Fascinating Richard Humphreys Regulation Plug Removed

    Brazil. Joao V 6400 Reis 1744-R. Rio mint. Marked RH for Richard Humphries. KM151. XF. Clipped and re-edged. Plugged and marked RH by Richard Humphries, Philadephia. Plug removed. Current weight suggests a 9 dwt or higher standard before removal of the plug (211.0 grains); if the plug weighed 5 grains, this would be precisely 9 dwt. A fascinating piece, a coin that has undergone more abuses than nearly any other in the collection. The surfaces are light yellow gold, still a bit lustrous, though lightly cleaning has dulled the surfaces somewhat. Some removeable residue clings to the portraits hair, old glue or something similar. 6 H is lightly scratched, one character above the other, in the right obverse field. Some shadows of encrustation remain in obverse lettering. The edges have been lightly clipped, leaving about half of the denticles' length remaining, re-edged with a simple pattern resembling thick reeds.

    The minor remnants of the regulation stamp, facing up at central obverse, evaded identification by Ralph Gordon, from whom this was acquired in 1981. The presence of another Humphries regulated piece in this collection allowed the consignor to correctly identify what mark these vestiges hid.
    This plug was removed at some point during this coin's useful life, judging from the wear on the ring around where the plug would have been removed. Perhaps the island (Guadeloupe?) where the plug was plucked was not accustomed to seeing regulations by Humphries and deemed it false.

    Gordon appears to have described this exact coin in his chapter on the 1803 Guadeloupe standard, which called for coins with false plugs to have the plugs removed and then circulate as gold discs on the basis of their weight. On p. 74, he notes "no example as been located for illustration. Rumbel , Lot 7, was catalogued 'Half Dobra or Half Joe 1744 John V Rio Mint. Was originally plugged in center to increase weight, later plug was removed.'" This coin fits that description precisely and would appear to be a match.

    Provenance: Acquired via trade from Ralph Gordon in 1981. Apparently earlier from Hans M.F. Schulman's sale of the Rumbel Collection, March 18, 1955, Lot 7. Described, but not plated, in Gordon's West Indies Countermarked Gold Coins, p. 74.
    From the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    12th-16th Thursday-Monday
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