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Madura is a small island located on the eastern tip of Java. Soumenep is one of the larger cities on Madura. From the early 19th century to the Japanese invasion in 1942, both islands were Dutch colonies, known as Netherlands East Indies.
The earliest countermark attributed to Sumanep is a square or rectangular countermark with Sumanep in Malay Arabic (S3).
4 Real 1731
with countermark Sumanep in Malay Arabic
This countermark is found on Spanish-American Pieces of Eight (8 Reales) and its denominations, dated 1729 - 1732. Other countermarks such as a flower (S7) and/or the Arabic number (1)230 (S8) are sometimes seen with the Sumanep countermark and thus also attributed to Sumanep.
with countermarks flower and (1)230
The countermark most commonly associated with Soumenep is the Madura Star (Hafner 115, shown as S1a/b below). Two variants of this countermark exist. The first is a shield-like countermark with a lily-cross, as shown in the following picture.
|Ducaton Utrecht 1784 with countermark shield/lily/cross|
This countermark is found on large silver pieces, like Ducatons, Maria Theresa Thalers, and milled Spanish Eight-Real pieces. This countermark is mainly found on coins dated from the second half of the 18th century. It is commonly attributed to the rule of Sultan Paku (Pakoe) Nata Ningrat, but this is not confirmed. Multiple variants of this counterstamp are known to exist.
This counterstamp is first attributed to Soumenep in the Fonrobert collection (Lot 759; the text refers to Netscher & v.d. Chijs page 159). Later references appear to follow this classification.
The second variant of the Madura Star is in the shape of a pointed oval with a flower-like design (S1d). This countermark is mainly applied on Rupee-sized coins, such as silver rupees (maily from Java), Gerneraliteits-guilders, Quarter Pagoda of British India, and Spanish 4 Real.
|4 Real 1793 with shield/flower countermark|
|BEIC Pagoda 1807 with shield/flower countermark|
This countermark, which is the most common of all, is mainly found on coins from the second half of the 18th century and the early 19th century. According to Netscher and Van der Chijs, Sultan Paku (Pakoe) Nata Ningrit (Ningrat) (1812-1854) installed in 1818/19 a commission for countermarking silver money. This was supposed to suppress the many counterfeit coins in circulation. Subsequently, silver coins were countermarked with a flower. Lingen suggests that this is probably the second variant of the Madura Star as shown above (S1d). According to Lingen, the countermark on the 4 Real displayed above is genuine, while the authenticy of the countermark on the Pagoda is questionable.
After this countermark was imitated, the countermark die was changed for one with the word Sumanep in Arabic. This occurred around 1820. Lingen believes that this is probably the countermark with Sumaneb in an oval (S4a).
Countermarking of coins in Sumanep was stopped around 1825.
An interesting comment about counterstamps in the
Fonrobert collection is on Forging of Danish West
catalogue (Berlin 1878), edited by Adolph Weyl, has until now been seen
as the authoritative bible on American coins. However, it is clear that
the collection contains hoards of forged counterstamps, probably all
manufactured in Germany.
According to the web site author, this comment primarily refers to Danish West India counterstamps in the Fonrobert collection.
The Madura Star is found on older (pre-1780) Maria Theresa Talers, sometimes together with the Java counterstamp. Various specimen have been offered in several coin auctions.
Counterstamp S1b, together with J1, is on a Maria Theresa Taler in Bernard Olij's collection. Host coin is a 1765 Guenzburg Taler.
Broome has the following comment about Sumenep counterstamps on Maria Theresia Talers.
The second of the countermarks attributed to Sumenep is one which consists of an emblem rather like three crossed arrows in a shield-shaped or oval depression. This is said to be the badge of the Sultan Paku Nata Nigrat, and is dated ca. 1854. So far, it has been seen on coins dated 1765 to 1805 only, including Maria Theresia talers of Gunzburg mint of 1765 and probably Vienna mint of 1766. No evidence has been quoted to support this attribution, which may be based on a misreading of the relevant Dutch text by the cataloguer of the Fonroberts Collection. [...]
