Brief history of Bashing
Bashing is not new…. here’s a brief outline…
Maybe as old as 600 BC from India
Here’s a silver tetradrachm from around 300 BC with an oval countermark of an anchor - the personal symbol of the Seleukid kings of Syria. It would seem likely that this commonly found mark was applied officially to ‘foreign’ coins that were sanctioned to circulate in the Seleukid kingdom.
The Romans and Greeks spent a lot of time bashing… here’s a bashing on the head of Alexander the Great of Macedonia.
There was a huge amount of bashing in the 18th and 19th century, coins were often stamped to indicate an official adoption of the currency in newly colonised parts of the world.
Spanish colonies trading with the Philippines made sure their coins were suitably marked.
Even slave tokens were bashed…
Nearer home and coins often were counterstamped with trade names of jewellers, merchants and even pubs or dentists as a means of guerilla advertising.
One of the more intriguing counterstamps was by the British soap company known as Pears. Around 1810, the company decided to advertise its product. Advertising was not considered as a means of promoting products in those days, so the idea was radical - guerilla advertising at its best! Further, there was a law in Great Britain prohibiting the defacing the monarch’s portrait, so the use of British coins for advertising was not permissible. The company president ordered about a quarter million copper coins from France, which in the late 1800s were the same size as a British penny and were generally accepted as pennies in Britain. These pieces circulated widely for a few years before the Parliament decided that such pieces were unlawful and ordered them confiscated and destroyed.
Another good example - featured as one of the BBC’s History of the World in 100 Objects - was the countermark bashed to highlight the political cause of the Suffragettes during the early part of the 20th century. Mutilating coins was considered a great way of spreading their message to all sections of society.
One hopes today that it is not illegal to deface the monarch’s head! If you find some of BA5H’s work then it’s probably best that you don’t pass it on as money!
As more conventional forms of advertising appeared, so mass countermarking died out. But the odd example is worth highlighting…
Like this one… what a cheeky tucker!
Here’s a cute expression of emotion.
And this example recently seen on Ebay celebrates the moon-landing.
Search for ‘countermarked’ or ‘counterstamped’ coins for more samples or information.
Maybe start collecting or maybe get bashing!!!!