The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 27, July 3, 2022, Article 23


Here are a few items that caught my eye in Jeff Rock's Rosa Americana Colonial Coins fixed price list #23. To get your copy, contact Jeff at -Editor

Counterstamped St. Patrick's Farthing
Counterstamped St. Patrick's Farthing

2. Undated (ca. 1652-1674) St. Patrick Farthing. Martin 1b.6-Ca.10, W-11500. Low Rarity-7. Copper. Nothing Below King. Choice Very Fine, a well struck and pleasing example of this VERY RARE variety, rated a Low Rarity-7 in Syd Martin's book on the series. The obverse has been boldly counterstamped IC in individual letter punches, and thus may be traceable to a silversmith, pewter maker, or someone in a similar occupation.

The coin itself is quite nice, the legends full and bold on either side, the design details strong save for St. Patrick's face which is directly opposite the I of the countermark and was slightly weakened by it. There is a bold golden splash at the crown, and the planchet is a pleasing light tan, with surfaces that are mostly hard and very pleasing to the eye.

A very rare variety, we have only been able to locate three auction records, including this exact coin which was in Stack's Bowers November 2019 C4 auction. In that sale the cataloguer noted that

According to Sydney F. Martin in the excellent reference Saint Patrick Coinage (2018), counterstamps are rarely encountered on St. Patrick coinage, always on farthings, never on halfpennies. When encountered, these counterstamps are usually ‘crude initials struck from individual letter punches,' as here. This particular IC counterstamp is not pictured in the Martin reference, and it is also unlisted in the Brunk reference, so its meaning and purpose can only be surmised. An intriguing piece, and clearly worthy of additional study.

As colonial specialists know, there was very little that escaped Syd Martin's attention in the areas he was writing about, so to have an attractive example of an oddball piece that Syd did not know about certainly speaks volumes about its rarity. This is an example that should have been in Syd's collection – and should have been sold to him by Clem Schettino, but sadly both those gentlemen passed away prior to that occurring. We are offering it here on behalf of the Schettino family, and the coin comes in Clem's distinct handwritten envelope with his name and address stamp on the back flap. Really a pleasing piece, high grade, great color, a bold splasher, made even more intriguing by the extremely rare countermark – and all that for a fraction of the price these sold for just five years ago..........$650

For many years I collected U.S. Merchant Counterstamps by the undertype - assembling an interesting type coin collection. I didn't have many counterstamped colonials, and this would have made a fine addition to that group. -Editor

1722 Rosa Americana Penny
1722 Rosa Americana Penny

4. 1722 Rosa Americana Penny. Martin 2-A.1, W-1256, the VTILE DVLCI reverse. Rarity-6. ICG graded EF45, an accurate grade in our opinion. This example appeared as Lot 5015 in the Stack's Bowers 2016 C4 sale, where it was ably catalogued as follows:

1722 Rosa Americana Penny. Martin 2.1-A.1, W-1256. Rarity-5. VTILE DVLCI. EF-45 (ICG). 118.9 grains. This sharply struck Rosa Americana penny offers crisp detail to both the obverse portrait and the reverse rose. It is boldly toned in a blend of deep steely-copper and lighter antique gold. Areas of porosity are evident on the obverse at King George's face and on the reverse around the word VTILE, but otherwise this piece appears fairly smooth. As a rule, not an exception, bath metal coins show some porosity -- a characteristic of the metal itself. This is a scarce Guide Book variety with Vs in place of Us in the reverse legend. Provenance: From the Carolina Colonial Coin Collection. Earlier from our (Stack's) sale of the John L. Roper, 2nd Collection of Colonial & Early American Coins, December 1983, lot 81; our (Bowers and Merena's) Montgomery Collection sale, May 1998, lot 66. Bowers and Merena lot tag included.

The Roper collection is rightly famous for the quality of the coins it contained, and the excellent job of cataloguing, one of the indispensable sales in a colonial library – though it was sold at the absolute low point of the coin market so the prices realized list looks more like wishful thinking today! Those coins were quickly absorbed into some of the finest collections, and few have reentered the marketplace. This rare type, the only obverse die to have V's in the legend instead of U's, is always popular – we note that a VF20 sold in the 2012 C4 sale for $3,220. This example, 25 points higher and with a provenance to one of the key collections of the modern era is a bargain at just..........$1,400

Beautiful piece! -Editor

French Colonies 30 Deniers
French Colonies 30 Deniers

14. 1710-D [Lyon Min] French Colonies 30 Deniers. Vlack-2, W-11710. Rarity-2 About Uncirculated, very nearly in the Choice category. Light rub on the high points of either side, but with a fair amount of luster under the gunmetal gray toning. Boldly struck, with all the legends and design details as crisp as when the coin dropped from the dies. There is a crescent shaped diebreak below the first X of the denomination on the reverse, but no real marks from actual circulation.

This is a rare issue to find in high grades as they were intended to circulate, not sit in collector's cabinets. Struck on new planchets and with new designs, these were soon named mousquetaires due to the resemblance of the cross design on the reverse to the emblem of the royal musketeers. Struck at only two mints, Lyon and Metz, from 1709-1713 only. and in just two denominations of 15 and 30 deniers, this was the first billon issue struck specifically for France's North American colonies. They were over-valued in terms of metal content, only slightly heavier than the Recoined Sols which were valued at only 15 deniers, half the value of the new coin. This was purposely done, to insure that most stayed in North America and other French colonies, since no French merchant would accept them back at that valuation.

Bob Vlack estimates that this coinage stayed in circulation for at least a century, and given the average grade of most survivors today this is not unreasonable; Vlack notes some of the fluctuations in valuation of this coin, which soared to 36 deniers at the height of the Mississippi Bubble speculations in 1720 – at this valuations, much of the original mintage likely returned to France for melting. By the time the Sous Marques billon coinage started in 1738 these earlier 30 deniers had fallen to just 18 deniers, essentially the value of their metal at that point.

Listed in both the Whitman Encyclopedia and the Redbook, this is a French Colonies type that every colonial collection should include! This very pleasing AU specimen is priced well under the Redbook valuation for an average AU at only.........$400

Great example of an important piece of American numismatic history. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


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Wayne Homren, Editor

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