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HOW DO YOU GRADE THIS USA COUNTERMARK COIN? (with an octagonal UK George III Oval)

United States Draped Bust Dollar 1799 [A coin with a difference]

Once again numismatics joins our two nations.

**Britain had a shortage of the Kings Coinage from 1751 to early in the 1800’s. **

There were 4m dollar sized coins brought to the Bank of England for use in Britain, only 400’000 had an octagonal counter-mark, the remainder had an oval counter mark with George III head inside. The dies used were those used for Maundy Money.

All the same date only maybe 6 pieces exist, all dated the same, and how could this happened? Maybe a trader with connections in the United States bought a small quantity say one bag. All the pieces that exist today are the same date with the same Octagonal Countermark stamp. The stamp is that of King George III.

Two heads on one coin. This was a time of the Industrial Revolution and Britain had a shortage of Silver & Copper. One answer for the shortage of copper coins was the creation of Tokens mainly in copper with a few in Silver and Gold.

During 1797 people could import Spanish Dollars to the Bank of England. The Spanish dollar was valued at 4s.9d.

This coin was sold in recent times in 1979 from a collection called Whetmore. Price 5’600 gbp. The condition I am not quite sure as the counter stamp created a numismatic question on the grade, **members of the forum you can give your view **

For hundreds of years, Britain relationship with continental Europe has been fractious, leading to frequent outbreaks of hostility at sea and on land. Britain’s main opponent has historically been France, but during the Napoleonic Wars Britain faced the combined forces of France and Spain. With Spain’s vast overseas possessions in Central and South America providing silver for home, mainly in the form of 8 real coins (pieces of eight) minted in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Chile and Bolivia, the capture of Spanish ships carrying bullion to Europe by British naval forces was a regular occurrence. Rarely, the cargo contained coins other than those from Spanish America such as this American dollar, Italian or French coins.

The Napoleonic Wars created a shortage of money and materials so that the price of silver and many commodities rose over the period. To help alleviate this problem, captured foreign coins were allowed to circulate at a value appropriate to the amount of silver they contained. This value was confirmed by the use of a countermark which could be either oval or octagonal in shape. The early coins were valued at four shillings and nine pence, but were revalued to five shillings in 1800 and further increased to five shillings and sixpence in 1806 as the price of silver rose. The oval marks used on the earlier issues were made with the hallmark punch, whilst the later octagonal punch was the bust used on the silver penny. Because of unfamiliarity and of the fluctuating value of silver at the time, counterfeits of these were regularly encountered. As the vast majority of Spanish coins carried the portraits of either Charles III or Charles IV, it gave rise to the saying “The head of a fool on the head of an ass”, and alternatively, “Two Kings’ heads, not worth a crown” reflecting the issue priced at four shillings and nine pence. They circulated until the end of the Napoleonic Wars, at which point were then called in and replaced with the new coinage from 1816 onwards.

With only a handful of countermarked US dollars known including those in museums, this is an extremely rare and sought-after type with an octaginal counterstamp.

Petition Crown
The Worlds Most Prestigious and Valuable Silver Coin. Thomas Simon and two Kings of Numismatics together Petition Crown & 1804 $

Comments

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 29,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If that is genuine, and I think it is, that was a rare item. The only other one I have seen was in the Tower of London collection which is on the site of the mint that was located there.

    So far as the grade goes, the host coin is an EF-40, if it doesn't get hit up for cleaning. I don't see any hairlines so I don't think that cleaning is a problem.

    I'd love to own one of there pieces, but I know it's out of my range. For this coin, the grade is really secondary, so long as the piece has not been damaged.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • rickoricko Posts: 81,007 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is an amazing coin... sort of blends American and British coinage.... Thanks for the history along with the great pictures. Cheers, RickO

  • CryptoCrypto Posts: 1,756 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is amazing. Easily a solid 5figure coin

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice!

    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Winner NLG 2020 Best Numismatic Feature Article, U.S.
  • TPRCTPRC Posts: 2,951 ✭✭✭✭

    nice...looks xf-40 on xf-40

    Tom

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 26,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 13, 2017 2:37PM

    I grade it AWESOME!

    I've seen and considered picking up countermarked Spanish reals, but that is amazing!

