Whoa! That is super cool Randy. Now if you had a coin with the c/s to match!
Funny, I think that could be arranged.........
Originally Posted by Region 8 Admin
This counterstamp, B. F. Adams, may be of Benjamin F. Adams a silversmith of Troy, NY circa 1845. It could also be that of a patent holder also named Benjamin F. Adams who in 1846 patented machinery for making cordage. I tend to think that the silversmith is the most likely due to the size and style of the stamp.B.F.Adams CS.jpg
Although possible both of these Benjamins could be one person?? I don't know.
Last edited by copperhobbie; 04-14-2012 at 02:59 PM.
Common names like Adams, Smith, Jones, etc. sure present more of a challenge where counterstamp attribution is concerned. In the case of this B.F. ADAMS mark, I found over a dozen potential candidates, searching early directories and patents. Like George Washington, G.W., Ben Franklin or B.F. tended to foster a goodly number of namesakes in the 1800's. One was a dentist, located in NY City in 1856.
One Benjamin F. Adams did catch my eye in a patent search, but his location was not cited. In "A Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1851" one Benjamin F. Adams secured patent #8501 for an improvement in cheese, butter and bread cutters. His invention was a circular, revolving table, having a knife attached to a shaft operated by use of a treadle. It purportedly allowed for cutting without crumbling or waste. Then too, there was another patentee of that name, located in Springfield, Mass. in 1882. He patented a kitchen utensil ... Same guy?
In addition to silversmiths and jewelers, many counterstamps have been attributed to cutlers, and this avenue is another possibility, given the small size and style of this mark. Perhaps, there's an antique knife or kitchen utensil laying about with a matching mark? Finding that proverbial needle in a haystack would solve this counterstamp attribution. Happy hunting, copperhobbie!
Last edited by Chautauquan; 05-01-2012 at 01:56 PM.
A Heartbreaking Half Cent
If you love Classic Half Cents, do avoid looking too long at the below pic. Nightmares may ensue ....
Yes, that's original mint red, dressing the surface of this copper, and there's virtually no wear apparent. Looks like it may have been counterstamped just outside the mint! While the issuer may have been a Philadelphian, the identity of "H F" may well forever remain a mystery. Odds are that his first name was Henry, but that's just an educated guess. Also, given the date and condition of this host coin, these counterstamps may have been applied in the Hard Times era
Condition aside, the neat thing about this coin to me is the pictorial. It looks like a tomahawk that's been strategically placed below the initials. Perhaps, the issuer was an arms dealer or inspector? The counterstamps, H, F and the tomahawk, appear to have been individually applied; this, as opposed to being the product of a single, prepared punch. The key to perhaps someone, someday attributing this issue may well be the pictorial. Just what product might a tomahawk have been applied to? Might such a product presently be residing in a museum somewhere? Time may yet tell ....
Probably 90% of the time that I'm able to attribute a counterstamp having the first initial "B" as in B. SMITH or B. JONES, the guy is a Benjamin. So, when I first acquired this B. GAFFET counterstamp, I naturally began searching for a Benjamin Gaffet; and, without success. Fortunately, the name GAFFET is so unusual that I was able to find the most likely issuer ...
One Beriah Gaffet is listed in the 1854 Providence, RI city directory. His occupation is given therein as a machinist, then working at 36 Knight. He appears in 1889, then listed as Beriah N. Gaffet, residing at 30 Willow. Born in 1824, Beriah N. Gaffet died in 1910; this, according to cemetery records.
One of the things that strikes me as being unusual about this piece is that, if indeed this is Beriah's mark, he didn't use his middle initial - N. That initial was lacking in the 1854 directory as well. To my personal experience, if a 19th century counterstamp issuer had a middle initial, he would most likely include same in his mark. The inclusion of middle initials on counterstamps is a major clue for the sake of attribution. Indeed, unusual names and uncommon initials are often factors that I consider when making a purchase. Such clues certainly do make the mystery more solvable!
Beriah appears to have taken some care in the placement of these two, obverse counterstamps. They're at right angles, flanking the matronly Lady Liberty. The host coin was heavily circulated and most likely endured much of its wear prior to being stamped. The 1850's were the heyday of coins being counterstamped. Beriah would have been around thirty years old at the time, give or take a few years.
Neither Brunk nor Rulau listed this counterstamp in their reference works. Being unlisted, as the vast majority of counterstamps presently are, is not necessarily a plus when it comes to value. Now, an unlisted Sheldon or Newcomb variety is of course quite another story! If more of these B. GAFFET counterstamps surface in time, we'll have more clues about this issue. The hunt continues ...
Last edited by Chautauquan; 05-13-2012 at 09:21 PM.
Washington-Lafayette Counterstamp Brunk L-46 on a N-8 (R.1) large cent Pierced for suspension
ex Early American Auctions’ sale of February 2005, Lot 283
ex Stack’s-Bowers September 2011 Philadelphia Americana Sale Auction # 113, Lot #745
This is a case for cleaning out the recesses of coppers. Under the dirt we find that the letters HMG are decorated! Look closely at the H. This may lead to the identification of the stamper if he used the same artistic flair in his advertising.
Counterstamps that can be matched to a product like silverware, firearms, tools and patented items tend to be among my personal favorites. These counterstamps offer the collecting inducement of what I call "enhanced credibility." There are many such marks that await discovery or pairing with a product. Such counterstamped coins have cross-appeal for collectors of items in other genres. A case in point is the below 1846 large cent.
William P. DeWitt was a gunsmith from 1848 to 1891. Located in Elmira, NY, his shop was located opposite the Chemung Canal Bank at 418 Water Street. An 1857 city directory lists him as also being a bell hanger and a locksmith. The counterstamp on this coin matches ones that DeWitt applied to his firearms. One of his shotgun barrels, so marked, recently sold on ebay, and his firearms occasionally appear in antique gun auctions.
This 1846 large cent was obviously nailed to something at some time. Perhaps, Mr. DeWitt had nailed it to a wall in his shop? Maybe, it was nailed to his tool chest? As is often the case with counterstamped coins, mystery and speculation play a large part in their appeal. Yet, when it comes to attribution, at least in the case of this counterstamp, there's no mistaking this issuer.
M. GORMAN Counterstamp
Many a file maker stamped some coins. Here's an example from one such issuer, stamped M. GORMAN / CAST STEEL. The application of "cast steel" was often used by tool makers and smiths.
Both Brunk and Rulau attributed this counterstamp to Michael Gorman. Gorman appears in city directories between 1858-68 at 92 Beverly Street in Boston. Brunk lists three specimens, including this one that's on an 1802 large cent. The two other marks appear on 1845 and 1804 (!) large cents. Rulau lists a fourth specimen with the host being a copper nickel cent. This 1802 is the only one that bears the CAST STEEL mark. The relatively small lettering used in these counterstamps appears to support the attribution to Michael Gorman. Other file maker marks that I've seen have been of similar stature. Perhaps someday, I'll find an antique file with similar markings ...
Last edited by Chautauquan; 10-08-2012 at 02:15 PM.