Author Topic: Ford Motor Co.  (Read 158 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Ford Motor Co.
« on: October 05, 2020, 08:04:19 PM »
A story has been circulating about the Ford Motor Co. awarding a new car to those who discovered  an example of  one of these counterstamped coins in circulation.There was also a rumor that anyone finding a copper 1943 cent would garner the same prize.(struck only in zinc-coated steel that year). Whether either story is true or not is problematic. Apparently, it was first reported in a 1958 issue of the "Numismatist" the monthly publication of the ANA. There was no mention of the date or source of the tale saying simply it was an "old one." I'm near certain the 1943 copper coin story is false, but not so sure about the ones struck with Ford logos.

Whether that was the purpose for stamping so many coins with the logo or not the fact remains that there are hundreds of examples known made up of a number of varieties.The truth of the matter has been debated for decades and even today there's no definitive answer.

Over time the issue has been divided into two groups, the co-called "originals" and the later "re-strikes."  The originals are said to exhibit a heavier strike while the re-strikes are from a shallow, light punch. At what point the coins were first noticed by numismatists is unclear but examples have been discovered on various coins (nearly all US) dated from 1899 to 1963. During my research I moved the date back a bit to 1890 whwn I discovered older examples.

Please know that none of these were actually struck in those early years, as the Ford Motor Co. wasn't even founded until 1903, Also, many of the examples on both older and newer coins show significant wear, whereas the stamps themselves are pristine. This of course suggests that they either didn't circulate much or not all after the logos were applied.

A study of historic Ford logos in an effort to date these pieces was of little help. A wild guess on my part suggests the originals that most closely resemble the logo instituted in 1927 may date their manufacture to that period. The re-strikes on the other hand have some commonalities to the label introduced in 1957. Most of the re-strikes are thought (by Greg Brunk) to have been struck in 1963 but the evidence is far from conclusive.

The varies known include  Ford/0,  Ford/1,  Ford/2,  Ford/3,  Ford/6,  Can/Ford,  Ford/Canada,  Ford/U.S.A.,  Ford (micro and large script),  and a variety with a broken "F" in the auto makers name. On this variety it's been opined that a worker recovered a damaged die from a scrap bin and struck some off. These are considered re-strikes and were purportedly among those made in 1963. The meaning of the numbers on the first few varities are unknown. It's also not clear whether the numbers were applied separately or were part of the original punch. "Can" is an abbreviation for Canada as Ford had assembly plants there as evidenced by the  Ford/Canada Variety. Most all of these stamps are in script but some in the references aren't described that way.

Possible reasons for their manufacture have been discussed. They include the earlier mentioned contest to give away a new car if found in circulation, but other possibilities include their use as souvenirs, for distribution at car dealerships, or made to sell to car enthusiasts at trade shows. The truth of the matter has eluded researchers for decades.

Despite the many mysteries surrounding them, the issue is appealing and they're widely collected by both numismatists and car buffs alike.


Bruce
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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2020, 01:55:14 AM »
The Ford story makes as much sense to me as the Nigerian stories promising a large amount of money if I just pay the transfer cost or the money that is transferred to my non-existing  bitcoin account or the large amount of money I can use in a virtual casino or ...

Hey, what if such stories were invented BEFORE the internet? Was there anything before the internet? Well, I remember this circus guy saying there's a sucker born every minute. If the story doesn't fit the facts, we can manufacture the facts that fit the story. Like Trump beating the Corona virus or Uncle Joe Stalin smiling.

So I meet a guy in a bar and he has this coin, see, and if you show it to ole Henry Ford he'll personally give you a car, provided it's black. Just because he likes you to look at coins. I'll sell it to you for as little as $50 because I am leaving the country and you can't take a car on a plane. I'll throw in the beer you are drinking if you buy it, so there's no risk for you.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2020, 11:08:05 AM »
An interesting read. I believe these pieces are quite rare. I have only ever come across 2 pieces with this countermark on the collectors groups on social media. I didn't know there were also variants. The only ones I had seen only had 'Ford'. I agree with Peter that the story that is doing the rounds about these pieces is unlikely to be true, although it is odd that nobody appears to know their real purpose, and why the figures were added.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 11:21:37 AM by eurocoin »

Offline brandm24

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2020, 06:09:04 PM »
An interesting read. I believe these pieces are quite rare. I have only ever come across 2 pieces with this countermark on the collectors groups on social media. I didn't know there were also variants. The only ones I had seen only had 'Ford'. I agree with Peter that the story that is doing the rounds about these pieces is unlikely to be true, although it is odd that nobody appears to know their real purpose, and why the figures were added.
I'm sceptical about the story too. If Ford had actually offered such a deal it would certainly be better documented. I'd love to read the ANA story to see exactly what it says, but don't have access to old issues of theirs. For some reason the ANA publications seem to be shielded to casual readers online...even issues as old as this one. I think it would benefit the hobby tremendously if they were more available.

