>1843 - George Steuart & CO, Ceylon
Half Farthing - Counter Marked

This English farthing is Counter Marked GS&CO by the firm of George Steuart & Co. merchants, bankers, estate and commission agents, was started in 1835, who issued these counter-marked tokens from 1843.
Denomination4½ pence
Diameter18.3 mm
Thickness1.4 mm
Weight2.34 gms
1828_gsco_cm_hf_obverse 1828_gsco_cm_hf_reverse
Lowsley #36 Pridmore #95

Obverse : Kings Bust at center to left GEORGIUS IV on left and DEL GRATIA on right along periphery with the date 1828 at bottom. May have been poorly counter marked on this side.
Reverse : Image of Brittanniar to right at center with Legend BRITTANNIAR on left and FID: DEF: on right along periphery. Counter mark GS&CO at center.
Was the white paint original to highlight counter-mark or added by a collector. Should it be removed

From 1843 Messrs Steuart countermarked (GS&CO) usually on both sides local copper coins. The English-struck stivers of 1802 and 1815 and halfpennies (1826-1859) were assigned a value for use at 6 pence and the half-farthings (1828-1856) was 4 ½ pence. No other firm in Ceylon adopted the system of countermarking as GS&CO

Lowsley states that specimens were very rare in 1890. He had found countermarked English half-farthings of 1828, 1830, 1837, 1839, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1847, 1851, 1862, 1853, 1854, 1856.

The 1881 token was designed by the manager, Mr Charles Hendry, were issued in 1881, after all the countermarked coins in use by the firm had been called in.

STEUART, G. & Co. The firm of George Stenart & Co. merchants, bankers, estate and commission agents, was first started in 1835 by Captain James Steuart who was at that time Master Attendant of Colombo. On its becoming known that he was engaged in private trade he was ordered by the Government to cease his connections. Other arrangements had to be made and in 1839 he handed over his business to his brother, Joseph Steuart, a Master Mariner. Joseph died in 1843 and a younger brother, Captain George Steuart, assumed control and from that time the name of the firm was George Steuart & Co. James Steuart retired from Government service in 1855. He died in England in 1870 aged 70. Captain George Steuart retired from the firm in 1863 and died in England in 1896 at the age of 88.
The main business of the firm has been that of estate agency work. As their minted token indicates, the firm had Wekande Mills (Slave Island, Colombo) which employed over 1,000 hands engaged in curing coffee, cinchona, etc.

Text from
* Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Lieut. Col B. Lowsley, Num. Chron. Sr III Vol. XV, 1895.
* The Coins of British Commonwealth of Nations to the end of the reign of George VI 1952 Part 2 - Asian Territories by F. Pridmore Spink & Son Ltd., 1965. Tokens

This VF grade counter-marked 1828 half-farthing coin was scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 300dpi. It was purchased in 2003 April from a NY-dealer.