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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Overstruck||View Options:  |  |  |   

Overstruck Coins

Although most ancient coins were struck on newly made flans, it was not unusual for a coin to be struck with an older coin used at the "blank" flan. Overstrikes are important because we can firmly establish the overtype is a later issue than the undertype. Overstrikes have been used to determine not just the sequence of issues but have also been used to more precisely date issues and, in some cases, to establish the order of rulers' reigns. For some ancient realms, numismatics provides the primary or only clues of who ruled and when they ruled. Sometimes overstrikes were done to recycle worn or obsolete coins. The most interesting overstrikes were done for political reasons. For example during the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt against Rome, the rebels struck their own silver zuz over Roman denarii, thus obliterating symbols of the hated Romans and replacing them with their own.

Herbessos, Sicily, c. 344 - 335 B.C.

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The site of the native Sikel Herbessos is uncertain but it was probably located near Leontinoi. Like other Sikel towns, it supported Carthage against Syracuse, however, in 396 B.C. Herbessos formed an alliance with Dionysos I. In 310 B.C., Agathokles installed a garrison to hold it against Carthage. In 309 B.C., with the aid of Akragas, the city expelled the garrison and claimed its freedom. In the Punic Wars, Herbessos was repeatedly held by Carthage until taken by Rome. About 213 B.C., Herbesso became a civitas decumana, paying 1/10th of its annual harvest to Rome. Although it probably continued to exist for centuries, it then disappears from history.
GI72187. Bronze drachm, Castrizio series II, 1 (354- 344 B.C); Calciati III, p. 252, 4; SNG Morcom 593; SNG Lloyd 1002; Rizzo pl. LIX, 17; HGC 2 411 (R2), VF, overstruck on Syracuse drachm, weight 32.639 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 270o, Herbessos mint, c. 344 - 335 B.C.; obverse EPBEΣΣINΩN, head of Sikelia right, hair adorned with myrtle olive wreath; reverse forepart of man-faced bull right; big bronze!; rare; SOLD

Second Jewish Revolt - "Bar Kochba" Uprising, 133 - 135 A.D.

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These coins are usually overstruck on Roman denarii or drachms. The silhouette of the back of an emperors head is visible on the reverse.
SH42161. Silver zuz, Mildenberg 79, Hendin 1418, EF, sharp, overstrike effects, weight 3.150 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, year 3, 134 - 135 A.D.; obverse Hebrew, "SHIMON"of five letters in two lines, within wreath of thin branches wrapped around eight almonds, tendrils at the bottom; reverse Hebrew legend, "For the freedom of Jerusalem", fluted jug with handle left, palm branch right (symbolizing the festival of booths in the Temple); SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I as Satrap, 323 - 305 B.C.

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Found in Israel. Overstruck on an earlier Alexander, with the undertype visible on the obverse at 180 degrees at center, and piece of dotted scepter visible below A on reverse. Struck on a weight standard of c. 15.7 g, or 22 obols, at the time of the invasion of Cyprus by Demetrios Poliorketes. Most of the tetradrachms of this weight standard are probably from Salamis, the last city to fall to the Besieger. Some are overstruck on earlier attic-weight Alexanders, reduced in weight. Most have a helmet symbol, perhaps a connection to the army. A few have an aphlaston, a stern ornament, that may symbolize the Ptolemaic Navy. Rare examples have other symbols, including the bee, which may symbolize Ephesos. Other rare symbols include the cornucopia and the dolphin. The symbol on this coin is similar to those attributed to Tyre by Price, from 305 to 290 B.C. Charles Hersh gives similar dates in his article on the Demetrios Poliorketes coinage of Tyre, "Tyrus Devicta Revisted." Sidon struck a unique tetradrachm (now in the ANS collection) of this style and Attic Weight, dated year 22 = 312/1 BC. This unpublished issue, if it is from Tyre, would show brief Ptolemaic control of a portion of the city.
SH21440. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos -, SNG Cop -, BMC -, Noeske -, MÝrkholm -, SNG Delepierre -, Hunterian -, apparently unpublished, VF, weight 12.994 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre? mint, c. 306 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant-head headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Athena advancing right, eagle and monogram in circle before; overstruck, toned, grainy; extremely rare; SOLD

Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 - 135 A.D.

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These coins are usually overstruck on earlier denarii or drachms. Roman Imperial bust wreath ties are clearly visible on the reverse, as well as the back of the head and neck.
SH21684. Silver zuz, Mildenberg 167, Hendin 1431, Meshorer TJC 277, aEF, flat strike areas, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Judaean mint, undated, 132 - 135 A.D.; obverse Shim'on (in Hebrew), bunch of grapes; reverse For the freedom of Jerusalem (in Hebrew), two trumpets; SOLD

Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 - 135 A.D.

