Counterstamped Coins – The References

Ever since I brought up the topic of counterstamped (or countermarked) coins in my earlier blog post, Counterstamped Coins – Twice The History, the responses, questions and comments have flooded in. Apparently there is a large following of this very interesting sub-genre of collecting, and a severe lack of material on the subject. At least, that’s what I understand from the responses that I’ve received. Counterstamped coins were never a focus of my own collecting. They were always more of a curiosity, something occasionally encountered at a show or shop, an enigmatic circle of copper or silver that someone long ago put their name or business to in an effort to drum up some business.

When I acquired my old Sloop Halfpenny it lay in my collection for quite some time before the research bug bit me and I began searching for T.F. Haywood. The inspiration came from an article by Q. David Bowers which appeared in “The Token: America’s Other Money”, a collection of essays published by the American Numismatic Society in 1994. Bowers’ 48 page contribution entitled “Two Coins In One: Large Cents With Interesting Counterstamps” was the only information I had found dealing with these interesting artifacts. When the responses started coming in regarding the posts I had written about counterstamps, I knew many people would probably appreciate some direction in their pursuit of more information on the topic. Here’s what I’ve found. Happy hunting!

1. American and Canadian Countermarked Coins by Gregory C. Brunk

This is THE countermark reference. When you find a counterstamped coin for sale by a reputable dealer, you find a reference to Brunk. A hard to find reference, most easily found in your local library. Copies can occasionally be found on Amazon or eBay. If you are having particular difficulty locating a copy, contact publisher Rich Hartzog at Historical information and a comprehensive price guide are features of the newest edition. Also check for the title “Merchant and Privately Countermarked Coins: Advertising On The World’s Smallest Billboards”.

2. Merchant Counterstamps on American Silver Coins by Maurice M. Gould

A short, descriptive volume on the counterstamps common on early American and Spanish silver coins.

3. World Countermarks on Medieval and Modern Coins: An Anthology by Gregory C. Brunk

An excellent hardcover anthology, 400 pages in length, showcasing articles from the venerable publication “The Numismatist”. If you are a true counterstamp addict, or just a newbie wanting all the relevant backgrounf information on this subject, dive into this one!

4.The Token: America’s Other Money, edited by Richard G. Doty, Coinage of the America’s Conference #10

This is a sweet little hardback with essays by many of the greats of numismatics covering topics from encased postage advertising to advertising tokens and counterstamps. The pertinent essay by Bowers begins on page 65 and runs for the next 48 pages, shedding light on many aspects og the counterstamp how, why and who.

The historical implications of these coins is overwhelming. Be sure to read my adventure in discovering the identity of T.F. Haywood in my previous post, link provided above. If you truly want to broaden your collecting horizons, this area of numismatics is for you!

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