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Counterstamps on Maria Theresia Talers: Java


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Java is one of the major Indonesian islands.


When Java was part of Netherlands East Indies, the Dutch government oficially applied a round countermark with Arabic "Djawa" (=Java) to milled Dutch ducats (Scholten, Coins of the Dutch Overseas Territories, pg. 60, 61). This countermark was introduced by Resolution of 13 December 1753. By order of the home authorities of the Company the stamping of the Ducats was stopped in accordance with the Resolution of 4 September 1761.

In the Fonrobert auction, a half Gold Rider of Overyssel 1760 with countermark "Jawa" is listed as #367. The present whereabouts of this piece is unknown. No official records exist concerning the counterstamping of this type of coin. The genuineness of this stamp is therefore questionable (ref. Scholten., pg. 58).

A similar counterstamp was used to countermark Persian Rupees. A resolution or placard by which this type of countermarkes coins was put into circulation is not known, but in a resolution of Oct. 2, 1758, it is declared that the stamp for the Persian Rupees was no longer in use. In 1760, a decision was made to withdraw all countermarked Batavian, Surat, and Persian Rupees for 30 Stivers apiece and reissue them at a rate of 27 Stivers. From the known authentic specimen it can be seen that they are extremely rare and that they were freshly imported items when they were counterstamped. Date range for the known specimen is approximately 1745-1750.

The "Jawa" countermark is also found on Maria Theresa Thalers and on Mexican Reales. It is listed as J1 below. J1 was seen on older (pre-1780) Maria Theresa Talers in a number of coin auctions, often together with the Madura Star (S1a/b, see below). It is unlisted in the Hafner catalog.

M.R. Broome writes about the Java counterstamp in his article "Maria Theresia Talers in South East Asia":

As trade coins, Maria Theresia talers circulated in many parts of the world, but there are two especial connections with South East Asia in the form of counter marks for Java and for Sumenep on the island of Madura. The Java countermark, consisting of the word Jawa in arabic script in a circular impression, has been known for many years on Dutch gold ducats of the period 1750-59, and on Javan, Surat, Maldivian and Persian silver pieces of roughly the same period. Its appearance, however, on well-worn Austrian coins dated 1765 (but probably not struck until 1767) seems to extend the period of countermarking by at least 10 years if the countermarks are genuine. It is known that they were applied unofficially before 1760, as in that year all countermarked coins were withdrawn for checking and reissue at a lower value. There seem to be two possible solutions. Either countermarking was applied in Java at a later date than 1760 (perhaps during the period 1768-1782 when the mint at Batavia was closed) or that some other local authority used the Java countermark for its own, and so far unknown, purposes at some time after 1770.


The March 1968 auction of Hans Schulman lists as lot #1430: ' JAVA. Maria Theresa Taler 1780 SF, ctstpd. with round stamp "star"'. This might refer to counterstamp S6 below, to Hafner 106, which is commonly attributed to Ethopia, or to Hafner 132 (Mukalla). Since there is no photo, this is just a wild guess.

References (auction and sales catalogs, literature, collections)
Sample specimen
J1 Arabic Djawa for Java.
  • Hans Schulman, March 1968 auction, #1431. Host coin is a 1759 Hall taler.
  • Hans Schulman, May 1969 auction, #819. Host coin is a 1752 Maria Theresa Taler (together with S1a).
  • Westfälische Auktionsgesellschaft, Auktion 10,  January 1997, #3302. Host coin is a 1765 Günzburg Taler.
  • Swiss Bank Corporation, January 1998 auction, #1419. Host coin is a 1753 Maria Theresa Taler struck in Hall.
  • UBS auction September 16, 2004, #3194. Host coin is a 1765 Günzburg taler (together with S1a).
  • Bernard Olij collection. Host coin is a 1765 Günzburg taler.
Java counterstamp
Madura Star


The status of Java counterstamps on Maria Theresa Thalers is questionable. There is no known historic reference indicating that the counterstamp was ever officially applied to non-Dutch coins. Also, if the counterstamp was applied in the 19th century or in the late 18th century, one should think that it would have been offered in coin auctions before 1968. However, I have been unable to locate a sale earlier than 1968.

Numismatists today believe that the Java counterstamp was applied to Maria Theresa Talers, Real Batoe, and other Talers at a later time to "fulfil collectors' demands".


Many thanks to Bernard Olij and Jan Lingen for providing valuable information about Java and Soumenep counterstamps.

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