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Countermarks inspire theory

There is mention of 1815 quarters countermarked “E” or “L” in a Feb. 28 “Numismatic News” article by R.W. Julian. Can you give me more information about these countermarks?

These countermarks are also found on 1825-dated quarters. Ted McAuley theorizes in the July 2004 issue of the John Reich Journal that the Harmonist Community of Economy, Pa., likely used these countermarked coins for a vote determining loyalist Economites or seceder Leonites had the allegiance of the majority of the community. These were the dates of the founding of the final two Harmonist settlements. Not everyone agrees with McAuley’s theory.

Do we know who invented the coinage screw press?

Leonardo da Vinci is likely the inventor. He drew a press in one of his notebooks in 1500, although it was six years later before anyone made a working model. The working press built by Donato Bramante for making coinage blanks was inspired by a fruit press, not by da Vinci. A screw press capable of both making blanks and striking coins was built in 1550 by Max Schwab. None of the mints in Italy or Germany were interested.

Why were alterations made to the reverse of the $20 double eagle in 1877?

Mint Director Henry R. Linderman commissioned Mint Chief Engraver William Barber to modify the design. In 1876 Barber modified part of the design from a Heavy Motto to the Light Motto variety. In 1877 he made further changes including a sharper angle to Liberty’s neck and diminished head as well as spelling out the denomination on the reverse. “E Pluribus Unum” is enlarged as well.

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More Collecting Resources

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

• With nearly 24,000 listings and over 14,000 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.