The Counter-mark Coinage of Lanark Mills

New Lanark cotton mills were founded in 1786 by David Dale in the Lanarkshire region of Scotland, approximately 1.4 miles from the town of Lanark. The mills used recently developed water-powered cotton spinning machinery and saw much success and development, becoming the largest cotton mill in Scotland. At the dawn of 1800, Dale would sell the mills, lands and the surrounding residential village – which homed those that worked the mills, for £60,000, payable over 20 years, to a partnership that included his son-in-law Robert Owen. Owen, much similar to his father in law Dale, was an industrialist and quickly sought to optimize the mills’ affairs: tightening control of costs, quality, and management practices, monitor wages and time-keeping resulting in the dismissal of a number of employees. The mill offered free education for children and had a church, among other improvements in living standards. Though he was strict he was still fair and won the approval of his employees. New Lanark cotton mills is a typical example of early 19th century Scotland and its contribution to the Industrial Revolution; with the growing level of industry, manufacturers were eager for coins to facilitate trade. The Royal mint was unable to keep up with ever-growing demands for currency, especially after the recent crisis of silver coinage at the end of the 18th Century – much similar to the Bank of England emergency dollars, private counter-stamped issues were done on Spanish dollars that freely circulated.


Scotland, Lanarkshire, New Lanark Mills, Silver 5 Shillings, counter-marked circa 1800-1820 over a Mexico 8 Reales of King Charles IV dated 1792 Mo FM, struck at Mexico City. Obverse (Host coin): Laureate bust of King Charles IV facing right, “CAROLUS· IIII· DEI· GRATIA ·1792·”; Denomination “5/” counter-stamped within a counter-stamped circle, “PAYABLE AT LANARK MILLS”. Reverse: Crowned Shield of Arms of the Spanish Monarch (1700-1868) flanked by the Pillars of Hercules, “· HISPA.N· ET IND· REX· Mo· 8R· F· M·”. KM-. One of the higher denominations for the counter-stamp series of New Lanark, a modest grade that appears to have extensive circulation before and/or after it’s re-value. Good Fine, Counter-stamp the same.

Sold to a Gentleman in Lanarkshire.

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