Is This A Jeweler's Mark?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Marshall, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    I just picked this up off eBay and it has a countermark/counterstamp that looks more like a ranch brand than advertising. Could it be a jewelers mark? If anyone with access or lead to a list of such marks could assist, it would be greatly appreciated.
    S-255 Die State IV Countermark.jpg
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  3. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Nice, it very well could be a ranch brand as I don't see why it wouldn't be! ;) Our counterstamp person is Bruce @BRandM, let's see if he chimes in??
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  4. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    It seems reasonable that someone might want to test a new stamp on something first. If that's a known jeweler's stamp, that could really something interesting! ...but it could be a stamp for some other purpose.

    It appears to be two (2) different stamps.

    While you're waiting for an intelligent response, might I suggest it could be the mark of the Van Buren Boys...

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  5. YoloBagels

    YoloBagels Well-Known Member

    I saw that before it sold, I have absolutely no idea what it is so I didn't go for it.

    My main theory is that the stamp is an 8 Maravedis counterstamp from Spain (or other spanish country).

    Haven't heard from him in a while but I'm sure @ExoMan could help you out.
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  6. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    I purchase it because it is a late Die State S-255. The stamps show up on five of my coins, but only the J. Stapleton on the 1793 S-5 has been identified, though the J. Crosby on my S-145 may be an inspectors mark from Springfield.
  7. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    I also saw that stamp on eBay but decided not to bid although I like it.

    It isn't a jeweler's mark for sure as it's too large and crudely made. Jeweler's marks are always small and generally well crafted. No fine metal craftsman would have a stamp like that.

    I call this style American Primitive because of the roughness and crude workmanship. I've seen a lot of this type of stamp but could never really get a handle on who would have made them. My best guess is a rough metal worker of some sort...tool maker, blacksmith, hardware (maybe), or something along those lines.

    Your stamp is probably as old as the coin or near so. The crossed W style (X/W) and stop or period midway up the initials are very old styles not seen on newer stamps.

    I'm also having trouble with the stamp itself. I'm seeing "W 8" but the 8 makes no sense. I think it may actually be a "stylized" or badly shaped "S". Hard to tell for sure. In any case I like the piece very much. Thanks for posting it.

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  8. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    Thanks for your input. I'm not even sure which way it's oriented. Is it Leaning 8 M or W Leaning 8? And the crossing style you mention suggests that it is not V V 8 which I was wondering about as well.
  9. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    Here's an example of the old style W stamps, again on a very old coin. I've seen quite a few of these. The W stamp and H K J stamp are mine and are another good example of the placement of the stops or periods after each initial. The letters struck in rough saw toothed depressions is also very common on these old issues.

    Bruce WR (Crude).JPG WM 1.jpg HJK 1.JPG
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  10. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    You certainly have gotten me to the right grouping and seeing the M which doesn't cross in the same style leads me to conclude it is probably upright with the DOT W DOT 8 configuration.

    Are these types of stamps catalogued anywhere or are they still considered "wild game" so to speak?

    I have to admit that I find this intriguing after seeing them as a hindrance to attribution until now. My collection may have taken a new turn.
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  11. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    I don't think anyone has paid much attention to these primitives, either American or foreign examples. Most are American as the older British stamps are more refined and you don't see the crossed W much. Generally, examples on auction sites don't get large bids...sometimes not at all. The main reason is that attribution is nearly impossible which puts a damper on the price.

    I'm intrigued by them myself and have been noticing examples for a long while now. I haven't figured out how to research them as initials-only stamps don't provide enough information. If some showed up with additional stamps on them then it would give you something to look into.

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  12. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Some of the more common merchant punches are cataloged in the token guidebooks. But, to me, this seems almost like the revolutionary South American government stamps that were put on foreign coins to revalue them as local currency.

