The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 4, January 23, 2022, Article 12


Last week Eric Hodge asked for a copy of a photo of an 8 reales countermarked for Castlecomer in Ireland (in the Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins 1801-1900 published in 1999 2nd edition on page 729).

Ted Puls and Edward Cohen provided images, but these unfortumately were not the specific photo sought. Meanwhile, other readers provided links to other relevant images. -Editor

Bill Dalzell of Classical Numismatic Group writes:

"Our firm sold one back in January 2015."

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  Castle Comer Colliery Countermarked Dollar

IRELAND, Countermarked coinage. Kilkenny. Castle Comer Colliery. AR Dollar (41mm, 26.63 g). Countermarked circa 1804-1806 by Anne, Countess of Ormonde. PAYABLE · AT · CASTLE · COMER · COLLIERY · around 5s,,5d within a tuliped oval border; all within serrated oval cartouche on a 1796 Mo FM 8 Real of Carlos IV of Spain. W.A.. Seaby, Castle Comer Tokens: An Inquiry in BNJ 34 (1965), pl. XV, 3 (this coin); Manville 108 (this coin cited); KM 145. Host coin Fine, countermark VF, toned. Very rare.

To read the complete lot description, see:
Very Rare Castle Comer Colliery Countermarked Dollar (

Ron Haller-Williams passed along several links. Below is an excerpt from the first one, a 2015 blog post with good background on the pieces. -Editor

The Spanish dollar or ‘piece of eight' reales counter-struck ‘5 shillings & 5 pence' for use in trading by the Castle Comer Colliery, in Co Kilkenny, is the only silver crown-sized piece issued in Ireland by a private commercial entity. They were produced on behalf of Anne, Duchess of Ormonde – the wife of the seventeenth Earl of Ormonde, John Butler. Her real name was Susan Frances Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of the Earl Wandesford. She married John Butler in February 1769 and survived her husband, her son, and her daughter-in-law, before she herself died in Dublin in April 1830. She was known as Anne and she was the Dowager Countess described by Mr. J. G. Robertson of Kilkenny to his friend, Dr Aquilla Smith in his article of 1855.

It was said, at the time, that she …

not wishing to lose by the depreciated value of Spanish dollars of which she had at that time a large number, caused all she had to be stamped with the legend ‘Castle Comer Colliery, 5 shillings and five pence'. Coals to that amount being given for them at the pits, Kilkenny traders used to take them in exchange for their commodities knowing that they could give them afterwards to colliers in payment for coals.

These tokens are interesting insofar as most of the previous tokens were issued to make up for the lack of small change, e.g. the 17th C Tradesmens' Tokens. These tokens belong to an era of a shortage of specie (silver and gold) – a time when the Royal Mint was unable to acquire sufficiently large amounts of bulk silver to mint sufficient coinage for the British economy – an economy that was struggling to implement the recently passed Act of Union. Trade and commerce were being strangled by the inability to transact business.

  • One solution was to issue paper and there is a myriad of early Irish banknotes issued by small, private banks with insufficient capital to do so (and, consequently, these were failing at an alarming rate)
  • Another solution was for the Bank of Ireland to issue tokens of its own in good silver
  • The Bank of England ‘counter-marked' foreign silver (crown-sized coins)
  • Then, private merchants issued their own ‘counter-marked' foreign coins
    • Many Scottish and English companies did so
    • Castlecomer Colliery was the only Irish entity to do so

  Castle Comer Colliery Countermark Type I Castle Comer Colliery Countermark Type II

To read the complete article, see:
O'Brien Rare Coin Review: The Castlecomer Colliery Tokens (

  Castlecomer Colliery countermark Krause listing Castlecomer Colliery countermark Krause listing 2

Above are the images provided by Ted Puls and Edward Cohen. -Editor

Eric Hodge writes:

Castlecomer Colliery countermark Krause listing wanted 108-011O "I cannot thank your readers enough for the magnificent response to my request. I have reviewed all the information received and can say that I have recorded it all before. The 1799 host Ted provided is from earlier editions of various Krause catalogs dated 1978, 1986 and 1997. The one I am after is also 1799 but from Krause 1999. It is that relevant Krause page I am after. I enclose a very poor photo of what I believe the Krause 1999, 2nd edition 1801-1900, page 729, under Ireland, should show."

Here are Ron's remaining links. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Lot 614 IRISH COINS, Tokens, Co KILKENNY, Castlecomer, a plated counterfeit MEXICO, Charles IIII, 8 Réales (
Castlecomer Colliery Tokens c.1800 (
Ireland, Co. Kilkenny, Castlecomer Crown (

Thanks, everyone! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 16, 2022 : Query: 8 Reales Countermarked for Castlecomer Image Sought (

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