Actually, the simple "Ford" stamp in script is very common here. Brunk has documented 169 examples in the 2013 Draft for his new reference. Many are on US Half Dollars. The most common dates found are the war issues so that may provide a clue as to when some of the originals were issued. There's only a very small number of known examples of the other varieties...badically onesies and twosies. I personally have seen dozens of these coins over the years, but all simple Ford script pieces.

BTW, the stamps known on non-US coins include examples from Canada, Britain, and Italy...a total of only 7 or 8.

Bruce
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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2020, 08:12:27 PM »
The key weakness of the story is that it doesn't explain Ford's motivation. In real life, marketeers have a budget they can spend on promotions. If they do a game or give-away, the purpose is always cheap advertising.

Say a small supermarket has a turnover of $2 million a week. It organises a game that produces a winner every Saturday, when there are the most people in the shop and you turn it into a show over the public address system. The prize is free shopping for one minute. Do you know in a flash where the most expensive products that don't go bad in a week or so are? A full caddy is probably worth something like $200. That's 0.01% of turnover. What you get back is a very effective spectacle that has people enjoying their Saturday shopping chore a bit more plus an implicit appreciation of the products the supermarket is selling.

Compare that with giving a new car, worth a multiple of the caddy, without any benefit for Ford motors and connected to looking at coins, rather than at Ford products. It does not make sense. It doesn't change anyone's mind. Winners just take the car, losers don't buy a Ford because of the game.

You can spend a fraction of the amount to a positive effect with a prize of $200 if there is a winning flyer in a closed enveloppe you get to choose when you got your car keys. The chance of winning (a car maker could afford to make that chance look fairly good) could change the mind of a prospect who is undecided on whether to buy a Ford or another brand and who likes games. You have to believe the Ford Motors marketeers didn't know their jobs and their bosses were fine with that.

Another question: if each of these coins could buy a car, why are there any left?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 10:43:51 PM »
I'm skeptical about the story too. As a matter of fact the more I think about it the more I'm willing to dismiss it as fantasy. As far as the story about the 1943 copper cent goes, I'd never even heard that one before until I was doing my research for this thread. I don't believe that one at all.

Bruce
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Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2020, 11:56:51 PM »
There is a 1949 US motion picture "Scene of the Crime" which has an interesting piece of dialog.

An informer tells police detective Van Johnson about two crooks, Turk and Lafe:



Loomis, the shoeshine man to Van Johnson:
Turk, he's the smart one.
Lafe, he's childish-like. A big kid.
He saves things.
Anything -- stamps, match covers, pennies.
He's looking for the kind of penny that automobile companies are supposed to give a new automobile for.
He's gone. Real gone.


Later the detective searches Lafe's apartment and finds a box full of pennies (US cents).


Box with pennies

I was curious about the "kind of penny" and found that the closest match would be the rare 1943 copper cent, which got a lot of publicity when one was found in 1944 by a coin collector in Long Beach, California.

In 1947 there was a rumor that the Ford Motor Company would give a new car for such a penny.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-cented-garden

Did Texas coin dealer B. Max Mehl, who offered large amounts for rare coins in the 1930's and 1940's, help this story along?

:)
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2020, 06:45:10 PM »
That's for the link to a real interesting story, WillieBoyd. Given the fact that the 1943 copper cent story turns out to be a hoax and the F O R D "mint mark" is as well (never heard that one before either) it follows that the stamped coin giveaway is false too.

As for Mehl. He was in some ways the Barnum & Bailey of the early mass marketing of coins. While he was instrumental in introducing numismatics to many Americans through his promotional efforts, it wouldn't surprise me if he was behind some of these schemes.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Ford Motor Co.
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2020, 07:02:16 PM »
While this one probably isn't related to the other counterstamped coin issues, it's interesting nevertheless.

This one is stamped on a copper cent...the date is obliterated from the strike. This was obviously stamped on a press unlike the punch stamped examples. I think this may have been from a tag press that stamped out ID tags or labels for auto parts. Obviously by the condition of the host coin a great amount of pressure was applied as would be te case with a press.

Whatever it is, it's a nice companion piece to the others.

Bruce
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