When I read about the J.L. Polhemus counterstamps in last week's E-Sylum, it jogged my memory. Some months ago this counterstamp on a gold coin was discussed. At that time I thought I remembered a $50 Slug with that counterstamp sold in a Morgenthau sale. I was away from home at the time and could not check my catalogs. This time I looked and found it, but it was not J.L. Polhemus, but rather J.T. JONES CORNER MONTG. & COMMERCIAL ST. In any case that coin would be the ultimate for a counterstamp collector. The coin was in Sale 388. 3/15/1938, lot 179.
There are very few known U.S. merchant counterstamps on gold coins. I did not recall this one. Are any of our readers familiar with it?
An Internet search turned up a reference to a J. T. Jones in San Francisco. The same document lists another San Francisco merchant at the corner of Commercial and Montgomery streets. The search also turned up a reference in (surprise!) The E-Sylum. In the Christmas Eve 2000 issue, Mike Hodder submitted a Press Release from Stack's about their upcoming January 2001 sale.
In Western Americana, "the unique 1851 $50 slug with the J.T. Jones counterstamp, an historic record of San Francisco's vigilante days."
Stack's online auction archive goes back only to July 2003, so I was unable to get an image of the coin or lot description. I asked Mike Hodder, who writes:
The coin was consigned without provenance as lot 1600 of the Stack's January, 2001 auction. Bidding opened at $6,600 and closed at $32,000. It sold into a prominent mid-Atlantic states collection. Don Kagin and Tony Terranova were underbidders. The coin is plated in Kagin, p.380, n.1, and Brunk 99.
So I went to my shelf and pulled out my copy of Don Kagin's 1981 book, Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States. The photo of the well-worn coin (see below) is not the best - perhaps it was taken from a catalog. From the book's description:
J.(ames) T.(hompson) Jones was the proprietor of the famous Blue Wing Saloon, 138 Montgomery Street. This saloon was one of the most notorious of the Barbary Coast.
Can anyone provide a better image of the coin or its counterstamp? Is its current owner among our readership? Many thanks to Dave Hirt for bringing up the topic. Interesting counterstamp on an unusual host coin.
To read the complete E-Sylum article, see: STACK'S JANUARY SALE (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v03n53a06.html)
To view the complete reference, see: Petition Of Citizens Of San Francisco For The Repeal Of The Mortgage Tax Law (1 of 2) (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~npmelton/SFRepeal1.htm)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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