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The Kyle Ponterio Sale

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It’s New York City and 6:30 PM on a Saturday. As most people are going out for a night on the town, a room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd street is full of people with anticipation. They have come from all over the world, to be there in person or watch on the internet from wherever in the world they might be, to witness and participate in an event that took more than a decade to come to fruition. For one person in the room, this is it – the bitter sweet moment that he had worked so hard for. Kyle Pontero sits and waits to see the fate of how his collection, his pride and joy for so many years of accumulation and study, will sell.

So why did people from all around the world gather to watch and bid in this one auction? What makes this auction so special from the hundreds of other numismatic auctions every year? What did Kyle Ponterio build with his limited resources that made numismatists and collectors participate in such vigor? To understand this, you need to understand the theory of money, the way it circulated, its revaluation, and the importance of quality, research, and pedigree.

What is a Counterstamp?

A coin, for the most part is a piece a metal, stamped with a die or set of dies that monetizes the piece. Into the introduction of non-precious metals, a coin was a way a government or authority would regulate that value of the currency in commerce in its state or territory. A coin made by a government like Mexico, with a denomination such as 8 Reales, would be made of a set fineness and weight as dictated by minting and coining regulations. When governments and mints were in good practice to make consistent and correct standard-weight and -fineness coins, these pieces were not only accepted by the state but internationally as well. When these coins traveled abroad, governments and local authorities would, in some cases and countries, add their mark to these coins to monetize those issues for that region. This was done with either a die, punch or punches, or sets of dies. Much like stamping a piece of metal by the Mexico City Mint, a set of punches in Japan, or a punch in Mozambique would be added to the coin making it legal tender in those countries and, in some cases, adding a different value.

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nd(1841) 8 R KM-116 C/M on Peru 8 R PCGS AU53, Guatemala, Gold Shield.

Why Research is Important

Whether it be a tiny punch on a Russian issue or a contemporary counterfeit found in Yemen, esoteric coins need research and publishing of information for people to understand their importance. The first two lots offered in the Kyle Ponterio collection were two contemporary counterfeit 8 Reales. They were discovered in a group that likely originated in Yemen along with several real coins. Had no research been done, they would have been lost to history, and this discovery – had it not been published – would have probably seen the value of the coins be minimal at best. Kyle’s research and the documentation and publication of these pieces created interest in these two coins that would have been novelties otherwise and, as a result, both coins fetched $2,100 together. This holds true throughout the collection, as researching and documenting the countermarks and publishing their history and pedigrees added context and desire.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Click images to enlarge.

The Kyle Ponterio Collection

This collection was about showing that coins from different governments and location traveled abroad and in doing so would be counterstamped, chopped, and even be contemporarily mimicked by locations around the world.

British Honduras

Coins from British Honduras, today Belize, were counterstamped with a crown and “GR” for “George Rex” – King George III. This was done over Spanish colonial pieces to legitimize the piece in a British Territory and assign a value of 6 shillings 1 penny to the coin. Several different punches were used and Kyle had three examples in his collection.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21012 an (1818) issue on an 1818 Mexico 8 Reales PCGS XF40 commanded $1,920 with a $400-$600 estimate.

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Lot 21011 a (1818) issue on an 1818 Mexico 8 Reales PCGS XF45 brought an astonishing $2,640 with a $400-$600 estimate.

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Lot 21010 an (1810-1818) issue on an 1809 Mexico 8 Reales PCGS XF45 took $3,360 with a $600-$800 estimate.

Canada

Prince Edward Island, for a short period in 1813, would hole and stamp Spanish Colonial 8 Reales to revalue them 5 Shillings.

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Lot 21014 – Canada Prince Edward Island (1813) 5 Shilling PCGS Genuine with VF Details due to graffiti, sold for $5,040 with an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica, in order to regulate the coinage circulating in its territory, would hole the coins as well as add a counterstamp and hidden punch-mark. This practice was done for a short two-year period and today the coins are quite scarce. Kyle Ponterio amazingly had four examples in his collection.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21017 Costa Rica (1841-42) 8 Reales on a Mexico-Mo 1827/6 8 Reales KM-21 PCGS VF30 brought $4,800 with a $2,000-$3,000 estimate.

