The Ormskirk & West Lancashire Numismatic Society
Founded in 1970
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Unknown Tetradrachm
The Ormskirk & West Lancashire

Host Society for the

 BANS 2011 Congress

held in Southport

BANS 2011 Congress Report

Secret Marks on Merchant Countermarked Silver Coins

Privy Marks as Security


Society Member Eric Hodge is well known for his researches into the series of countermarked silver coins issued by a number of factories and mills in the years around the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, and he has had a number of articles and updates published in Spink’s Numismatic Circular. His latest work consists of a well-illustrated review of Privy Marks on the countermarked coins, which appears in the British Numismatic Journal Volume 79 (2009)


The place of the countermarked coins in the currency market was tightly circumscribed: too low a face value and the coins would be melted; too high a face value and they could be profitably counterfeited. To enable the issuers to readily detect counterfeits and thus avoid loss on redemption, secret, or privy, marks were included in the countermarking process. By their nature, these were not obvious and, in the absence of records, can really only be determined by the examination of a number of specimens. Given the rarity of most countermarked pieces, this is not an easy task.

Read Eric Hodge’s brief guide to

Merchant Countermarked Dollars.

Click here to open the page

Merchant Countermarks

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