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A dramatic overstrike: Roman semis over Carthage Tanit/Horse


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I recently acquired yet another very dramatic overstrike. The seller had it listed as a double struck coin but the horse was very apparent on the obverse and I quickly notied a very distinctive Tanit bust on the reverse as well. Below I've attached a photo sowing the coin in the normal orientation and then showing the coin so that the undertype is in its normal orientation. Sometimes these photos require a lot of squinting and moving the photo around to really see the undertype but this one is surprisingly clear.

Surprisingly, while many of these overstrikes on Horse/Tanit bronzes are common, semisses overstruck on these are very rare. Crawford & Hersh only list a single example, McCabe lists a few more in the section on Group H1(Half weight overstrikes) in his paper on Anonymous bronzes and I was able to find none in the recent sales record. It's always hard to say for sure why the Roman mints made decisions like this, but it seems most probably that coins meeting the module preferences for a Roman semis(weight & die diameter) were probably in short supply where these were minted. Just looking at recent sales, it does seem that the smaller bronzes, which would have had smaller denominations overstruck on them, were much more common.


Roman Republic Æ Semis(11.47g, 27mm). Anonymous, after 211 BC, mint in Southern Italy, Sicily or Sardinia. Laureate head of Saturn right, S behind/Prow of galley right, S above, ROMA below. McCabe Anonymous group H1(half weight overstrikes); Cf. Crawford 56/3
Overstruck on Carthaginian bronze with head of Tanit left/Horse standing right, head turned left. For overstrike, cf Hersh, Numismatic Chronicle 1953, 6; Crawford, overstrikes 31.

By the way, if anyone here knows enough about Carthaginian bronzes to point me to a better, more specific reference for the undertype I'd be very appreciative. I have not begun to try to attribute the undertype specifically because I really don't yet know enough about them to do that, but now that I have a few Roman bronzes overstruck on Carthaginian I'm probably going to have to start looking for some references. As usual, feel free to post anything relevant.

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Very cool one! I'm especially fond of overstrikes between rival states or rebels (e.g., the Libyan rebels over Carthage coins or Judaean silver over Roman Denarii -- especially the Vespasians -- although I've been told these were strictly practical matters of the available coinage, not an act of political desecration). It's almost like having two coins -- but it's actually more than the sum of the parts because it creates a unique historical artifact of contact between two cultures.

I was thinking about another of your overstrikes that I saw elsewhere when I put in the bid on this one just recently (Adranon Mercenaries over Syracuse Drachm, giving Apollo the appearance of a helmet and the lyre the appearance of being framed by dolphins). This is the old photo from CNG in 2005 which shows the undertype well (I shared other photos including Noble's more recent in a previous comment).



The following isn't really an overstrike, but distinctive "flip-over double strike" (notice especially the legend on Apollo's head on obv.):


Here's how Hoover described that kind of error (not referring to this specimen, but in general; italics original):

“A rare variety of these errors is the flip-over double (or more) strike, where the flan flips over before it is struck again. In such a case, each side of the flan with have both obverse and reverse images present.” Hoover (2011) HGC 5: p. xvi.

(Formerly of J. Cohen Collection (which was inspired by the BCD Collection), and ex BCD Collection, purchased in January 1975. Almost all BCD Bronzes from Jan 1975 were from Bank Leu and "old stock of Jacob Hirsch," but his tag says he got it from "DGP, ex C.P." If anyone knows who DGP and CP are, please message me, I'd love to know!)

Edited by Curtis JJ
oops, used helmet where I meant head!
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