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Ever seen a horse on an elephant? Countermarks running wild!!!


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Neither have I. However, this horse head countermark on a Seleucid Elephant of Antiochos Megas just arrived from SOL and is even cooler in hand:


SELEUKID KINGS OF SYRIA. Antiochos III 'the Great', 222-187 BC. Ae (bronze, 5.65...

Antiochos III 'the Great', 222-187 BC. Ae (bronze, 5.65 g, 21 mm). Military mint in Coele-Syria, circa 202-187 BC. Macedonian shield with facing gorgoneion in central boss. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑNΤΙΟΧΟΥ Elephant walking to right; anchor above. SC 1089.1; HGC 9, 490. Nearly very fine.


Anyone else received any cool countermarks lately? Any Seleucid elephants to show off or elephants period? Please let em run wild!




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Sometimes the placement of a countermark or overstrike is just right, isn't it? 😄 Tyche and Sol's eyes just happened to coincide on this AE from Tarsus.  (Or was it deliberate?)



Overstrike this time - I like how Kore's ghostly face (undertype) emerges from the prow on this coin from Kyzikos:


And here we have the Virgin Mary emerging Athena-like from the head of Christ on this follis of Romanus IV:


My flip-over double strike Gallenus puts a little Salus in the beard:



And back to countermarks, here's my favourite of all time... Herakles stomping out the crab of cancer!  (Thanks again, coin buddies! 🤗) (SICILY: Akragas, c. 425-406 BCE; c/m likely Carthaginean c. 405):



Edited by Severus Alexander
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That Tyche with little Sol eyes lined up of yours is OFF THE RAILS! 

Surely it was by design... or the coolest accident ever. 

Here are some more countermarks and a couple over strikes.

Classic Seleucid anchor 




Wonderful Eagle is you zoom in


What Kassander did to Philip III Arrhidaios Macedonian shield coins


A hidden cm in the bow case


Edited by Ryro
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Wow, that's a fantastic OP-addition, Ryro ... well played

Oh, and some super-cool examples from Sev-Alex as well ... great fun examples

Ummm, I had a whole bunch of great countermarks ... here are some of 'em


CILICIA, Ninica-Claudiopolis (below)

Severus Alexander, with Julia Maesa, Æ37

AD 222-235

Diameter: 37 mm

Weight: 17.83 grams

Obverse: , draped, and cuirassed bust of Severus Alexander right; c/m’s: Nike, holding wreath, standing right within oval incuse (3) and six-pointed star

Reverse: Laureate / Draped bust of Maesa right

Reference: SNG France –; SNG Levante –; SNG Levante Supp. 167 (same obv. die); for c/m’s: Howgego 262 and 451

Other: 6h … dark green patina.Rare

 Ex-stevex6 … From the Kelly J. Krizan, M.D. Collection 


Cilicia Ninica-Claudiopolis.jpg


Cilicia, Tarsos AE22 (below)

Circa 100 BC

Diameter: 22 mm

Weight: 9.78 grams
Obverse: Turreted head of Tyche right, Countermark: Radiate head of Helios right (CM: Howgego 11? Hierapolis Phrygia circa 50AD)
Reverse: "TAPSEWN" Pyre of Sandan in the form of a pyramid, Sandan on a lion within
Reference: SNG Levante 951ff


Cilicia Tarsos countermark.jpg


Heraclius.  Æ follies - countermarks (below)

610-641 AD

ca. 616/7-621/2

Sicilian mint

Diameter: 29 mm

Weight: 12.77 grams

Obverse: Crowned bust of Heraclius facing; to right, monogram; all within circular incuse

Reverse: SCLs within circular incuse

Reference: DOC 241b; MIB Km 4; SB 882

Other: Brown patina. Overstruck on a follis of Justin I from Constantinople, SB 63. Countermark very fine, coin near fine


Heraclius CM Justin I.jpg


KINGS of BOSPOROS - Sauromates II Æ 144 Units (below)

Circa AD 174/5-210/1

Dameter: 25 mm

Weight: 9.64 grams

Obverse: Diademed and draped bust right; rosette before

Reverse: Eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in beak; c/m: laureate head of Septimius Severus right, within circular incuse

Reference: MacDonald 544/2; Anokhin 618a; for c/m: Howgego 63

Other: 12h … tan-brown surfaces


Kings of Borp Eagle counterstamp.jpg


Kings of Numidia Micipsa, AE27 (below)

Date: 148-114 BC

Size: 26.76mm
Weight: 15.2 grams
Obverse: Micipsa left
Reverse: Horse galloping left., counterstamp head of Ammon left
Attribution: SNG Cop 508, Maz 55
Description: A nice bronze with bold and clear counterstamp of the head of Ammon


Kings of Numidia Micipsa.jpg


Lycia, Phaselian Silver Coinage (below)

(Revision of Alex III of Macedon TET)

Mint: Phaselis

205/204 BC (year “14”)

Diameter: 32.5 mm

Weight: 15.52 grams

Obverse: head of young Heracles right, clad in lion’s skin which knotted at neck

Reverse: [ΑΛ]ΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ behind Zeus seated left, holding eagle on extended right hand and resting on scepter held in left, ΙΔ (=14) above Φ (= Phaselis) below Zeus’ right arm (Seleucid anchor countermark in left field)

Reference: Identification and Certification by David R. Sear Services

Other: F and of historical interest


Lycia Phaselian revision of Alex III TET a.jpg

Lycia Phaselian revision of Alex III TET b.jpg


PAMPHYLIA, Side. Gallienus, Æ 11 Assarion (below)