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 26,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's the Norweb specimen from Coin World, excerpted by E-Sylum:

    E-Sylum: http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n49a12.html

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 26,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 13, 2017 2:46PM

    As for grade, PCGS will typically give 2 grades, one for the coin and another for the countermark, like the following. Of note, while PCGS will show the C/M grade on the slab, they do not list it in the cert verification database.

    This isn't my coin but one I have an interest in (partially due to the 1776 date).

    https://pcgs.com/cert/32945425


  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 29,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So how do I go about procuring one of these! Wonderful counterstamped bust dollar.

    Save a ton of money and pray for an opportunity to buy one. :o

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do you know what's really neat? The C/S on the 1799 $ and 1794 8R both have the punch with the "spike" at the back of the head. I'm trying to find more of them in auctions or old collections on the internet without success. :(

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 8,640 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The punch looks authentic. As such - very rare coin. As was pointed out already - most of these were done on period 8 Reales.



  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 5,325 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would grade the coin & C/M separately.

    XF for both in this instance

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • BruceSBruceS Posts: 1,349 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's very interesting, a Straight graded coin and a details graded C/M. I cant tell if it Was it messed with or damaged.


    eBay ID-bruceshort978
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  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 8,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 14, 2017 2:50PM

    Very cool and great write up.

    I have one of the 1777 8r with the oval counterstamp, unfortunately it looks like it was hit with a sword or something.....

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  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    WOW on the Madrid 4 Reales! I have never seen one of those!
    TD

    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Winner NLG 2020 Best Numismatic Feature Article, U.S.
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 26,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 14, 2017 10:56PM

    @BillJones said:
    Here is the example that on display at the Tower of London. I got lucky when I took a picture of it several inches away through the glass case.

    That's a great photo taken through a glass case! Thanks for posting this Bill.

  • TLeverageTLeverage Posts: 259 ✭✭✭

    For those curious about the Norweb specimen earlier, see the attached image. It has a ton of visual appeal, and was purchased via Spink in the 50s. The coin sold at Davisson's, Ltd in 2014 for $110,000.

  • mannie graymannie gray Posts: 6,868 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The coin is a 45 to me.
    Very cool.

  • BruceSBruceS Posts: 1,349 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very Cool, That would make a kick A$$ avatar. I may have to "borrow" the image.

    @BillJones said:
    Here is the example that on display at the Tower of London. I got lucky when I took a picture of it several inches away through the glass case.


    eBay ID-bruceshort978
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  • This counterstanp of a fool they say on a fool was great - thanks for taking so much interest.

    Petition Crown
    The Worlds Most Prestigious and Valuable Silver Coin. Thomas Simon and two Kings of Numismatics together Petition Crown & 1804 $
  • carabonnaircarabonnair Posts: 1,181 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is a similar one on eBay at the moment, but lower grade -

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1799-U-S-Bust-DOLLAR-Counterstamped-Bust-of-King-George-III/132758112928

    And perhaps not a genuine countermark.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Low EF for the OP's coin.

    Did the Royal Mint actually counter stamp heavily circulated coins?

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My guess is AU-50. Additionally, I think that grading both the coin and the countermark is silly.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 29,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    Low EF for the OP's coin.

    Did the Royal Mint actually counter stamp heavily circulated coins?

    It looks like the wear on Ms. Liberty is similar to the amount of wear on George III. I'd say that this piece saw a lot of circulation or was someone's packet piece (more likely) AFTER it was counterstamped.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd be skeptical unless I had provenance and it was graded by our hosts.

    Be a great magic trick. Turn a $5k AU details dollar into a $30k rarity.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 29,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss said:
    I'd be skeptical unless I had provenance and it was graded by our hosts.

    Be a great magic trick. Turn a $5k AU details dollar into a $30k rarity.

    I found the piece on eBay, and the seller does trace it back to some collections and a Heritage auction is 1996. It was withdrawn from one auction for reasons not cited. The current bid is just under $1,300 so it is expensive, but it's not a fortune, yet.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • AthenaAthena Posts: 439 ✭✭✭

    @BillJones said:
    For those who not familiar with this counterstamp, here is what you see most of time.

    The coin looks like it had a happy model! :)

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