Overstrikes & Mules


Overstrikes and mules are an important resource in the problem of sequencing coins, particularly those of the Byzantine issues of the 13th and 14th centuries. I intend to list below as many references to the overstrikes and mules of this period as I can find, beginning with the trachea of Andronicus II and Andronicus III.

A: Thessalonican trachea of Andronicus II and Andronicus III.

1. Longuet's Thessalonika Hoard.

Until recently most of the published overstrikes of the Thessalonican trachea were those found in Longuet's "Thessalonika" hoard of mainly Andronicus III types. They are detailed in Bendall's report on that hoard in American Numismatic Society Museum Notes (ANSMN) 29, 1984, and also in Bendall's PCPC, and are summarised below. Unfortunately these overstrikes mostly only appear in small pictures in both of these publications, which means that it is difficult to check most of them, and this should always be kept in mind if difficulties arise in future.

[My own comments, where there is some question as to the reliability of the listed overstrike or the certainty of the data as published, are shown in square brackets below].

    S.2373 on S.2360.
    PCPC 284 (Longuet 2) on S.2486 [apparently].
    S.2484 on S.2367 [? - unlikely but not impossible, although a later undertype seems more likely, and in fact the coin in question seems to be doubly overstruck].
    S.2483 on John Orsini denier. [Doubtful? - I have seen two overtrikes of this type on deniers, although in both cases it is doesn't seem that the undertypes were the Orsini coin - in fact they seem more likely to have been debased "Dux Atenes" types like those issued by the Catalans in Athens after 1311].
    S.2486 on John Orsini denier.
    S.2487 on John Orsini denier. 
    S.2487 on S.2486.
    S.2491 (Longuet 16) on John Orsini denier (perhaps) - [uncertain, but quite possible].
    S.2486 on S.2364[?] on S. 2392 [or Longuet 17?] - [highly conjectural, but possible - there are a number of possibilities for the ultimate undertype - see S.2364 in
    "The Thessalonican Trachea of Andronicus III"].
    S.2490 on S.2453 [on 2465 more likely].
    S.2501 on LPC 236:5 (perhaps); [i.e, on the standing emperor type Longuet 15 - but very unclear].

Two other Andronicus III overstrikes, not actually in the Longuet hoard, were listed in PCPC:

    S.2501 on S.2500 (ANSMN 29, Pl. 26,1). [Another more recent possible example of this overstrike is Berk's BBS144-505, with S.2501 apparently overstruck on a two-figure type].
    S.2483 on S.2459 (quoted in PCPC from Touratsoglou) - [Unlikely, but not impossible].

2.   Bendall's Reconstructed Hoard of 2000.*

In Num. Chron. 2001 Simon Bendall reconstructed a hoard of Palaeologan trachea, which included the following overstrikes and mules:

S.2370 muled with/overstruck on S.2387?

Bendall No. 147. See Other Finds below for other mules/overstrikes of S.2370 on/with 2387.

S.2384 muled with/overstruck on S.2392/2457.  

Bendall No. 145. A reverse of S.2384 is here apparently muled with a large 6-leaved star obverse. Bendall assumed that the obverse was S.2393, but this seems unlikely in view of the probable overstrikes recorded below of S. 2393 on 2387, and S. 2387 on S.2384, so the obverse is is presumably S.2457 or 2392.

Actually, I have my doubts about this coin (and similar "mules" with large star or cross obverses) - it may be that the obverses on these types are from simple makeshift dies made up in a hurry - see note on Large Star/Flower obverse types in "Sequencing the Thessalonican Trachea". Or this coin may simply be an overstrike, which would make much more sense.

S.2383 on S.2391.  

Bendall No. 71.  Another example is shown in the "Other finds" below.

S.2391 on S.2373.

Bendall No. 89. 

S.2457 on S.2492.  

Bendall p.277 - another example is shown in the "Other finds" below.

* This hoard is now referred to as Thessalonica (VII) 2001.