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These coins are usually overstruck on earlier denarii or drachms. Roman Imperial legend trace "TR P II COS III.."is visible on the obverse, pointing to a Nerva denarius undertype.
SH28912. Silver zuz, Mildenberg 170 (O21/R103), Hendin 1430, Meshorer 281, Choice aEF, weight 3.326 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Judaean mint, undated, 132 - 135 A.D.; obverse Shim'on (in Hebrew), bunch of grapes; reverse For the freedom of Jerusalem (in Hebrew), Lulav (palm-frond); SOLD

Mesembria, Thrace, c. 275 - 225 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Traces of a legend from the undertype are visible curving along the obverse edge, most clearly from 12:00 to 4:00. Due to the curving legend, the most likely undertype is a Ptolemaic tetradrachm.
SH65374. Silver tetradrachm, Karayotov p. 84 and pl. VII, 38 (O7/R20); Price 992; MŁller Alexander 436, VF, overstruck with traces of undertype, nice style, weight 16.945 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 30o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 275 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Corinthian helmet right over (ΠA monogram) in inner left field under arm; SOLD

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia

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Stack's listing described this coin as "one of the finest extant specimens from this mint." That may be a bit of hyperbole, but it is a very nice coin with excellent provenance.

Hierapolis (Greek: "Holy City") was located on hot springs in Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century B.C., with many patrons retiring or dying there. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi.
SH68895. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Metcalf Cistophori type 53, pl. 16, 241 (this coin), Pinder 61, RIC II 482, BMCRE II 1054; RSC II 285, SNGvA 6617, VF, full circle centering, overstruck, weight 10.826 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, 129 - 130 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P, bare-headed bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, laureate Apollo wearing the robe of a citharoedus, standing front, plectrum in right, cithara (lyre) in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Stack's Bowers and Ponterio sale 173 (NYINC, 11 Jan 2013) lot 5118, ex Hirsch 24 (10 May 1909), lot 1393; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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The ∆ engraver was responsible for some coins of the highest artistry struck at Alexandria, including one of the iconic elephant's skin headdress tetradrachms. His work began early in the reign of Ptolemy I and is believed to have extended into the early reign of Ptolemy II. A flawless example of this type, struck with these same ∆ engraver dies, sold for $29,150 plus fees in 2008!

Rare overstrike! Overstruck over an Alexander tetradrachm, which had a banker's mark. Under-type visible at 4:00 on the obverse.
GP84191. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 236 (8 spec.), BMC Ptolemies -, Wieser -, Noeske -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, aEF, fine style, overstruck with under-type effects on face, banker's mark, marks and scratches, small edge chip, weight 14.380 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 294 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis, ∆ (artist's signature) behind the ear; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, XA/HP monogram (control symbol) left; ex Forum (2009); very rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.
SH06212. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 183; Hahn MIB 196; BMC 267; BN 1; Tolstoi 277; H 196; SBCV 848, VF, overstrike, reverse struck a little off-center and date and mint mark off flan, nice brown patina, weight 11.86 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Isaura mint, 617 - 618 A.D.; obverse J J N hERACL E hRA, facing busts of Heraclius, on left, and Heraclius Constantine, smaller, on right, each wearing crown with cross and chlamys, cross between their heads; reverse large mark of value M between A / N / N / [O] and stigma [II], cross above, officina letter A below, and mint mark [ISAYR] in exergue; from the Woolslayer Collection, ex Harlan Berk; very rare; SOLD

Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example.
SH35055. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC V-2 179, Cohen VI 421, Elmer 273, Bastien Postume 367, SRCV III 11070, VF, over-struck on an older coin as usual for the denomination, weight 18.423 g, maximum diameter 31.3 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, c. 261 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing half right, reversed spear in right hand, left hand resting on grounded shield, very crudely engraved die; SOLD


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Curtis, C. "Colin Kraay's Explanation of the Phenomenon of Overstruck Reverses on Roman Imperial and Provincial Coins" in the Journal of Ancient Numismatics, Vol. 1, Issue 2, June/July 2008.
de Callataˇ, F. "A Coin with the Legend ΘPAKΩN Overstruck on an Athenian Stephanophoros Tetradrachm of AΠEΛΛIKΩN-ΓOPΓIAΣ (88/7 BC) and its Consequences for the Thasian Type Coinage" in Studies Prokopov.
Emmons, B. "The overstruck coinage of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 6 (1954), pp. 69 - 83.
MacDonald, D. Overstruck Greek Coins: Studies in Greek Chronology and Monetary Theory. (Atlanta, 2008).
Rosenberger, M. The Rosenberger Israel Collection Volume IV: The Coinage of Eastern Palestine, and legionary countermarks, Bar-Kochba overstruck. (Jerusalem, 1978).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Stannard, C. "Overstrikes and imitative coinages in central Italy in the late Republic," in Essays Hirsch. (1998)

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 5, 2019.
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