    Not sure what denomination "w8" would be, but "8M" might be 8 Maravedis? Spain struck 8 Maravedis coins at least until 1850, but I don't know which of the colonies used that denomination. This is from a much earlier counterstrike:

    Interestingly enough, the denomination maravedis was debased from gold to silver to copper over time:í
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  13. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Well-Known Member

    Other than eliminating a lot of former Spanish colonies punch marks (& finding that Puerto Rico did use some early American coins with countermarks), I haven't turned up anything to support my theory of an 8 Maravedis possible revaluation.

    20210103_003421.jpg 20210103_003511.jpg 20210103_004344.jpg
  14. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    Interesting theory, GeorgeM. I'll have to think on it for awhile.

    In the meantime, I've gone over Brunk's reference looking for any examples of this type of primitive counterstamp. Without exception his listings only include a description and not even a guess as to what the stamps represent. Unusual for him, but It seems that he just didn't know anything about them.

  15. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter

    I know nothing about these, but can contribute that this is a very fascinating thread!
  16. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    As process Identification, it appears that these can be grouped as follows:

    Scratch - A sharp object is used to scratch a letter or image into the coin leaving an incused (into the coin) mark.

    Engraved - Similar to the above, but using a device and process to achieve a refined and symmetric image which might also remove some material.

    Standard Stamp - A device with a raised reversed image of the detail on a stamp which is then used to produced an incused image onto the coin.

    Incused Stamp - A device with an encused reverse image of the detail on a stamp which is then used to produce a raised image of the detail on the stamp by depressing the material around the image.

    While the normal stamp is a type of die struck with a hammer or press, early and ancient coins may have the stamp directly on the striking object.

    Is this a helpful grouping? All opinions and suggestions are requested.

    In this case, the OP coin would be an Incused Stamp. Since the Standard Stamp leaves an incused mark on the coin, would that be confusing?
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  17. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    It just arrived and I've photographed it for my collection.

    1798 S-255.jpg
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  18. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    I was wondering if this might be "standards" verification mark (like Chop Marks)...or some sort of private "anti-theft" protection. The more I think of it, though, the more I'm leaning towards this just being a test of a stamp intended for some other purpose. @Marshall suggests.

    In the original pics, the base of the "W" appeared different between the stamps...suggesting two different stamps. The new pics make me think it may be the same stamp...which would make more sense. The guy was probably just looking for something to test his stamp.

    It doesn't appear to be an advertisement. I'm wondering if stamps like these were used by tradesmen to mark their tools. I'm trying to think of why I might have used a stamp like that back in the day. It could also be something like a Leper Colony stamp...before dedicated issues. Or even an owner's stamp to customize slave tags.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  19. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    Why do you think your coins were stamped like that? Do you think the stamp used was made for stamping coins (e.g. advertisements)?

    (Someone really clobbered that second coin of yours)

    The other thing I'm trying to wrap my head around are the dots. I can understand how dots were used to separate letters (like your coins do). So why does Marshall's coin begin with a dot? Could there something more to the left we're not seeing?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  20. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    I like your classifications, Marshall. The first one "scratch' is actually considered graffiti, and of course engraving is a refined type of "scratching"...but definitely not graffiti.

    Then there's damage. If a coin is defaced with a tool of some sort, a chisel for example, then it's damage. It can also be considered a counterstamp because in effect the chisel becomes a stamp or die, just a crude one.

    Here's a couple examples of scratched and damaged coins I have in my collection. Both are Irish Nationalist political statements that make their point by defacing the Queen. The first is a hole punched in the head to simulate a bullet hole and is classified as an assasiation coin. This can be considered both scratched and damaged.

    The second coin has lines scratched through her throat which has an obvious meaning.

    Bruce BC24 (1).JPG BC30 (1).JPG
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  21. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    They weren't made specifically for stamping coins, but to mark property or something the person made as maker identification.

    I don't know why Marshall's coin has a dot before the first letter. Not sure I've seen that before.There's no missing letter as a vague outline of the depression can be seen and there's no room for another letter.

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