Author Topic: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny  (Read 503 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« on: November 14, 2020, 02:08:07 PM »
I really need some help on this one. I have no idea what the "traveller"counterstamp represents. It's on a George 3rd halfpenny, possibly 1806 or 7. The obverse also has a waffle shaped stamp at 1 o'clock. I've seen this many times, but have never found out its meaning. It's always on old coins like this one, but not necessarily British.

Any help is appreciaed. Many thanks.

Bruce
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Offline Manzikert

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2020, 03:34:10 PM »
No idea on the oval design (except perhaps someone testing a punch to be used to decorate some other metalwork), but the 'waffle' mark is just a roughened surface on which the piece has been rested to stop it slipping whilst being marked. I think you will find that it is opposite the wedge shaped depression at lower right on the top image, bit I'm afraid I have no explanation why it has been marked in this way either ???

Alan

Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2020, 05:01:19 PM »
Thhank you, you have a sharp eye, Alan.You're right the heavy line does match up with the waffle design.

 I have seen similar designs counterstamped on coins though, and have heard possible explanations. None were convincing. Putting that aside, the main oval stamp is the really interesting thing about this coin. I suppose it could be a matalsmith's logo stamp.

Thanks again, Alan.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2020, 06:10:57 PM »
Since the figure is holding the stick with two hands, I think he is not walking, but using a pole to move a boat in shallow water, against the background of a tree. The obvious explanation of the scene is that you see a ferryman on his ferry. The tree is there so that you'll understand that the waterside is nearby.

Peter
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Offline malj1

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2020, 10:26:17 PM »
The "waffle design" may be from the jaw of a vice.
Malcolm
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2020, 11:21:19 PM »
Since the figure is holding the stick with two hands, I think he is not walking, but using a pole to move a boat in shallow water, against the background of a tree. The obvious explanation of the scene is that you see a ferryman on his ferry. The tree is there so that you'll understand that the waterside is nearby.

Peter
It does look like a boat now that you mention it. The seller called him a traveler but I always thought he was doing something other than walking. I thought maybe digging or something like that...a farmer maybe. I wonder if the two "trees" aren't meant to represent something other than trees. Can't think of anything though.

I see what looks like two crosses at the top of the right tree. If they are crosses then it suggests a religious expression of some sort.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2020, 11:23:05 PM »
The "waffle design" may be from the jaw of a vice.
Sounds reasonable. You may be right.

Bruce
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Online Guillaume Hermann

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2020, 01:14:22 AM »
I think that when I was a teenager I saw an engraving showing a founding father gardening, probably after the independence but I can't refind it. I just found that Jefferson at the beginning of the nineteenth wrote a book about gardening and that Washington was a farmer before the war.
The trees could be the symbol of a liberty tree and the total scene a democratic glorification remembering the Roman dictator, in the meaning of his time, who went back to his fields after his dictatorship time ended.

Online Guillaume Hermann

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2020, 01:18:52 AM »
Cincinnatus, to whom Washington was compared.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2020, 10:07:36 AM »
Certainly a possibility. What I see as the railing could also be a fence (in both cases too low at ankle height). The main issue with digging is the position of the tool. When you are digging, the end of the tool closest to the soil is farthest from the legs. That is because the weight of the person handling the tool is projected forward.

In boat poling, the weight is projected backward, in order to drive the boat forward. The pole is stuck in the mud almost vertically, with a slight tilt backward, exactly as shown on the counterstamp. As the boat moves forward with what is left of the last pole push, the pole handler grabs the pole as high as he can, pushing the pole back and down, moving the boat forward. The angle of the pole with the water grows smaller until the poler's arms are all the way down and relaxed. He pulls the pole out of the mud, hauls it in if necessary and starts a new pole push while the boat it still moving. Yes, I poled, sculled and rowed boats. :)

As for the crosses on the top of the trees. I wondered about them also, but since there's no function for a cross there, I decided they were leaves or twigs sticking out, rendered a bit clumsily.

Peter
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2020, 11:32:34 AM »
I think that when I was a teenager I saw an engraving showing a founding father gardening, probably after the independence but I can't refind it. I just found that Jefferson at the beginning of the nineteenth wrote a book about gardening and that Washington was a farmer before the war.
The trees could be the symbol of a liberty tree and the total scene a democratic glorification remembering the Roman dictator, in the meaning of his time, who went back to his fields after his dictatorship time ended.
That's an interesting take, Paris. The problem is American counterstamps are almost unheard of on British coins, but this could be an exception. I'll have to think more about a US connection based on your scenario. Another possibility I hadn't thought  about.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2020, 11:51:04 AM »
Certainly a possibility. What I see as the railing could also be a fence (in both cases too low at ankle height). The main issue with digging is the position of the tool. When you are digging, the end of the tool closest to the soil is farthest from the legs. That is because the weight of the person handling the tool is projected forward.

In boat poling, the weight is projected backward, in order to drive the boat forward. The pole is stuck in the mud almost vertically, with a slight tilt backward, exactly as shown on the counterstamp. As the boat moves forward with what is left of the last pole push, the pole handler grabs the pole as high as he can, pushing the pole back and down, moving the boat forward. The angle of the pole with the water grows smaller until the poler's arms are all the way down and relaxed. He pulls the pole out of the mud, hauls it in if necessary and starts a new pole push while the boat it still moving. Yes, I poled, sculled and rowed boats. :)

As for the crosses on the top of the trees. I wondered about them also, but since there's no function for a cross there, I decided they were leaves or twigs sticking out, rendered a bit clumsily.

Peter

While the stamp isn't well done, I still think the crosses are meant to be crosses. Why they would be placed where they are is odd, unless the trees are meant to represent something other than trees.

Any thoughts on the possibility of it representing the "ferryman of the dead"..Charon maybe?

And now another question. On what other coin forum can you hear a scientific explanation for poleing a boat? I think we should conduct a "pole" to see if our members agree.  ;D

 You gotta love WoC, it's the best.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2020, 12:27:53 PM »
Any thoughts on the possibility of it representing the "ferryman of the dead"..Charon maybe?

Indeed, Charon is most often portrayed poleing or sculling, rather than rowing and he doesn't have a handy attribute for identification. However, I doubt that the banks of the river Styx allow trees to grow. Charon, the son of Nyx (night) and Erebe (darkness) is visited by going into a cave, so the Styx is an underground river.

Since the piece is holed, I would think that it may have served as identification of the bearer as an officially anointed ferryman. Since times immemorial, ferrymen are suspected of anything from price gouging to midriver rape and extortion. The counterstamp might be some kind of official reassurance?

Another thing. That hole makes the coin look like it was at one time silvered. Or is it just the light?

One more thought. If you create a tool (vise?) especially to apply a non-simple counterstamp, it's a fair bet that more of these counterstamps exist and they served for more than el-cheapo jewellery.

Peter
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2020, 12:35:28 PM »
The stamp was created with some effort so must have been used multiple times. The condition of the hole suggests this piece was worn or suspended on something for a long time.

Bruce
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Online Guillaume Hermann

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Re: Odd counterstamp on old halfpenny
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2020, 01:27:25 PM »
Certainly a possibility. What I see as the railing could also be a fence (in both cases too low at ankle height). The main issue with digging is the position of the tool. When you are digging, the end of the tool closest to the soil is farthest from the legs. That is because the weight of the person handling the tool is projected forward.
Peter, don't forget our French Semeuse, during her whole career on both coins and stamps from the 19th century to the 21st, had been sowing face to the wind...  ;)
George Washington at Mount Vernon, very frequent engraving. Many similar points...