Countermarked coins: interesting numismatic phenomenon


40 para (countermarked coin), 1916: Kingdom of Hejaz

40 para (countermarked coin), 1916: Kingdom of Hejaz

Kingdom of Hejaz — a state in the Hejaz region in the Middle East that included the western portion of the Arabian Peninsula. It was self-proclaimed as a kingdom in 1916 during the First World War, to be independent from the Ottoman Empire, on the basis of an alliance with the British Empire to drive the Ottoman Army from the Arabian Peninsula. On 1932 the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd was unified with the other Saudi dominions, creating the unified Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the authorities of Hejaz introduced "modified" coins of the Ottoman Empire — 10, 20 and 40 para — into circulation to ensure monetary circulation in the newly created kingdom. For their validation, at the direction of King Hussein bin Ali, counterstamping technology was applied to each mentioned coin. Each such coin was embossed with "Hijaz" (countermark).

The Ottoman 40 para used as the basis for this countermarked coin bears the date AH ١٣٢٧ (1909 in the Gregorian calendar, the first year of the reign of the 35th Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V Reşâd). However, it is known that countermarks were applied in 1916.

The tughra of the Ottoman ruler is almost completely hidden behind the countermark.

  • Nickel: 23.8 mm - 5.9 g
  • Reference price: 20$

COUNTERMARKED COINS — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  • In numismatic catalogs you can find dozens of states and territories that have used a similar practice since ancient times — the use of foreign coins in own money circulation after their modification by applying their own images or symbols (countermarked coins).

About the name of the countermarked coins: countermarked coins (also counterstamped coins) are in no way a coin denomination, like other coins presented on this website. However, this is a rather interesting numismatic phenomenon, which is why I consider it as a separate type of coin.
So what are countermarked coins? — The answer is simple: coins marked with one or another special stamp, mark... The functions and circumstances of the appearance of these signs are different. Certain graphic elements or letters/words were applied to already existing coins using the minting method (manual or machine). In this way, various goals were pursued: in case of depreciation of one or another currency, a different, higher denomination was indicated on the coins; the conquering rulers indicated their own regalia on the coins of the conquered states; in the event of a shortage of monetary signs, some states used coins of other issuers in circulation — with their own marks...
Usually, these type of coins, which have unexpectedly received a second chance, are not massive: therefore, most of them are quite rare among numismatists.