3. Bendall in Numismatic Circular 2007.

In Num. Circ. 2007 Bendall published a revised version of his earlier overstrike diagrams in PCPC. This included a number of new overstrikes found by him, or reported to him by others. (One or two of them may actually be coins shown in Section 4 below). Those new overstrikes which are not also noted elsewhere in this data page are listed below - it should be noted that most of them are simply quoted without illustration by Bendall, some apparently from other sources; hence they have not been confirmed by me, so that I regard them as provisional only. However, all of them are in fact consistent with the sequencing scheme proposed in "Sequencing the Thessalonican Trachea", provided we (now) put S.2500 and 2501 after Longuet 2, which would of course make these types issues of John V if we take Longuet 2 to be the first issue of this emperor, which is by no means certain.

S.2457 on S.2392.

S.2482 on S.2376(?).

Bendall makes this only a possible overstrike.

S.2486v (S.2315?) on S.2385.

Bendall lists the overtype as DO 928, which presumably means S.2315 in this context (see discussion in "S.2315 and S.2486" ).

S.2486v (S.2315?) on S.2482.


S.2482 on S.2385.

S.2484 on S.2483.

S.2487 on S.2497.

Bendall's photos (figs 1 & 2, p.202) show, for the undertype, the top half of an emperor holding a sc. cr., with a "K" (star?) above right on the obverse, together with a single short vertical line on the bottom of the reverse (part of a monogram?). He tentatively takes this undertype to be S.2497, which seems reasonable, although it would be nice to confirm this important overstrike.

Longuet 2 ("DO 1118") on S.2487.

I take it that "DO 1118" here means DO 1188.

S.2500 on Longuet 2.

S.2525 on denier of John II Orsini(?).

This overstrike is shown as uncertain, presumably meaning that the attribution of the denier undertype to John II Orsini is uncertain.

Note that Bendall's new diagram does not show S.2383 on S.2391, which he himself reported in his 2001 article (see last section).

4.   Other Finds.

Other overstrikes which are known to me are listed below. Most of these derive from the "2004" finds of Palaeologan types (cf. "Some Palaeologan Finds").

S.2370 on S.2387.

Struck obverse on reverse. The cross-in-circle labarum heads of the undertype can be seen on the obverse (right) at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. Note also the star bottom right on the reverse. Bendall 147 above lists another possible mule/overstrike of 2370 and 2387.

S.2370 on S.2387 (1.28g).

S.2370 muled? with S.2387.

S. 2370 reverse overstruck by/muled with S.2387 obverse, as #147 in Section 2 above (same reverse die at least).

S.2370 on/with S.2387 (1.39g).

S.2379 on S.2391?

The undertype here is obscure but you can see traces of a star above right and perhaps below left on the undertype.

S.2379 on S.2391? (1.54g).
(Image courtesy Heracles Numismatics).

(Thanks to a reader for drawing attention to this overstrike).

S.2383 on 2379.

The patriarchal cross on the undertype can be seen to the left on the reverse, partially overstruck by the the emperor's left arm on the overtype. I have another possible but uncertain example of this overstrike.

S.2383 on S.2379 (1.20g).

S.2383 on S.2391.

On the reverse (on the left) the barely visible undertype emperor is aligned towards 2 o'clock - part of one star can be seen above left, with parts of two more at the bottom.

S.2383 on S.2391 (0.7g).

S.2384 on S.2315?

On the right of the reverse undertype the emperor appears to be holding a patriarchal? cross, and part of a star can also be seen.

S.2384 on S.2315? (1.47g).

S.2385 on LPC 80:23 (= Grierson 1465, DO 774-7).

This coin is shown with the undertype more or less upright. (As noted in the Note "Some Palaeologan Finds", LPC 80:23 is evidently an issue of Thessalonica). In principle the undertype could also be the variant type wth a Patriarchal cross obverse.

S.2385 on LPC 80:23 (2.1g).

S.2387 on S.2315.

A patriarchal cross and part of a star can be clearly seen to the right on the reverse. This is a particularly important overstrike for ordering the issues of the 1310's.

S.2387 on S.2315 (1.12g).

S.2387 on S.2384?.

The bottom of what seem to be the sagion and akakia of S.2384 can be seen bottom left on the reverse, with parts of the star, and the top of a wing shows on the left of the obverse. On another example known to me S.2387 is overstruck on a type with a winged cross on the obverse, again presumably S.2384.

S.2387 on S.2384? (1.47g).

S.2392? on S.2372? (on S.???).

