Enigmatic Counterstamped Colombian 8 Escudos

While many coins can be simply described and do not entice further research from numismatic scholars, there are some coins, often consigned as parts of reference collections, that invite deeper study. Lot 12068 is such a coin. This 1785-SF Popayan Mint 8 Escudos has a small LAC monogram counterstamped in the right obverse field. This same punch appears on a 1793 8 Escudos that appeared as lot 21391 in the August 2010 Heritage sale of the Roehers Collection of Regulated Gold Coins (earlier ex. Goldberg May 2001, lot 1870). While the cataloger for the Goldberg sale believed that the counterstamp was from the West Indies, the cataloger for the Roehers Collection said the countermark was “unidentified and perhaps American” in origin. Our coin is consigned from the estate of Michael K. Ringo, a noted numismatic researcher and specialist in United States colonial and related coins, who passed away several years ago, and whose vast collection of coins we have had the honor of selling over the past several years. He noted that the same countermark is on a coin in the ANS Collection, and he surmised that the mark might be that of Aaron Lane of Elizabeth, NJ in the 1780s. Perhaps since both counterstamps appear on Colombian gold coins, this mark is that of a contemporary Colombian goldsmith. As I said, there are some coins that invite further study and research from the next owner, and this enigmatic piece is certainly one of those coins. We invite interested numismatists to examine this coin, and begin a quest to find the answer to this riddle. The coin itself is problem free and attractively toned. The coin and counterstamp grade Extremely Fine, and would make a fine addition to any South American gold coin collection, or a study collection of counterstamps on gold coins.

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