing, some visible at 2:00-3:30. Extra marks from an undertype at 11:30-2:30.
An unusually well-struck (for the type) reverse with ANNO down the left of a large M (for "40") with chi-rho above, B below, and GI = 7 to the right, and clear mintmark SELISU below.  Also, some remains of the undertype at 3:30 to 6:00.
Sear 844 which says "usually overstruck on folles of earlier emperors, often from the Antioch mint."
That helps.  

The next pictures are taken to emphasize different angles.image.jpeg.f9310509ed23eb99476adb438e0c5766.jpeg

At the time Antioch had be renamed THEOUPOLIS and some mintmarts from Antioch are
THЄUP below an exergual horizontal line.  I see that here, but the vertical line to the right is in the position of a date numeral and I can't find one that looks just like that.

On to the other side:

Is that
+AN   or  TAN   ?
"TAN" and "AN" are parts" of CONSTANTINVS," which was part of the name of Tiberius II Constantine (578-582). (I am not claiming the undertype is Tiberius II--I am just trying the figure out the letters.)


Is that six letters ending TAN?
  I have most of the reference works and looked for an earlier type of this size (only 27 mm--many of this type are 30 mm) with characteristics that could be matched up with those bits of the undertype. No luck so far, but the search is part of the fun and I'll keep this coin in mind. It is a pretty good example of the type even if I never figure out the undertype.

I've bought garbled Byzantine copper coins on purpose when the undertype could be identified. They are usually very inexpensive and they tell a story about money in Byzantine times. I am still reading that story and I will let you know when I know more. 

Show us some overstruck coins!

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I have 2 Heraclius Folli which were both overstruck from Maurice Tiberius pieces.

neither are beautiful, with patina issues, but interesting none the less.



There is a poorly struck sb 844, in a bit worse condition that your own. The obverse is decent enough, although the reverse is not well centered. However that left the distinct lettering of TIBERPPAV in the 9-11 o clock to likely identify it as a Maurice Tiberius follis from Constantinople as an under type.


the second one is even more ugly but for 3 dollars, why not. The over type is a bit hard to see, 2 figures on the obverse and the M with a barely discernible CON point to an SB 810. 
The under type is a bit easier here with a rather clear THEUP, ANNO and even the year 7 on the over type’s obverse. On the reverse the MITICO and the mantled bust likely mean this coin is a SB 532 as the under type.

Admittedly I’m not a fan of these and don’t chase them, but cool to show how the coins travel, being overstruck at other mints than the original.


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I agree that overstrikes often aren't gorgeous to look at, but they can provide fascinating insights. They also can carry significant numismatic value by helping to determine, in many cases, dating around when regimes or situations changed. They likely hold more real historical value than many beautiful coins. Never underestimate even an ugly overstrike.

I only have a single Byzantine overstrike of an Anonymous type B stamped onto a much larger Anonymous type A2, which I covered in more detail here. I still find it amusing that someone would want to overstrike an anonymous type with yet another anonymous type, but likely what we call "Anonymous Types" today weren't so "anonymous" back in their day. I'm also happy to see more Byzantine threads being started here. Keep them coming!

Romanus III (1028-1034); Constantinople; Æ Anonymous Follis, Class B, Obv: IC to left, XC to right, to bust of Christ, nimbate, facing, holding book of Gospels; Rev: IS XS / BAS ILE / BAS ILE to left and right above and below cross on three steps; 29 mm. 10.2 gm.; Sear 1823

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In definitely thrilled with the Byzantine threads. Wish I had more time to offer with my posts. (Job and 2 kids… wife too)

Here’s another one I have. Not a beauty either as someone ruined the patina. (seems like I have a lot of ugly coins..) this is a Constantine IV, decanummi from Constantinople, reason I bought it was the weight, 6.4g on a decanummi… One can quickly see there is an exegue missing and in place what looks like a crowned face and maybe 2 others. Never actually thought about it til right now but I’m thinking the undertype is a Constans II sb 1013. The heads seem to match well.





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That's a nice Seleucia.  Seleucia and Isaura usually turn up less worn than other Byzantine folles.  My Seleucia is one of the worn exceptions.


Here's a recent one of mine.  Probably Kyzicus on an earlier coin, possibly another Heraclius (.NhRAPP...), which may be further overstruck on an earlier coin (the giant A on the obverse).

Heraclius, with Heraclius Constantine. 610-641. Æ Follis (21mm, 4.87g). Uncertain mint. Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine standing facing, each wearing crown and chlamys and holding globus cruciger; cross above / Large M;Δ below; [...]. Cf. SB 840. Overstruck,

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In advance, apologies for a poor photo and even poorer attempt to reconstruct the undertype!

Here’s a half follis of Leontius from Constantinople, year 1 = 695-6. 3.39 gr. 22.2 mm. 1 hr. Sear 1335; Hahn 33. Overstruck on a radiate fraction of Maximianus, 286 to 305. Of the host coin details remain of the obverse legend ….MAXIMIANVS PF AVG, plus the back of Maximianus’ portrait with radiate crown and wreath ties. On the reverse is visible above, the upper third of a large laurel wreath of the original coin, with a small ring at its apex. Byzantine copper coins overstruck on earlier Byzantine coins are common, but less so to find one struck on a 400 year old coin. Three such overstruck bronzes of Leontius  were published for the first time in “Spink’s Numismatic Circular”, Jan. 1971, p.7; the undertypes of those coins were all Tetrarchic radiate fractions with VOTA wreath on the reverse as on this coin, one of Maximianus and two of Constantius I as Caesar. The author conjectured that a hoard of radiate fractions may have been discovered early in Leontius’ reign and “used as ready made flans for this issue.” The overstruck coins may have been from the mint at Carthage, with VOT XX FK or VOT X FK in the wreath on the reverse, to judge from the small size of the leaves that make up the wreath, comparable to RIC VI, plate 8, 38.

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