A complicated double, or perhaps even triple, overstrike - the obverse of the top type is apparently a 6-leaved star so this type is presumably S.2392 rather than S.2370, and the intermediate (or ultimate?) undertype appears to be S.2372, judging from the (only partly visible) symmetric loros "waist band" below right on the obverse, plus the corresponding bust of a military saint on the other side of the lip. The third type is unclear.

S.2392? on S.2372? on S.???? (1.6g).

S.2393 on S.2387?

Struck obverse on reverse. The star bottom right on the reverse (left) and the cross-in-circle top right on the obverse suggest that the undertype here is probably S.2387.

S.2393 on S.2387? (0.66g)

S.2395 on S.2372.

Struck obverse on reverse (as is often the case with such strikes, the final obverse shows only weakly). One of the Lis's on the undertype can be seen to the left on the obverse, together with the bottom of the emperor's loros and sagion. The top of a Saint's head and sword can be seen at the top of the reverse, showing that the undertype is S.2372, rather than S.2390.

S.2395 on S.2372 (1.17g).

S.2454 reverse muled with S.2455 obverse.

At least two examples of this combination are known, CNG67-1911, and another on the Forum website in July 2006. They are from different die pairs, so perhaps we are dealing with an intermediate issue here, rather than simple mule.

S.2457 on S.2393.

Overstruck obverse on reverse.

S.2457 on S.2393.
(Image courtesy Rudnik Numismatics).

S.2457 on S.2492.

Overstruck obverse on reverse.

S.2457 on S.2492 (1.6g).

S.2458 on S.2372?.

Struck obverse on reverse. The undertype could possibly be S.2390, but 2372 seems more likely. There is probably another type involved as well, possibly S.2395, as part of what might be a Palaeologan monogram can be seen bottom right on the reverse. It's worth noting here that the better examples of S.2458 (and S.2482) share stylistic similarities with S.2372, both in terms of design elements and careful flan fabrication.

S.2458 on S.2372? (1.8g).

S.2459 on S.2385.

CNG67-1912. The undertype can only be S.2385 - the images here are aligned with the "canopy" upright - the right hand column and half of the arch can be seen on the reverse.

S.2459 on S.2385 (1.18g).

S.2465 on S.2377 or 2379?.

A patriarchal cross can be seen to the left on the undertype - the undertype is either 2377, 2379 or even perhaps 2315, most likely 2379 as there appears to be no star lower left. (S .2389 would seem to be a very unlikely undertype).

S.2465 on S.2377/2379/2315? (1.97g).

S.2482 on S.2395?.

The undertype here is a winged emperor, presumably S.2395 (with the emperor's head at 10 o'clock on the reverse), although S.2371 or even 2378 are not impossible.

S.2482 on S.2395? (1.4g).

S.2482 on S.2458.

These two types are stylistically related, and the undertype here certainly appears to be S.2458. The coin is struck reverse on obverse, with the head and raised arm of the archangel top centre on the reverse (of S.2482), the emperor running from 1 o'clock to 7 o'clock, and with part of one of the patriarchal crosses a little above centre.


S.2482 on S.2458 (1.5g).

Another coin in my possession is probably also an example of this overstrike.

S.2485a (Longuet 15) on S.2485b (Gr. 1468)?

A patriarchal cross can be seen on the bottom edge of the obverse here. The undertype is possibly the seated emperor type Gr. 1468, although there are other possibilities.

S.2485a (Longuet 15) on S.2485b (Gr. 1468)? (0.80g).
(Image courtesy Rudnik Numismatics).

S.2486v (= S.2315) on S.2393/2457/2392.

(See Note "S.2315 of Michael VII and S.2486 of Andronicus III" for a discussion of this type).

The reverse of S.2315 is here combined with a large 6-leaved star obverse, presumably from one of the later types S.2393 or S.2457, or perhaps even  S.2392. At first sight one might think that this is a mule, since no real trace of the overstriking S.2315 obverse (B. St Demetrius) is visible. However, the leaves of the star are wrapped around the sharply curved lip of the flan, suggesting that they are from the obverse of an overstruck coin - perhaps the overstriking obverse was too worn to register significantly. (Or maybe the the obverse is from a makeshift die - see note on Large Star/Flower obverse types in "Sequencing the Thessalonican Trachea").

