Author Topic: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra  (Read 527 times)

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Offline rlb48400

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Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2020, 02:16:26 PM »
In my opinion having two identical counterstamps a a coin is suspicious because one counterstamp is enough and why would a coiner spend extra work in applying two? He would probably be paind according to the number of coins stamped so two stamps would be a waste of time and causing extra wear on the die so that twice as many would be needed.

I wondered about this matter (the double counterstamp) and I've received an explanation from a Turkish numismatist. These are tax stamps: in order for a MTT to be used to pay a public debt, the payer had to pay a tax on the coin--in effect devaluing it slightly. The reason that there are two stamps is that the stamp had a set value--say 5 kurush--but if the tax due on the coin was 10 kurush then two stamps were needed to show that the full tax was paid. Apparently this only applied to coins used to pay public debts--not to coins used as currency in trade--which may explain why there aren't more of them around. I don't imagine people would be too eager to pay a penalty for using a foreign coin unless they had to.

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Bob

Offline Figleaf

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Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2020, 03:15:29 PM »
That sounds quite unlikely. Of course, there are plenty of cases where a counterstamp was applied to affect the area or value of the host coin. However, in all these cases, the host was necessarily worth less than its intrinsic value (overvalued).

If the counterstamp is meant to devalue the coin, you simply export the coin to receive full value. If the counterstamp is meant to keep it in the country, it must be overvalued, or it will disappear from the country anyway.

Keep in mind that the MTT was not a foreign currency. It was the only large silver coin available and a unit of account. Taxing it would drive out the coin from circulation completely and leave the country without coins. In other words, taxing a coin in an area where the coin cannot be replaced will yield practically no tax income and cause great harm to the local economy.

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

Offline rlb48400

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Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2020, 08:47:22 AM »
That sounds quite unlikely. Of course, there are plenty of cases where a counterstamp was applied to affect the area or value of the host coin. However, in all these cases, the host was necessarily worth less than its intrinsic value (overvalued).

If the counterstamp is meant to devalue the coin, you simply export the coin to receive full value. If the counterstamp is meant to keep it in the country, it must be overvalued, or it will disappear from the country anyway.

Keep in mind that the MTT was not a foreign currency. It was the only large silver coin available and a unit of account. Taxing it would drive out the coin from circulation completely and leave the country without coins. In other words, taxing a coin in an area where the coin cannot be replaced will yield practically no tax income and cause great harm to the local economy.

Peter

Yes, but the Ottomans had a well-established and developed coinage system of their own and they would have had an interest in giving that an advantage in their own territories. I’ve done a bit more research on this and have also come across damga resmi (stamp duty) on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damga_resmi. It tallies with what the Turkish numismatist said though I’m not sure about his “payment of public debt” bit.

I agree with your analysis of the economics of the situation but economics wasn’t one of the Ottomans’ strong points and, as in all societies, purely economic considerations could be trumped by other issues such as sovereignty, prestige, and pride.

That said, I’d like to see mention of such counter-stamping in historical sources. More research required!
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Bob

Offline Figleaf

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Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2020, 10:32:50 AM »
If you look at the catalogues, the Ottomans seem to have issued a full set of values throughout their reign. However, in practice, only the copper/bronze and low grade silver coins circulated. For centuries, high grade silver coins had to be imported. The first to profit were the Spanish, with their pieces of eight. French and Italians struck smaller silver for the "Orient". Next came the Dutch leeuwendaalder, an export coin, holding forth until the wars of Napoléon, when the MTT took over. The Ottoman big silver coins just did not circulate in quantity. If the Ottomans were even unable to provide their own homeland with big silver coins, why would they want to send big silver coins to forgotten outlying provinces in the horn of Africa?

I am afraid the situation is eminently clear already. This is a modern fantasy. Our resident expert on MTTs is Levantiner. Read what he says here. Write him a PM if you wish.

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

Offline Henk

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Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2020, 11:00:11 AM »
Some additional remarks:

A lot of the MTT's offered by the seller have two identical countermarks, even those outside the Ottoman sphere of influence (eg Madagascar)
Very unlikely that in all regions the same rules/laws would apply

Also rupees with two identical Tughra counterstamps are offered. If each stamp would signify a specific value one would expect less stamps on a lower value coin

I the literature and older collections MTT's with two identical counterstamps are not seen. See the example I gave earlier.

If the MTT's were only acceptable at a discount to pay taxes or dues counterstamping is not needed. It would be sufficient to tarrif these at the lower amount.

The conterstamped coins offered by the seller are all spurious and thus have no significance.

An official counterstamp would only be applied to change or offically set the value of a coin and make it legal tender. A counterstamp could also be applied to signify it as bullion. Athough in this latter case it could simply be cut in half or taken in for melting.