(This page uses CSS style sheets)

Counterstamps on Maria Theresia Talers: Soumenep (Sumanap, Soumanap, Sumenep, Sumanep)


Deutsche Version



Description of variants

Original and Restrike

The Talers




Other strikes

Search and Swap



Java Madura

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.

Early Countermarks

The earliest countermark attributed to Sumanep is a square or rectangular countermark with Sumanep in Malay Arabic (S3).

Sumanep countermark B Sumanep B detail
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.

Real Batoe 230 and flower Real Batoe flower detail Real Batoe 230 detail
Real Batoe
with countermarks flower and (1)230

The Madura Star

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 Countermark Shield lily cross
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 Countermark shield
4 Real 1793 with shield/flower countermark
Pagoda 1807 Countermark shield
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 Indian counterstamps:

Fonrobert's 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 countermark for Sumenep provides another puzzle in that two quite separate designs have been attributed to this town. The first is simply the word Sumenep in arabic script, either (set in a square surround), or (set in an oval surround). The square variety is found only on cob 8 real pieces, some of which also have the date AH(1) 2;35 (1820 AD), while the oval countermarks appear on Dutch coins with dates up to 1822, and on Maria Theresia talers of 1752-65. This period coincides with the end of the British occupation of Java and the closure of the mint at Sourabaya.

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:

Sumenep's "Madura Star." The problem with some series of government countermarks is that there are a lot of fantasy stamps. The issues of the port of Sumenep on the island of Madura, off the northeast coast of Java are good examples. Clearly some of the countermarked coins attributed to it are modern fantasies made since the 1950s. The status of others is uncertain because no one has yet gathered enough data to separate the genuine from the fantasy pieces. This is one of those uncertain countermarks. In the auction of Fred Pridmore's collection, it was noted that he purchased an 1813 Java Rupee with such a countermark in Singapore in 1951. The countermark often is attributed to Paku Nata Ningrat (1812-1854), but the status of this particular piece is as uncertain. The countermark consists of three crossing lines in a shield-shaped oval indentation on 1766 Java rupee (KM-175). Such coins were issued in 0.833 silver, and this one looked "bad enough" that it was scratched numerous times to see if it was plated. The countermark (KM-191.3) is VF.

Other counterstamps attributed to Soumenep

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.

Monnaies contremarqueés par de la prince Pakou Nata Ningrat, ?-1270 (A.D. 1854)
b. Incuse ovale, avec la contremarque: Soumanap

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:

In the "Stephanik Kabinet" (Sale F. Muller et Cie, page 163, No. 5781) under Soumanap, there is mentioned a thaler tyrolien de Maria Theresa de 1780 (Schultesz 502), countermarked with an incuse oval, on which in Arabic is "Soumanap".

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.

In the 18th and first part of the 19th century, various coins have been countermarked by the Sultanate of Sumanep on the isle of Madura to the east of Java. The most rarest of this is the countermark "Sumaneb" in Malay-Arabic with in an oval. Similar countermarks with "Banjar" instead of Sumaneb are regarded as not authentic and were probably made in the middle of the19th century to satisfy the collectors demand. Such coins with the fake c/m "Banjar" were first observed in the collection of Jules Fonrobert, vol. 3, Australia, Asia and Africa, Berlin 1878 (lot #869, 870 & 871) and attributed to Bandjar(masin). Many more coins are known with this fantasy c/m, viz.: Provincial (Overijssel) Dutch Guilder 1763; AU 10 Guilder, William I 1840; Spain Philips V, 4 peso's 1740 and 1 Guilder and 1/4 Guilder of the Dutch West Indian Company 1794. From time to time coins with this fantasy countermark .Banjar. turn-up; the most recent observation is a gold ducat of Holland of 1771 at Spink Singapore Auction 21-06-1997.

Mr. Lingen, who created the entry on Zeno, provided the following additional information:

The countermark "Sumaneb" (S4a) was first published by L.Netscher & Mr. J.A. v.d. Chijs, De Munten van Nederlandsche Indie (The Coins of the Dutch Indies), Batavia 1864, Plate XXI-177; 'Generaliteits'-guilder of 1796. The same (or a similar) coin is illustrated by Millies: Recherches sur les Monnaies des Indigenes de l'Archipel Indien et de la Peninsula Malaie, The Hague 1871, plate IV-27.

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.

Sumenep: Silver Dollar, countermark of cross with four dots on Mexico 8-Reales 1758 (unlisted in KM)

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.

Dollar, emergency issue, Mexico 8-Reales 1793FM with oval countermark, also star countermark before bust, possibly Soumenep (Java), and a line of small indentations on both sides. AR 26.57 g. ESC 129; S 3765A.

S1a Madura Star, commonly attributed to Sultan Paku (Pakoe) Nata Ningrat. Multiple variants of this counterstamp are known to exist. Madura Star Madura Star
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.
Listed as #759 in the Fonrobert collection.

Madura Star
Madura Star
Another variant of Madura Star counterstamp. Possibly genuine according to Lingen. Note that it also has a dot in one of the fields. Madura Star
Madura Star
S1d Flower-like design. Variant of Madura Star. Soumenep counterstamp Not confirmed to exist on Maria Theresa Taler
S2 Five raised dots in 4 petal flower. Soumenep counterstamp Madura Star
Arabic text Soumanep. Soumanep counterstamp Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler
S4a Arabic text Soumaneb. See further details in text. Soumenep counterstamp 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. Soumenep counterstamp
S5 Cross with four dots. Soumenep counterstamp
Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler
S6 Star. Soumenep counterstamp Not confirmed to exist on Maria Theresa Taler
S7 Flower Soumenep counterstamp Not known to exist on Maria Theresa Taler
S8 Arab "230" Soumenep counterstamp 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.

Valid HTML 4.01!