US Coins

Market Analysis: Counterstamp on 1843 quarter dollar intrigues

This possibly unique 1843 Seated Liberty quarter dollar from the Q. David Bowers Collection carrying the counterstamp VOTE THE LAND FREE sold for $7,800.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

An 1843 Seated Liberty quarter dollar from the Q. David Bowers Collection has a compelling story, as the author shared in his 2000 book More Adventures with Rare Coins.

The obverse carries a prominent counterstamp that says VOTE THE LAND FREE. Bowers’ explains that the countermark was the work of the National Reform Association, founded in 1844, a group that advocated giving free land to homesteaders, prohibiting seizure of land for nonpayment of debt, and reducing the proportion of land owned by the wealthy.

This counterstamp is more often seen on contemporary large cents.

This 1843 quarter dollar, graded Choice Very Fine, is believed to be unique. Stack’s Bowers praises the well-centered counterstamp while observing, “The reverse of the host coin is a bit soft in isolated areas due to the counterstamp, but all design elements are readily appreciable, and much of the eagle’s plumage is sharp.”

In the June 18 Numismatic Americana and Early American Coins session at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ recent Santa Ana auctions, the fascinating coin brought $7,800.

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