Sometimes, you can't be sure enough

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by robinjojo, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Manila Galleon, wood block print.jpg

    The Spanish 8 reales, in both its hammered and milled forms, both colonial and republican issues, were a mainstay of commerce from around the late 16th century into the early 20th centuries. This was especially true for trade in Asia, specifically China.

    It was the Manila galleon, making two annual trips between Acapulco and Manila, that was the central link to trade between Spain and the Far East. Silver flowed east, and finished goods, porcelain, spices, silk and other luxury items returned to Mexico, eventually reaching Europe. The galleons plied their semi-annual journeys from 1665 to 1815.

    From Manila the silver coins, the vast majority being 8 reales, traveled to China, where they were used as the sine qua non currency of trade, to the virtual exclusion of coinage from other countries. This elevated status continued after the colonial period, well into the republican 8 reales coinage, notably of Mexico, Peru and Bolivia.

    As objects of commerce, the 8 reales was treated almost as bullion; coins were constantly weighed, cob or milled, to assure that the silver met the specifications of the traders. Coins passing the test were often stamped with chopmarks, seals of approval, so to speak. Other times coins were cut to assure that the silver continued to the coin's core, a practice that goes back to ancient times (as is also true for counterstamps as well).

    Here's a silver tetradrachm from Athens, a popular trade coin in the Eastern Mediterranean circa 420 BC, with a large test cut:

    17.0 grams

    D-Camera Athens, tetradrachm, after 449 BC. large test cut, 17.0 g,. 10-8-20.jpg

    An 8 reales would continue to be used in trade, passing from merchant to merchant, usually receiving additional chopmarks or test cuts. It seems that the fact a coin had numerous chopmarks did not deter the addition of one more countermark. This process continued until a coin, in many cases, has its original design elements all but obliterated, as is shown here:

    26.4 grams

    D-Camera Mexico, 8 Reales, 1744 MF, Philip V heavy chops-test cuts 26.4 grams 3-4-21.jpg

    Many collectors specialize in chopmarked coins. This specialty is a world all its own, offering a window on the almost innumerable varieties of chopmarks used over the course of the Manila-China trade over the centuries.

    So, please post your chopmark coins, 8 reales, or anything else you wish.

    Thank you
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
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  3. Evan Saltis

    Evan Saltis College Dorm Collector Supporter

    Chopmarks are incredibly intriguing, especially when we know where and who did them. not my interest, but truly admirable to say the least.
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  4. Evan Saltis

    Evan Saltis College Dorm Collector Supporter

    don't you think it would be a *little* fun to chopmark coins?

    I'd be there like "this coin has like 30 chopmarks already... why not add more?"

    of course not today, but in the times
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  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Sure, but what would a 21st century chopmark look like?

    An emoji? :angelic:
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  6. Evan Saltis

    Evan Saltis College Dorm Collector Supporter

    Please don't do this...

    Except, maybe that way we can get more teen involvement... especially girls! haha:D
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  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I assure you that I won't.
  8. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    Here is my 1802 chopmarked 8 Reales,
    A tetradrachm of Alexander (Price 879) with some test cuts as well! 03FE9C6D-D7D1-4615-8FDA-54E097F935EB.jpeg
    And a fake coin (fourree) getting caught by a test cut, I guess the really low weight before the layers all started to peel off triggered the merchant to make a test next to Domitian’s neck, unsurprisingly revealing a copper core! 5FCC1B9D-2945-48EA-BE98-1A29CC880193.png
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
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  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting fouree. Is that a denarius?
  10. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter


    $5 junk bin purchase in the mid 1980s.
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  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Back then I remember coffee cans full of Cap and Ray 8's (mostly late dates) and chopmarked coins (all worn portrait types as I recall) that were considered culls and sold at just about melt.
  12. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    yes, a ‘denarius’.
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  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.
  14. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    One thing I have seen on coins are multiple copies of the same chop. There doesn't seem to be a logical reason why this would happen since a shroff would be able to identify their chop and know they had already assayed it. My guess it that someone took a cull coin or a forged coin and used whatever stamps they had on hand to make it look like a coin that circulated in Asia and since they only had a few stamps they used them more then once. Buyer beware!
  15. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    The purpose of the chops is to see what lies below the surface. Multiple copies of the same chop suggests that someone was suspicious of the coin and felt compelled to test it in several spots.
  16. norantyki

    norantyki CoinMuncher

    Alternatively, it could be that some of the chops are simply out of standard punch sets, and that multiple merchants were using the same chop...
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