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JM33162

George III oval countermark on Potosi 1779-PR 9 over 7, 4-Reales NGC VF30

Regular price £1,750
Regular price Sale price £1,750

George III (1760-1820), oval countermark upon Spanish silver Four Reales of King Charles III (1716-1788), 1779, with 9 struck over 7 in date, Potosi mint, Bolivia, PTS monogram, small oval hallmark of George III right at centre of obverse, bust of Spanish King laureate and draped right, date below, legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLUS.III. DEI. GRATIA 1779, rev. crowned quartered shield of arms, pillar with ribbon incuse motto either side PLUS VLTRA, legend surrounding, .HISPAN. ET IND. REX. PTS. 4R. P.R (Bull 1880 R2; Dies A/2; ESC 611; S.3767). Host coin fine to very fine, the countermark well struck and almost extremely fine, has been slabbed and graded by NGC as VF30, very rare especially on an over-dated coin.

NGC Certification 6945839-006.

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 Bolivia 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 P and R at the end of the reverse legend represent the names of the Mint Assayers who were Pedro de Mazondo and Raimundo de Iturriaga.

Provenance:

Purchased from "A.E. and B.E." September 1985.

Ex Mark Rasmussen List 36 - Autumn 2022, item 140.

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