World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Advertising, propaganda and numismatic artefacts => Private countermarks => Topic started by: rlb48400 on November 19, 2020, 09:08:35 AM

Title: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 on November 19, 2020, 09:08:35 AM
I've recently become aware of an MTT that is countermarked (twice) with an Ottoman tughra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tughra). Stylistically the monogram is a late-period one, most likely Abdulhamid II. I know that Nejd and Hejaz countermarks on MTTs are spurious; is anyone aware of MTTs countermarked with Ottoman tughras? I've asked this question of a couple of numismatists here in Turkey and haven't been able to get a straight answer.

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Bob
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Henk on November 19, 2020, 08:39:49 PM
Twe MTT's with a tughra countermark were in the Hal Wall collection, auctioned in 1997 by Paul Bosco. the lot numbers are 452 and 453 sold for $ 400 and 525 respectively.
452 has a single tughra countermark and is attributed to Hejaz. The description states it propably dates from 1876 and the stamp is a Turkish tax stamp. It is also stated that 2 pieces are known
453 has a Hejaz counterstamp (small stamp) and also the tughra counterstamp. The coin is attributed to Hejaz as well. It is stated that 4 pieces are known.

The expert advising Hal Wall on his collection was Duwayne H. Perry. I would be interesting to know if there exists an official proclamation authorising these counterstamps.
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Figleaf on November 19, 2020, 09:21:27 PM
You need to be very careful with these horn of Africa counterstamps on MTTs. IIRC, a number if not all were debunked as modern fantasies, made to order of members of visiting military forces. I can't retrieve the story, but it is apparently old enough to have stuck in my long term memory, which still works. :'(

Peter
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: brandm24 on November 19, 2020, 09:44:27 PM
I was wondering about that too, Peter. I've seen quite a few of these on auction sites and always thought they didn't look right. I'm far from an expert on this type of counterstamp, but do have a good feel for what's authentic and what's not...Any type.
There's actually an example on an MMT on eBay right now double stamped like this one is. I tried to post it here but couldn't get it resized enough to do so. It's a huge file and wasn't possible for me to get an image that was viewable.

I'll good back and try again, or if that fails, I'll at least get the auction number so someone can take a look at it. I've always been cautious about these stamps myself.

Bruce
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: brandm24 on November 19, 2020, 09:58:22 PM
The picture is a bit small, but I think it's the same stamp as Bob posted. BTW, the coin is offered by a seller in London and has been bid up 155 pounds (7 bids). The auction number on eBay UK is 254778213284.

Bruce

Sorry, I can't post the picture because it's the wrong type of file.
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Afrasi on November 19, 2020, 09:59:31 PM
Hafner #123 shows a MTT with the Hejaz mark and the toughra of Murad V. as a "tax stamp". I have heavy doubts about that piece, because the MTT seems to be of 1900-1930, so it is much younger.

Your toughra is of Abdulhamid II., which would fit the MTT (I guess also 1900-1930) better, but I do not believe its being original.
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: andyg on November 19, 2020, 11:20:11 PM
Your toughra is of Abdulhamid II., which would fit the MTT (I guess also 1900-1930) better, but I do not believe its being original.

This particular coin comes from a seller of dodgy countermarks on ebay.uk.
He sold an amusing one the other where a '65' countermark (allegedly from Hejaz) was underneath the edge of the Tougra countermark, which given the '65' is 30 years newer presented an impossibility that it was genuine.  It still sold well for some reason.
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: brandm24 on November 19, 2020, 11:30:36 PM
This particular coin comes from a seller of dodgy countermarks on ebay.uk.
He sold an amusing one the other where a '65' countermark (allegedly from Hejaz) was underneath the edge of the Tougra countermark, which given the '65' is 30 years newer presented an impossibility that it was genuine.  It still sold well for some reason.
Yes, this guy always offers large numbers of counterstamps on MMTs. While I can't be sure because I have little understanding of them, they all look suspicious to me.

Bruce
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 on November 20, 2020, 07:33:26 AM
Many thanks to everyone for the very helpful replies. The MTT whose image I posted is indeed being auctioned on eBay but the item number is 353277489108 not 254778213284. I had my doubts about the authenticity of the marks, not least because they look a little too crisp to date to the reign of Abdulhamid II and the silence from Turkish numismatists on the matter is near-deafening.  I'll probably still bid on the item because it has a certain curiosity value but at least now I know what the risks are and can bid accordingly.

When I was a kid, an uncle of mine (WW2 US Navy then merchant marine until he retired) told me "Anytime something looks too good to be true, it is." That probably applies in this case.

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Bob
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: brandm24 on November 20, 2020, 09:54:18 AM
Many thanks to everyone for the very helpful replies. The MTT whose image I posted is indeed being auctioned on eBay but the item number is 353277489108 not 254778213284.

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Bob
These are two different coins, Bob. I also saw the one you posted.

Bruce
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 on November 20, 2020, 10:05:10 AM
These are two different coins, Bob. I also saw the one you posted.

I've been unable to locate item 254778213284 on eBay. Is the number correct?

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Bob
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Figleaf on November 20, 2020, 11:00:04 AM
Not sure if it's the same (and Bruce is still asleep), but the piccies in reply #3 come from here (https://www.ebay.com/itm/MARIA-THERESIA-AUSTRIA-SILVER-COIN-COUNTERMARK-TUGHRA/254778213284?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160323102634%26meid%3D384435e903c4472d9a00d33986da9135%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D324232458470%26itm%3D254778213284%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DDefaultOrganic&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1) and that number figures in the URL, which has the modest length of a giraffe's neck.

Peter
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 on November 20, 2020, 11:09:41 AM
The complete link took me to the item. Thanks.

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Bob
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Henk on November 20, 2020, 11:51:21 AM
I looked at the other offerings of seller (sattar-uk) offering the tughra counterstamp MTT. Indeed he has many more counterstamped MTT's on offer. In the description of all it is stated that: COINS IS 100% ORIGINAL , UNKNOWN DATE AND ORIGINALITY OF THE COUNTER MARK FANTASY ISSUE. So he states these are fantasy issues.

He also has a 1912 Indian Rupee on offer with the same two tughra stamps: 254778211875. Sultan Abdulhamid II reigned from 1876 to 1909, when he was desposed in favour of his brother Mohammed V. So his stamp on a 1912 coin is suspicious. Also the stamp is said to date from 1876. Consistent with Abdulhamid II but not with the coin.

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 have not checked but I think that the talers used are all relatively recent, 20th century ones.
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: brandm24 on November 20, 2020, 05:09:13 PM
Not sure if it's the same (and Bruce is still asleep), but the piccies in reply #3 come from here (https://www.ebay.com/itm/MARIA-THERESIA-AUSTRIA-SILVER-COIN-COUNTERMARK-TUGHRA/254778213284?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160323102634%26meid%3D384435e903c4472d9a00d33986da9135%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D324232458470%26itm%3D254778213284%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DDefaultOrganic&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1) and that number figures in the URL, which has the modest length of a giraffe's neck.

Peter

Still asleep indeed! I usually get up about 3 a.m EST and check WoC first thing...well, after I make myself a cup of coffee. ;D  BTW, Peter, thanks for posting the pictures for me.


Bruce
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 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
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Figleaf 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
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: rlb48400 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 (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
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Figleaf 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 (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,16489.0.html) struck smaller silver for the "Orient". Next came the Dutch leeuwendaalder (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,7724.0.html), 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 (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,33052.msg208323.html#msg208323). Write him a PM if you wish.

Peter
Title: Re: MTT countermarked with an Ottoman tughra
Post by: Henk 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.