September 27th, 2009: We Have a Winner(s)!
We say ‘winner(s)’ because there are two. In the first annual CRO "What Does the ‘L’ Counterstamp Stand for on the 1825 Quarter?" contest, that is.
We thought we might get a handful of responses, but we were frankly stunned to get over 100 emails and calls, and a wide variety of answers ranging from the unbelievably creative to a very long and nearly verbatim transcription of the Breen Encyclopedia.
But when it came time to identifying a winner, this was our thought process:
There is no definitively ‘correct’ answer to our question, just a number of theories. And so we have decided to award 2 prizes, one to the very first person to respond, and one to the person who gave the answer we consider to be most plausible (since it was our contest, afterall).
Winner 1: New York State collector Robert K. was the first person to officially respond directly to us with an answer, so he was awarded the first $500 Certificate. He proposed that the “L” stood for Liberty, as in Liberty Bank in Middletown, CT. He later found out that Liberty Bank was not called that in the 1800’s, but it was the first legitimate response and that is what we requested.
Winner 2: Paul M., a collector from the Midwest, was the first one to contact us with the answer we believe is most plausible. And that is the theory first publicized in an article written by Ted McAuley and published in the July, 2004 issue of the John Reich Journal. McAuley speculated that the “E” and “L” countermarks on some high grade 1815 and 1825 US quarters were the result of a schism in the Harmony Society religious sect in Economy, PA and elsewhere. This Utopian community may have used these coins as a method of voting. In 1832, the sect split into two factions. The “Leonites” were headed by dissenter Count de Leon (a.k.a. Bernard Muller). He and his followers found themselves in conflict with the original founders of this sect (who called themselves "Economites", and which would vote using the “E” countermarked coins according to McAuley).
Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to everyone who participated.