Is the D on this coin a chop mark or counterstamp?
- Published: Mar 9, 2017, 3 AM
Regarding damage on coins, few post-striking impairments are more interesting than counterstamps and chop marks.
Chop marks are most often seen on Trade dollars while counterstamps are most often placed on a coin by a merchant as a form of advertising. The presence of a counterstamp or intriguing chop marks can sometimes increase the value of a coin by adding historical interest.
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Heritage’s auction held during the February Long Beach Expo and a pre-expo auction by Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers both featured a few great examples of coins where individuals intentionally stamped the surfaces to convey messages or test value.
Here is one of three we profile in this Market Analysis:
1662 Massachusetts Oak Tree twopence, Very Fine Details, Obverse Chop Mark
A 1662 Massachusetts Oak Tree twopence provides an interesting quandary: what is the difference between a chop mark and a counterstamp? PCGS graded this small 17th century silver coin offered at Heritage’s February Long Beach auction Very Fine Details, Chop Mark.
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A single letter D is prominently stamped at the center of the obverse. The term chop mark is typically used with Trade dollars to note a Chinese character or characters stamped onto a coin by a merchant to validate the weight, authenticity and value of a given coin. The D on this coin could be called either a chop mark or a counterstamp, especially since the entity who placed the big D on the coin is unknown, as is the mark’s purpose.
Regardless of what you call the D, the twopence is a damaged coin and sold at $998.75, a discount to a comparable undamaged example, which might trade for $2,000 to $3,000.
Keep Reading About Coins With Chop Marks and Counterstamps:
When a Draped Bust dollar turned into an advertisement is no ordinary defacement: Merchants would often counterstamp coins in the 19th century with their business names to help promote their goods and services.
Once shunned, Trade dollars with Asian chop marks now have a market: In 2003 PCGS began certifying Trade dollars with chop marks, and today these Trade dollars are valued by collectors.
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