Ken Eckardt submitted these thoughts on the 'weights' of slabbed coins. Thanks!
I write further to Bob Lyall's comments on 'weights' of slabbed coins (Vol. 15; No. 53; 23 Dec. 2012)
As Bob rightly points out the weight of plugged and countermarked gold, used in North American (Regulated Gold) and extensively in the West Indies, is crucial in narrowing down possible origin areas for these silver/gold smiths countermarks. There were a number of different weight standards throughout both regions mentioned above and to complicate this even further, as Bob has pointed out, many contemporary counterfeits (some of 'good gold' but simply light weight) are involved. So the weight is of paramount importance.
The other area that concerns me is that I have seen a number of instances where 'modern fakes' have been slabbed. The silver host coin is genuine, but the countermarks are of modern fabrication. This can lead to big problems in the future ... credibility of the slabbing company; loss of value to the purchaser and confusion in understanding good and bad countermarks, as these modern fakes gain a legitimate status by being slabbed. I will also mention that ‘contemporary forgeries’ are an important part of the West Indies series. They are very collectable and in some cases as rare as the official specimens. I think that these contemporary forgeries would pose a problem for the slabbing companies to handle.
Perhaps the slabbing companies should rethink the type of coins they should be slabbing and perhaps cut, countermarked, plugged and hammered coins should not be slabbed, but a better way sought to provide confidence to collectors of this material who need this type of assistance. An important aspect in the study of countermarked coins (and YES, there are modern fakes that make life difficult) is the ability to 'handle these coins' as with experience 'feel' is an important tool in determining the sheep from the goats.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WEIGHING SLABBED COINS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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