S.2486v (= S.2315) on S.2393/2457/2392 (1.2g).

S.2492 on S.2360.

Struck obverse on reverse.

S.2492 on S.2360.

S.2492 on S.2391.

The emperor's head on the undertype can be seen at 12 o'clock on the reverse, intersected by the circular border of the overtype, together with two stars to the right. The obverse of S .2391 is best described as a (diagonal) cross of four leaves with star points between the leaves, and the tip of one of the leaves of the cross can be seen on the obverse at 4 o'clock, together with one of the star points at 2 o'clock.

S.2492 on S.2391 (2.49g).

DO 1190 (Longuet 22) on S.2368.

On the obverse only a faint trace of the Archangel on the overtype can be seen, while the head of the Archangel (with spear) on the undertype is aligned to 1 o'clock. The city at the base of the reverse of S.2368 appears at 5 o'clock on the reverse here. For the reverse of S.2368 see coin illustrated in Data Page "Some Palaeologan Finds".

DO 1190 on S.2368 (0.77g).

DO 1190 (Longuet 22) on S.2485b (Gr.1468)?

The undertype on the reverse (shown upright here) shows on the bottom edge a figure holding a patriarchal cross in his right hand, with perhaps the corner of a B to his left (more obvious on a blow-up). The undertype could be S.2486 but S.2485b (= Gr.1468) would seem more likely overall.

DO 1190 on S.2485b (Gr.1468)? (1.53g).
(Image courtesy Rudnik Numismatics)

Longuet 2 on S.2497.

In 2008 I was sent photos of what is fairly clearly an overstrike of Longuet 2 (LPC 360:3, PCPC 284) on the mounted emperor type S.2497. They are shown below.

Longuet 2 on S.2497 (1.36g)
(Collection of the late Scott Biever).

The top pictures show Longuet 2 upright, with Christ standing to the right on the reverse (right hand picture), the emperor crouching below left (his upraised arm can be clearly seen) , with fragments of the cross in circle above him. The bottom pictures show S.2497 upright, with the Palaeologan monogram on the obverse on the left (with the A Pi below, and star below left), while the horse's forelegs can be seen at the bottom of the reverse (behind Christ on the top picture).

Although not immediately obvious, there can be little doubt as to types involved; this overstrike is important evidence for the sequencing of the late Andronicus III types. .

S.2497 on? S.2484

This odd coin shows the impression of S.2497 on one half of the coin and S.2484 on the other. It is shown below with S.2497 upright; the head of the emperor on S.2484 can be seen at 4'oclock on the reverse, with the head, arm and upper body of the angel(?) at the bottom. It is not immediately clear which is the overtype, but the 2497 impression is sharper and on close examination it seems that the hindmost leg of the horse on 2497 is struck over a faint impression of the body of the angel on 2484.

S.2497 on? S.2484 (0.81g).

Although very not clear CNG e313-518 from the Iconodule collection seems to be another example of the same overstrike.


©Ross Glanfield.

January 2006.

Last revised:  8 Jan. '06:  S.2458 on S.2372 added.
                   11 Jan. '06:  S.2385 on LPC 80:23 added.
                   11 Sep. '06:  S.2383 on S.2379 added.
                   29 Sep. '06:  S.2384 on S.2315?, and S.2387 on S.2315 added. 
                   19 Nov. '06:  S.2492 on S.2360 added.  
                   16 May '08: Longuet 2 on S.2497 added.  
                   14 Jan. '09: DO 1190 on S.2368 added.  
                   21 July '09: Bendall's overstrikes from N. Circ. 2007 added. 
                   10 Oct. '09:  Possible S.2497 on S.2484 added. 
                     8 Dec. '10: S.2370 with S.2387 added. 
                   19 July '11:  Reporting of some of Bendall's 2007 overstrikes corrected in Section 3.
                   17 Feb. '13:  S.2457 on S.2393 added.
                   17 Feb. '13:  DO 1190 on S.2485b? added. 
                   10 Oct. '13:  Another possible S.2497 on S.2484 noted. 
                   19 Mar. 15:   S.2485a (Longuet 15) on S.2485b (Gr. 1468)? added. 
                   11 Mar. '16:  S.2379 on S.2391? added.

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