Difference between Counterstamp and Countermark coins.

A counterstamp is applied by a die, and by machine to an existing coin, while a countermark is punched onto the coin, mostly by hand, using a punch and a hammer or a primitive hand-operated machine.

These two terms must not used erroneously when we try to describe a certain coin in order not to confused the description and to better understand the proper way of using these important numismatic terms.

Counterstamped YII and F70 coins were issued only between 1828 to 1835. F70 from 1828 to 1832 (33) and YII from 1834 to 1835. Logically, there should be no F70 counterstamps on coins dating beyond 1833 for F70, and otherwise no YII counterstamps coins dating beyond 1835.

The countermark series of the Philippines is quite vast with a whole array of coins serving as hosts. Utilizing coins ranging from the Spanish colonial period to the early republics of the Americas, and even some from Europe, these countermarks are usually applied to the obverse of the host as stipulated by the decree of 2 October 1832. These markings in their abbreviated form “F.7.o” (for Ferdinand VII) and, similarly later on, “Y.II.” (for Isabella II) were applied with a hand-held punch. Prior to the punch change from the earlier “F.7.o” to the more numerous “Y.II.,” a decree was issued on 27 August 1834 stating that all pierced coins were no longer legal tender. This, of course, did not sit well with the local inhabitants and nearly caused an uprising. In order to keep the peace and to prevent a rebellion, the government at Manila issued the decree of 4 September 1834 stating that all holed coins were to be brought to the countermarking office for authorization and would again become legal to circulate freely. The authorization came in the form of countermarks applied to both sides of the perforation.

These fascinating rarities are an integral part of this heavily collected and highly sought after series of Filipino numismatics. The countermarks applied to the perforations were done so at the same time, though they are seldom encountered with only one countermark over the hole. Nearly all of the countermarks on perforated examples can be traced to non-perforated pieces whereby the countermarks were applied in accordance with the original decree. The linking of issues countermarked over the holes to other examples along with perforated survivors that contain previous countermarks, namely those of Ferdinand VII (F.7.o)adds a layer of complexity of which many Filipino scholars were not aware until just a few years ago.


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