253-268 AD

Diameter: 30 mm

Weight: 14.25 grams

Obverse: Laureate and draped bust right above eagle standing right, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; IA obliterated by c/m of Є within circular incuse

Reverse: Athena standing facing, head right, holding spear and [thunderbolt], with shield at side; pomegranate to left

Reference: SNG France –; BMC 104; for c/m: Howgego 805

Other: 6h … brown surfaces


Pamphylia Gallienus.jpg


PAMPHYLIA, Perge, Æ18 (below)

Circa 50-30 BC

Diameter: 18 mm

Weight: 3.92 grams

Obverse: Cult statue of Artemis Pergaia facing within distyle temple; c/m: sphinx seated right within circular incuse

Reverse: Bow and quiver

Reference: Colin Series 7.2; SNG BN 373-8

Other: 12h …dark brown to black patina with earthen highlights/deposits

Ex-stevex6 … From the estate of Thomas Bentley Cederlind

Pamphylia Perge Countermark.jpg


Seleukid Kingdom. Antiochos I, Æ20 (below)


280-261 BC

Diameter: 20 mm

Weight: 4.52 grams

Obverse: Macedonian shield with anchor as central boss

Reverse: Elephant right; c/m: anchor

Reference: SC 339.4; WSM 946

Other: green-black patina, minor roughness


Seleukid Kingdom Antiochos I.jpg


Heraclius AE40 nummi follis (below)

Struck at Syracuse, Sicily

Overstruck on a large follis of Anastasius from Constantinople

circa 622 AD or earlier

Diameter: 33.5mm

Weight: 13.6g

Obverse: Facing bust of Heraclius, monogram-cross beside, all within 9mm countermarked circle, bust of Anastasius clearly identifiable underneath

Reverse Large M from original undertype, mintmark CON overstamped with SCLS mintmark


syracuse heraclius countermark 2.jpg


... Hi


Edited by Steve
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@Ryro....That's a nice interesting op coin!

No cm's here but elephants...normal_SUNGA_2_ELEPHANTS-removebg-preview.png.000695268e81d26d82871f707be012aa.png

Sunga Dynasty 1/4 Karshapana 185-173 BC
Cast Copper approx 14mm diameter 1.6gr
Obverse..Elephant without (top coin) with (bottom coin) rider.
Reverse..Chaitya, with crescent above.
Mitchiner ACW-4366


Chalukyas of Gujarat - Rana Hastin (900-1000 AD)-Silver Dirham
9mm diameter/0.50gr
Obverse- Elephant facing right.
Reverse- Legend in two lines 'Rana Hasti'.
Fishman / Todd U8.7


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That's a fantastic countermark @Ryro! I love when you can tell that the person placing it did so very carefully (or with tremendous luck).

I've got a little subcollection with a few dozen countermarks on bronze Greek, RPC, and RIC. I don't have a horse-over-elephant, but I do have a mouse-opposite-horse!

It's one of my most recent countermark pickups (about the same time I also bought a group lot of Richard Baker's Greek cm-coins from CNG, but none as interesting). I think this is my first one of the countermarks that "comes up" (the horse, lower-right image closeup) from the surface of the coin. (I.e., where one is struck normally incuse, but on the other side there is also a small countermark die, which basically functions like an obverse die.) I don't know the term... would we call that "raised," or maybe "in relief"? There's a second one on the same coin, a "relief" lyre opposite the usual "incuse" lyre.


The same group of 2-5 countermarks (mouse, Apollo [?], "relief" horse head, "incuse" lyre, "relief" lyre) appear regularly on these Alexandria, Troas bronzes with Apollo facing (unfortunately, Apollo's facing head is almost always obliterated). The horse is actually the "obverse" to the countermark of Apollo (?) laureate, facing left. But on my specimen, the mouse was struck partially over the Apollo cm, so it's also nearly opposite the horse (which luckily survived). 

Interestingly, the lyres and the mouse countermarks seem to be addressing different aspects of Apollo. Most Greek and Roman Provincial collectors are familiar with Apollo Musagetes (or Apollo Citharoedus, that is, Apollo the musician god). The "other Apollo" being invoked on this type is the fascinating Apollo Smintheus [alt: Smyntheus], "the 'Mice-Slayer', who sometimes protected the Greeks against disease-ridden vermin and at other times punished mortal hybris by sending debilitating plagues" (Leu WA 19 [26 Feb 2022], 1058)

Troas, Alexandria is the main site of the Cult of Apollo Smintheus, and a temple in his name. There's a nice Numiswiki article, apparently authored by Joe Sermarini in 2007. (Perhaps it was also a case of "temple sharing," and the temple served the Apollo of Music too? I've seen it suggested that the mouse counterstamps may have been part of a ritual or donative, maybe responding to a plague or outbreak of vermin or some such... Greek religion is fascinating but also confusing to me, having been born in one of the recent millennia!)

See also Mabbott Collection example, Part I, Lot 1346; Lindgren III A300a (Plate 94), same mouse & lyre; Wroth, BMC Troas, p. 12, No. 34 (not illustrated)Savoca 4th Blue (29 Dec 2017), 314same host with different countermarks, see the Munzkabinett Berlin example (Inventory No.: 18268248) on Corpus-Nummorum.eu.

Edited by Curtis JJ
clarify Musagetes & Citharoedus; adding a bit I forgot about Cult of "Ol' Sminthy" at Alexandria
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