Another interesting comment regarding the Madura Star was found on World Exonumia in Mail Bid Sale 11:
Counterstamp S2 is on a on a 1765 Maria Theresa Taler in my collection. This counterstamp was attributed to Soumenep by the seller and is supposedly listed in KM as KM-199.3. However, the 3rd edition of KM World Coins associates Madura, KM-199.3, with a Madura Star countermark. Therefore, the attribution of this countermark with Soumenep can not be confirmed, and the origin of this counterstamp has to be considered unknown. Lingen agrees, saying that S2 may have been countermarked at any place.
An early reference to a Soumenep counterstamp on a Maria Theresa Thaler can be found in Cabinet des Monnaies. This sale lists two Maria Theresa Thalers with Soumenep counterstamp as follows.
|5778||Thaler hongrois de Marie Thérèse, de 1754 (Schultesz, 2558).|
|5781||Thaler tyrolien de Marie Thérèse, de 1780. (Schultesz, 502).|
This sale is referred to in The Numismatist, January 1944, "More Questions about the Maria Theresa (Levant) Thaler", as follows:
This possibly refers to the counterstamp shown as S4a/S4b below, which is currently unlisted in the Hafner catalog. However, no Maria Theresa Thaler with this counterstamp is currently confirmed to exist.
Counterstamp S4a was seen on a Dutch Guilder on Zeno - Oriental Coins Database, coin number 23979. The description is follows.
Mr. Lingen, who created the entry on Zeno, provided the following additional information:
Netscher & v.d. Chijs on page 159 describe the sq. c/m on a Real-Batoe (Spanish Real) as "...belandjar with Arabic or Malayan symbols, which in correct Malay should be belandja." This might be the origin of the "belandjar" translation, however the correct reading on the Spanish Real and the Dutch Generaliteits-guilder in May-Arabic is different.
The sq. countermark on the Real-Batoe (Stone real) reads "Sumanep" in Malay-Arabic and is found on Spanish 8 and 4 real pieces, dated 1729-1732. The c/m in oval as illustrated by me reads "Sumaneb".
All the countermarks which read Banjar in oval are regarded as not authentic! The Malay-Arabic inscription doesn't mean anything. No way you can read Balanjar or belanja (There is no "Lam" after the "Be". With some imagination you may read it as Banjar (or Bandjar = Dutch pronunciation) and than the resemblance with Bandjarmasin is than of course striking. However, no reference, either by Netcher & v.d. Chijs, nor Millies, have ever been made of such countermarking at Bandjarmasin. Therefore it is at the moment generally accepted by Dutch numismatists that they are clear copies from the published "Sumaneb" c/m. This view is also written down in the Dutch Encyclopaedia of Coins and Paper-money, p. S-154-155.
It was not uncommon to make all kind of fantasy c/m's to satisfy the collectors demand. Most probably the coins with the Banjar c/m are copied after the illustration in Netscher v.d. Chijs (1864) and as such came into the Fonrobert's collection (Auctioned 1879).
Furthermore, the lots 870 and 871 in the Fonrobert collection were coins struck for the West-Indies (both dated 1794), and it is very unlikely that they have circulated in the East.
Counterstamp S5 was seen in Baldwin Hong Kong Auction 40, September 2005, lot 1159, with the following description.
This counterstamp was attributed to Sumatra in a presentation about counterstamps, with no further explanation.
Counterstamp S6 was seen in Baldwin New York Auction IX/X, January 2005, lot 272, with the following description.
|S1a||Madura Star, commonly attributed to Sultan Paku (Pakoe) Nata Ningrat. Multiple variants of this counterstamp are known to exist.|
||Variant of Madura Star.
Olij believes that this variant might be the authentic
counterstamp, identified by a dot in one of the fields.
Lingen identifies both countermarks on the displayed specimen as fake.
||Another variant of Madura Star counterstamp. Possibly genuine according to Lingen. Note that it also has a dot in one of the fields.|
|S1d||Flower-like design. Variant of Madura Star.||Not confirmed to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S2||Five raised dots in 4 petal flower.|
||Arabic text Soumanep.||Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S4a||Arabic text Soumaneb. See further details in text.||Not confirmed to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S4b||Possibly Arabic Belanja for Housekeeping Money or Purchasing Money, or Banjar (Bandjar), which might identify a region in Indonesia. Controversial; see further details in text.|
|S5||Cross with four dots.||Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S6||Star.||Not confirmed to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S7||Flower||Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
|S8||Arab "230"||Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler|
Many thanks to Bernard Olij and Jan Lingen for providing valuable information about Java and Soumenep counterstamps.