Chop Marked 1884 Morgan Dollar

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Coins4Eli, Apr 22, 2024.

  1. Coins4Eli

    Coins4Eli Collector of Early American Copper

    Hello fellow forum members! I picked up this Morgan from the junk silver bin at my LCS. It appears to have a chop mark on the obverse, there is a chance that the mark could just be damage, but I just want to be sure. I know that there are some books specifically on chop marks and was hoping one of you may happen to have one. If this mark is well known and has been seen documented on other examples it would validate mine. Also, does anyone know the time frame in which dollars were being used for trade with the Orient? Any and all opinions/comments welcome, thanks everyone! :)

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    longshot and Inspector43 like this.
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  3. H8_modern

    H8_modern Attracted to small round-ish art

    I’m a huge fan of chop marks but I don’t think there’s a reference for what you want to know.

    From the web:
    大 is incredibly common and is used in many texts, articles etc. It's also quite an easy one to remember as it appears to resemble a large stick man to represent its meaning, big.

    and one of mine I’d like to know the same info about


    alurid and Coins4Eli like this.
  4. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    The mark looks like it was placed on the coin with an engraving tool so IMO it is not a Chop. Note that there is no sign of damage from the mark on the reverse.
    Tall Paul, Kentucky and dwhiz like this.
  5. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    Damage wouldn't show on the reverse of such a heavy coin, especially from a lightly struck stamp. Much like counterstamps on British cartwheel pennies and 2p coins.

    Coins4Eli likes this.
  6. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I guess you don't look at the microscopic surfaces of many coins with chops. Usually there is some evidence of the surface the coin was on impressed into the other side. I don't think most coins were not chopped on a soft surface. ;)
    Kentucky likes this.
  7. Coins4Eli

    Coins4Eli Collector of Early American Copper

    I wanted to also say that the other side of the coin opposite of the mark is pushed out ever so slightly. So I am pretty confident that it was actually punched. :)

    Also, I attempted to run the mark through Google Translate, it detected the mark as Chinese and came up with this:
    Screenshot 2024-04-23 9.30.31 AM.png
    It came up with the character "下", which in Chinese means down. I don't know if that is actually accurate, but it could possibly be helpful.
    Kentucky likes this.
  8. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Can also mean inferior...only 90% silver
    Coins4Eli and Insider like this.
  9. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    Re. the 1896. Not that it matters, but I suspect it is an incomplete inscription. I do not think it was completed. It was not done to test silver content.

    Truth in editing" added "I" where appropriate.
    Coins4Eli likes this.
  10. Coins4Eli

    Coins4Eli Collector of Early American Copper

    That actually makes sense. Considering that a trade dollar weighed 8 grains more, this coin could have been marked to show that it was worth less than the others.
    So, does that confirm that this was marked in China? Or am I jumping to conclusions too fast?
    ZoidMeister and Kentucky like this.
  11. Coins4Eli

    Coins4Eli Collector of Early American Copper

    I just looked on the Ebay archives and found another Morgan Dollar with what appears to be the same mark. Here are the pictures:
    1_b27853e1bf938fd2e9554ee8db898676.jpg 1_b27853e1bf938fd2e9554ee8db898676 (1).jpg
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2024
  12. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    If you are referring to the 1896, no it most likely confirms the opposite, in that it was intended as a gift.

    As to the 1884, it must be recognized that "chop marks" were used by Korean Merchants, Philippines Merchants, and most Cochinchina Merchants, and at the time...indeed until the late 1800s, Morphosyllabic Chinese was employed, because doing it was considered as being "educated" to be able to understand Chinese, as it also depended on what "dialect" was used, since there was 7. Not all locations involved in Trade used Mandarin.

    It is impossible to state who/what/where/why the mark was made, and could have easily been applies in San Francisco, NY, or South Dakota.

    That particular mark means different things depending on use and purpose and the intended receiver.

    I will shut up, now.
    Coins4Eli likes this.
  13. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    That "mark" is manufactured. Note the definitive "lining", or "outline", if you will.

    I also call Blarney on the "rare on Morgans' krap. It isn't. In Asian communities, it was a form of Gifting on special days of celebration including birth. So....
    Coins4Eli likes this.
  14. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor

    I have not seen another similar mark on a similar coin. Look at the size of the
    "DOWN" symbol, too thin to be used very long before the punch has to be replaced as much too thin to stand up to a number of punches. So is the 1896 in places.
    In my photo guided opinion. Hard to tell with photos. If you own them, Best wishes.
  15. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    Not all 'chop marks' or inscriptions, were "punched". Many were not.
  16. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    This is what a Chop should look like! Note the flat disturbance on the eagles wing opposite the chop. Here is the problem. Both genuine coins and counterfeit coins exist with fake chops that are better executed than the marks on the OP's coin.
    Coins4Eli likes this.
  17. Coins4Eli

    Coins4Eli Collector of Early American Copper

    Thanks everyone for the replies! I am now thoroughly convinced that the coin does not have a real chop. Thanks again for the help! :)
    I had more fun researching this coin than I would if I were to have spent that time watching TV, so in my books today was well spent. :D
    Kentucky likes this.
  18. charley

    charley Well-Known Member


    That mark is definitely not genuine. It is the Tientsin fake.

    This subject can not be viewed with the eyes and culture of Round Eyes. We will be wrong.

    If it is correct, then what dialect is it? The subtle angle shifts and curvature mean something.
  19. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    Looking at a coin under a microscope is one thing but in-hand is how most everybody examines coins. I'm saying by looking at a robust coin like a silver dollar with the naked eye or with a standard magnifying glass you'll rarely see any distortions.

  20. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I'll have to agree with you. It depends on the examiner. Unfortunately, we all don't have the same experience or eyesight. On one hand, I have personally witnessed long-time professional TPGS personnel miss something as easy to detect as reengraved design details TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT! On the other, with the experience of knowing what to look for, and what an original surface looks like, a large majority of "Chop Compression" can be detected with the naked eye. ;)

    PS It is unfortunate that most collectors did not have the luxury of learning about coins using a stereo microscope. Once you see things under a scope using florescent light it becomes very easy to recognize them with a 7x hand lens or even your eyes.
    ldhair likes this.
  21. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor

    Yeah, I have heard so many times over the years " Electronic microscopes, electronic telescopes,electronic cameras, electronic coin grading" are more accurate than the human eye. But when I was chair for Microbiology, I insisted on Glass lens
    to use oil immersion beyond 400X as you know what you see with your eye is really there and not an electronic blip. IMO
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