Very Rare Ancient Greek Countermarked Coin
This tetradrachm is from the ancient city of Sinope, Paphlagonia and was struck circa 330-300 BC. The obverse shows the head of the city-goddess Sinope facing right, wearing a turreted crown, at the back of her head is a countermark of a helmeted head of Athena facing right. The reverse has the inscription ΣINΩΠEΩN – A/M/H with Apollo seated on an omphalos, holding his lyre with his left hand and a plektron with his right; on the omphalos is the reverse of the countermark showing a head of the young Herakles facing right, wearing a lion’s skin headdress. The tetradrachms of Sinope were not issued in great numbers and are very rare indeed.
A coin that has been stamped or marked with a design after it was originally struck is termed ‘countermarked’. Countermarks were sometimes applied to certify a coinage for circulation in an area, to revalue an issue or to guarantee that the coin had been tested for proper silver content. The mark could also have been applied to show the coin had been accepted as a gift to the god.