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Lot 21018 Costa Rica (1841-42) 2 Reales on a Mexico 1828-Go MJ 2 Reales PCGS VF25 took $2,640 with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

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Lot 21019 Costa Rica (1841-42) 2 Reales on a Peru 1826 2 Reales PCGS VF35 sold for $2,640 with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

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Lot 21020 Costa Rica (1841-42) ½ Reales on a Peru 1826 2 Reales PCGS VF35 sold for $2,640 with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

El Salvador

From the Decree of September 28, 1868, El Salvador countermarked foreign circulating currency at the San Salvador Mint. While common on minor denominations it is very rare on 4 and 8 Reales.

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Lot 21028 El Salvador (1868) C/M on Mexico Sombrerete de Vargas 4 Reales. This coin is the Krause KM plate coin, ex Richard Stuart Collection PCGS AG03 and astonishingly took $7,800 with an estimate of $1,000-$2,000.

Guatemala

Guatemala had several different counterstamps it used in different time periods for regulating coins in use. Kyle’s collection had several examples.

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Lot 21038 Guatemala (1839) counterstamp on Peru Cuzco 1836 4 Reales which had been zigzag marked by El Salvador between 1834-1839. PCGS VF35, it astonishingly brought $7,800 with an estimate of $2,000-$2,500.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 31042 Guatemala (1841) 8 Reales on a Peru 1822 Lima 8 Reales with a royalist countermark from 1824. This coin’s pedigree is astonishing from the Jules Fonrobert Collection in 1878 and in his book as Fronrobert-7390, to the Georg F. Ulex Collection and plated Ulex-2161, the coin is also Brunk #764. PCGS AU53 it took $9,600 with an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

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Lot 21044 Guatemala 1894 Peso with a full brockage on the reverse. The Guatemala 1894 countermarks were applied using dies, in the stamping of this coin, the previous coin was not removed and created a brockage error on the reverse transferring the image of the Peru Sol which had already been countermarked onto that of the Chile Peso that had not. This amazing error graded PCGS VF25 fetched $7,800 against a $300-$500 estimate.

Japan

Japan had its own currency and its own standards, yet it still officially counterstamped some foreign coins for use.

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Lot 21047 Japan (1858) 1.36 Momme on Russia 1858 25 Kopecks. This coin unlisted in both KM and JNDA was a piece that Kyle researched and published about. With simple chops of “1,” “3,” and “6” in Japanese characters “Ichi,” “San,” and “Roku” this coin seems unimportant at first, but it was actually the weight of the coin in Japan’s standard of Momme. About 11 known examples with these chops are known to exist. PCGS AU50, the coin brought a record $12,600 on a $700-$900 estimate.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21048 Japan (1859) 3 Bu on Mexico 1859-Do CP 8 Reales. A series that Kyle’s in-depth research and dedication too brought forth the first real census for the coin and its hosts, with this being the only known example from the Durango Mint. PCGS AU55, the coin hammered at $16,800 on a $7,000-$9,000 estimate.

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Lot 21057 Mexico 1859-Do CP 8 Reales. The same coin and die pairing of the coin from the Japan San Bu in Lot 21048 this coin graded PCGS MS64+ sold for $1,800 on a $500-$700 estimate.

Mozambique

A Portuguese colony in Africa, Mozambique also saw circulating silver coins from Spanish Colonies in the Americas.

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Lot 21061 Mozambique (1765) 8 Reales with two countermarks, one from 1760 under Governor Pedro de Saldanha de Albuquerque and the other from 1765 under Governor Baltazar Manoel Pereira do Largo. PCGS XF45 hammered for $3,360 with a $700-$1,000 estimate.

Peru

Peru declared its independence from Spain on July 28, 1821, yet the fighting for independence continued until 1826. During this war for independence the coins themselves would show the battle with pieces being stamped over from royalist forces as almost a symbol of stamping out independence.

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Peru 1823-L JP 8 Reales struck over a Libre type 8 Reales after Lima had been reoccupied by royalist forces. The PCGS AU50 issue sold for $2,640 with an estimate of $700-$1,000.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Peru 1824 royalist countermark on 1823-Lima JP Libre 8 Reales. Lima was reoccupied by royalist troops in 1824 and were forced out in August 1824. The counterstamp was applied during the occupation of Lima in 1824. PCGS AU55 the coin reached $4,320 on a $700-$1,000 estimate.

