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JM33161

George III oval countermark on Mexico 1790-FM 4-Reales NGC VF35

Regular price £1,950
Regular price Sale price £1,950

George III (1760-1820), oval countermark upon Spanish silver Four Reales of King Charles IV (1788-1808), 1790, struck in Mexico City mint, small oval hallmark of George III right at centre of obverse, bust of Spanish King Charles III laureate and draped right, date below, legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLUS.IIII. DEI. GRATIA 1790, rev. crowned quartered shield of arms, pillar with ribbon incuse motto either side PLUS VLTRA, legend surrounding, .HISPAN. ET IND. REX. 4R. F.M, weight 13.43g (Bull 1877; Dies A/2; ESC 611; cf.S.3767). Toned, both coin and countermark very fine, has been slabbed and graded by NGC as VF35, this mint not listed for type in the Standard catalogue, additionally this coin features three Kings in that it shows the portrait of King Charles III of Spain (1716-88) but is rightly in the name of Charles IV and then it is countermarked with George III, all non-Spanish mainland mints with countermarks are extremely rare.

NGC Certification 6945839-005.

The oval countermarks of George III struck on Spanish Four Reales coins are encountered 95% of the time on Spanish Mainland derived coins rather than their overseas provinces. To find such a countermarked piece of Mexico for a four reales rather than an Eight Reale is also extremely rare.

These emergency countermarked coins were struck in relation to a crisis with the silver coinage at the end of the 18th Century where the supply of silver in commerce and for the Mint had dwindled due to the Wars in France after the Revolution in 1797. From March 1797 the Bank of England therefore released stocks of its Spanish dollars each with an oval countermark valued at 4s and 9d for currency. They did not really alleviate the problem of smaller change and were issued on an off with the oval countermark until a more complex larger octagonal mark replaced them from January to May 1804, as the oval pieces were being counterfeited. Eventually the octagonal replacements were also copied widely and the ultimate solution was to have the Soho Mint totally overstrike the Spanish Dollars with the Bank of England design.

The initials F and M at the end of the reverse legend represent the names of the Mint Assayers who were Francisco Arance Cobos and Mariano Rodriguez.

The new portrait punch for Charles IV took a long time to prepare and be shipped to the new world which necessitated the continued use of the older portrait punch of the by now deceased King Charles III.

Provenance:

Ex Norweb Collection 'English Coins' Part IV, Spink Coin Auction 59, 17th June 1987, lot 1585.

Ex Mark Rasmussen List 36 - Autumn 2022, item 139.

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