CONTERSTAMPS & COUNTERMARKS

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There is some confusion among collectors over the terms “counter-mark” and “counterstamp” when applied to a coin bearing an additional mark or change of design and/or denomination.

To clarify, a countermark might be considered similar to the “hall mark” applied to a piece of silverware, by which a silversmith assured the quality of the piece. In the same way, a countermark assures the quality of the coin on which it is placed, as, for example, when the royal crown of England was countermarked (punched into) on segmented Spanish reales, allowing them to circulate in commerce in the British West Indies. An additional countermark indicating the new denomination may also be encountered on these coins..