Philippines

After Spain lost its colonies in the Americas it continued to hold on to its Asian colonial trading post stronghold the Philippines. The continued need for silver for Asian trade and the loss of the Americas posed a problem for the Spanish with the new colonial coins not being given legal-tender status. Two pairs of dies and a press were sent to Manila to the overstriking of these rebellious coins to make them legal tender for the Spanish Philippines. Issued with the decree of October 13, 1828, these coins didn’t last long as the dies failed quickly and were quickly replaced with smaller counterstamps.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21071 Spanish Philippines 1828 counterstamp on Peru 8 Reales. PCGS AU58, it sold for $19,200 with a $5,000-$7,000 estimate.

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Lot 21072 Spanish Philippines (1832-34) counterstamp on Argentina 1815 8 Reales. PCGS XF40, the coin obtained $8,400 with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21074 Spanish Philippines (1832-34) counterstamp on Peru 1822 Lima JP 8 Reales. PCGS XF45, this piece brought $7,800 with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 20175 Spanish Philippines (1832-34) counterstamp on Peru 1832 Lima MM 8 Reales. The PCGS AU50 rarity hammered for $1,920 with a $400-$600 estimate.

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Lot 21077 Spanish Philippines (1834-37) counterstamped both Ferdinand VII and again with Isabella II over a hole on a Peru 1833 Lima MM 8 Reales. The PCGS Genuine (AU Details) coin set a record for $19,200 with a $3,500-$5,000 estimate.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21078 Spanish Philippines (1834-37) counterstamp over hole on Peru 1813 Lima 8 Reales. PCGS Genuine (VF Details), the coin sold for $7,800 with a $2,000-$3,000 estimate.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21079 Spanish Philippines (1834-37) counterstamp over hole Peru 1831 Lima MM 8 Reales. PCGS Genuine (Fine Details), the specimen hammered $4,080 with a $1,500-$2,500 estimate.

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Lot 21080 Spanish Philippines (1834-37) counterstamped Mexico 1832-Zs OM 4 Reales PCGS F12. The coin brought $6,600 on a $1,500-$2,500 estimate.

St. Thomas and Prince Islands

These islands were a Portuguese colony that circulated coinage brought to the islands. By Decree of November 3, 1854, a crown was to be countermarked on such coinage to authorize it by the government.

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Lot 21087 St. Thomas & Prince Islands countermark on Costa Rica 1846 countermarked Peru 1731-L N Real cob. PCGS F12, the coin sold for $5,280 with a $700-$1,000 estimate.

Scotland

Scottish merchants would countermark and regulate circulating Spanish Colonial coins for local use and back them with their company name and stamp.

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Lot 21090 Scotland (1811) Rothsay Mills 1/8 countermark on cut 1782 8 Reales. This piece is plated and published back in a book titled The Silver Tokens of Great Britain and Ireland, the Dependencies, and Colonies in 1866 and can trace its pedigree from 1866 until the most recent sale the Kyle Ponterio Collection. PCGS VF20 on the counterstamp, the piece sold for $7,200 with an estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

Image courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Lot 21091 Scotland (1823) J&A Muir Greenock countermark 4 Shilling 6 Penny on 1821 Guatemala 8 Reales. Pedigreed to Brand, Norweb, and Kyle Ponterio, the coin is PCGS VF20 and hammered for $5,520 with a $1,200-$1,600 estimate.

Spanish Netherlands

In the case of The Spanish Netherlands, Brabant, even though the territory was under Spanish control, some Spanish Colonial coins did get countermarked with a “Golden Fleece” countermark.

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Lot 21093 Spanish Netherlands Brabant (1652-72) countermark on Mexico 8 Reales with Brazil 480 countermark. PCGS F12, the coin sold for $3,600 with an estimate of $700-$900.

Tunisia

A group of about a thousand cob 4 Reales was discovered in Tunisia and three examples featured a countermark in Arabic script. From this it is speculated that the coins were countermarked in Tunisia.

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Lot 21095 Tunisia (1630-80) countermarked Mexico 8 Reales PCGS G06. The countermark the coin hammered for $3,360 with a $600-800 estimate.

In Closing

When the hammer fell on the last lot of the auction, Kyle was elated. The collection he had built had been recognized for its incredible and diverse coins with a theme focusing on historical significance, pedigree, and quality. In the end, it is an impressive collection that tells the story of money, where it goes, and how it is regulated and reused. The amazing part of numismatics is that anyone with the time, passion, and dedication can build an amazing collection. Kyle had a great time assembling this collection and did incredibly well for it. Congratulations to Kyle Ponterio and Stack’s-Bowers for an incredible sale.

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