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That Athenian Tet Countermark Question... Again


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Hello Everyone,

I recently acquired a clutch of rather worn Athenian tetradrachms and two have countermarks on them. One is very distinctive and reminded me of a recent past thread talking about specific countermarks that identify where the coin would have circulated. I am not up to date with my Phonecian or other letters but thought that perhaps some of the folks within this forum would be able to help on these two (here's lookin' at you, @robinjojo)...

Any help or guidance on understanding the significance of these countermarks and where these coins would have circulated would be appreciated.





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Nice owls!  Even though they have circulated and have countermarks and test cuts, they are fascinating coins to study.

I am not sure about the two countermarks on the first owl.  As for the second owl, I have seen countermarks similar to the two on that coin.  The lower cm could be a Paleo Hebrew "taw".  That could be a banker's cm or possibly a cm authorizing the use of that owl for local commercial transactions.



Edit:  I took a second look at the Phoenician alphabet. This is a long shot, but the second countermark on the first owl might be a retrograde Phoenician "beth".  That retrograde is more apparent in the second rotated photograph.

Here's a link to the Phoenician alphabet:



Edited by robinjojo
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The linear marks look more like chisel marks than test cuts.  In this paper on a huge hoard of owls found in Syria in 2007 (buried c. 400 BCE), the author (Richard Buxton) says that these chisel marks indicate circulation in Anatolia and/or Syria.

He also diagrams the most common countermarks from the hoard.  One of yours is a bit similar to #5 but I don't see a match.


My Starr group II owl has a chisel mark as well as one or two countermarks.  (Early owls like this were included in the hoard in very small numbers.)



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