Gold coins with "L" stamp
1 1

15 posts in this topic

Beginning in the 1870s it was the practice by sub-Treasuries to stamp light-weight gold coins with the letter "L" to facilitate removal from circulation and recoinage. Do any members have examples of this? The stamp appears to have been applied to the center obverse.

Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I vaguely recall a thread somewhere about a coin stamped with R (I think) indicating it was to be removed from circulation. Probably doesn't help you. I recall that it was a silver coin.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I read a few articles in the John Reich Journal about Bust Quarters dated 1815 & 1825 stamped with either an R, L, or E. Going back through the Newman Portal, the first mention I see is the Dec. 1987 edition. I recall there being several follow ups afterward, but don't recall what the conclusions were........ I guess this means back to the portal!! :grin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

This "L" stamped CHG is from my collection. Other "L" stamped gold coins have different typeface size, some are smaller and are not stamped across the portrait or eagle. Probably a different L punch from the various sub-treasury locations.

"The redemption clerk first takes it and gives a receipt for the amount the bag is said to contain. Then it is counted. All the light pieces are thrown to one side and so stamped across their face. The counterfeits are cut in halves; and, in fact, all pieces which are not fit to again place in circulation are deducted from the original sum brought here." (1890 quote by redemption clerk).

 

 

Ny cs L $5 1836 b.JPG

L Subtreasury.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

MorganMan and Nysoto1 - Thanks! Very helpful.

One would expect various styles of "L" since these were made locally and not a coordinated distribution.

AcesKings - The Reich articles refer to the so-called "Economite" hoard - which is more myth than fact.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, RWB said:

AcesKings - The Reich articles refer to the so-called "Economite" hoard - which is more myth than fact.

I realize this may not be related to what you were looking for, but this doesn't seem right either. The articles I've read related to the hoard say the 400 quarter dollars found in it were dated between 1818 and 1828, which would ignore the 1815's marked L or E. 

From searching other articles related to the L&E quarters, it seems there's no real answer, as most theories have drawbacks to them that would eliminate them as valid. Sorry for interrupting your thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

AcesKings - You are experiencing what happens when past writers failed to look for facts, not conjecture. When the pieces were first mentioned in hobby publications, 1881, many members and former members of the Harmony, PA, New Harmony, IN, and Oikonomia, PA religious communities were alive. However, it appears that no one in numismatics bothered to ask them about the coins. Here is some very basic information about the society and constraints on the meanings of E and L stamps.

Some information about the “E” and “L” counterstamps.

"The Harmony Society’s town of Harmony, Pennsylvania (on Connoquenessing Creek) was sold May 6, 1815 and everyone, including new arrivals from Württemberg, moved to New Harmony in Indiana on the Wabash River.

"A decade later the Society’s town of New Harmony, Indiana was sold to Robert Owen for $150,000 January 3, 1825. Payment was $15,000 up front and $15,000 per year until paid in full. No interest. Richard Flower was the selling agent in Scotland. The community moved back to Pennsylvania on land purchased adjacent to Sewickly Creek, to their new homeland called Economy.

"The official and dominant language of the Harmony Society was German – mostly late 18th century Swabian dialect. Attempting to squeeze English meaning out of the “E” and “L” counterstamps is likely to be counterproductive.

"Note that the Society always used the term “oikonomia” or ecclesiastical “economy.” This sense suggests the idea of stewardship, or management on behalf of others, or to the works of god; that is: on behalf of a god or superior. In Lutheran Church German the word is “Oikonomenische” not “Ökonomische.”

"‘Count’ Maximillian Leon’s society was known as the New Philadelphia Society (at Phillipsburg, Beaver County, Pa) and not by the moniker “Leonites.” Use of coins as “voting tokens” is not supported by any contemporary practice in Germany, English-speaking countries, or among Harmony Society members. (The closest “stretch” might be communion tokens.) The same applies to letters “E” and “L.”

 

Edited by RWB
Link to post
Share on other sites

From "Work Performed by the Subtreasuries: Letter from the Chief, Bureau of Efficiency." 1918.

"At each of the Subtreasuries considerable amounts of metallic money are brought in daily for deposit...The coin room of the Subtreasury counts the money so presented and throws out coin that is mutilated or defaced...Coin that is worn thin or smooth or that is bent or twisted is redeemed in good coin...The law permits a certain amount of abrasion - equivalent to one half of one percent for a circulation lasting 20 years."

The Subtreasuries had multiple functions in ~80 years of existence, which evolved through three basic phases of management. For coin redemption, all silver and gold coins were weighed or evaluated for wear, and determined to be lightweight coins, equivalent, or excess in weight.

A few more images of lightweight gold coins stamped by the Subtreasuries. The size and typeface can vary considerably as the Subtreasuries were not consistent in operation. Some typeface is similar to "L" stamps on quarters. Subtreasury stamped coins were sometimes inadvertently returned to circulation.

 

 

L counter.jpg

L counterst.jpg

L counterstamp <a href='https://www.ebay.com/' class='notreplace' title='' target='_blank'  style=ebay.png">

L counterstamps.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

One other comment about the "Economite Hoard", those were mostly half dollars not quarters., and they were not punched with a L or E, they tended to have a single vertical punch mark, like with a standard screwdriver, at 12 oclock on the obv.

The L and E quarters only come dated 1815 or 1825 and the letter punches are the same on both dates.  The placement of the E and L differ, but the E's are in the same place on both dates, and the L's are in the same place on both dates.  The coins were probably stamped while on a medium hardness wood block that was able to conform to the shape of the rev and support it as there is very little damage to the reverse from the stamping.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Impossible to tell if the L was applied officially or not. Your coin might have been at the low end of tolerance, and then lost enough through circulation that a sub-Treasury stamped it.

The quantity of these appearing in circulation seems to increase in the mid-1890s. When sub-Treasuries stamped light gold, the coins were supposed to be withdrawn, accumulated and eventually sent to a Mint for recoinage. It is possible that some Treasury officers stamped gold that was presented by banks, then returned it to the bank. The banks then dumped the light coins, which were not really legal tender any more, on consumers and merchants who were stuck with the coins. Letters concerning individuals sending these to the Mint show that the coins were not replaced - the sender was paid only the gold value not the face value.

Edited by RWB
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
1 1