Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. has had very good reason to be excited for the new-discovery J.O.P. Counterstamped dollars being featured in the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Fall Sale; a new addition to an already storied piece of numismatic history doesn’t reveal itself every day, but new information has come to light that further enhances the importance even beyond what was originally believed.
Our auction house has shown itself to be the leaders in the field of JOP counterstamped dollars through previous sales and this latest sale cements this reputation. We have noted three types of punches in past sales and now present a unique type that has been recently discovered, giving some collector an unparalleled opportunity for a tremendous addition.
The countermarked silver dollars produced by Joseph Oliva Patenaude have become one of the most celebrated and collectable instances of “modified” Canadian coins today. Patenaude was an optometrist and jeweller born in Quebec, who was educated in Chicago, USA. After brief stops in Alaska and Spokane, he settled in Nelson BC, becoming a well-respected member of the community. He was born in 1871 and passed away in 1956 at the age of 85.
Counterstamping coins as a form of advertising seems to have taken off in the 1800s, with perhaps the Pears’ Soap countermarked French copper coins being the largest endeavour of this sort. Collecting and identifying such coins can be a real challenge, but one with great rewards as a more personal history becomes revealed.
We are offering a unique JOP dollar simply stamped PATENAUDE from 1935. Also struck, after the discovery of the punch, were eleven 1956 examples, one being donated with the unique original Patenaude die punch to the National Currency Collection. Three were sold and 7 remain with Geoffrey Bell Auctions. Other personal items such as his optometry kit and four military prints from Patenaude’s office were also included in the donated lot. These prints were mentioned in the 1960s article by Larry Gingras. There were 3 other unused Patenaude dies in the donated group.
Research into JOP silver dollars has been extensive, beginning with the work of Gingras, so it’s with great pleasure that Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is able to continue the story. Further reading and study may be found in articles by Chris Boyer (The JOP Dollar, May 2009) and Roger Grove (Jan/Feb. 2010). Sincere thanks to the National Currency Collection, Paul Berry and Gord Carter for their efforts in providing photographs of the dies.
The new information recently uncovered leaves the current catalogue description inaccurate, so Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. has made the decision to pull the 1935 discovery from this auction in order to better represent it later. This ‘35 counterstamp was found already punched, presumably by Patenaude, in the discovered grouping. That makes this piece even more important than originally believed.
The 1956 counterstamps, a recent punch by the purchaser of the discovered lot, represent a wonderful opportunity to own an example of this punch on a newer Canadian silver dollar. Since one of the 1956 pieces resides in the Bank of Canada collection, there are only a total of 10 available to the public. The piece in the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Fall Sale is already receiving plenty of attention online.
Take advantage of this sale, along with the other JOP dollars, to own an example of Canadian numismatic history.