Australian World War 1 Forget-Me-Not Pennies


South Australian World War 1 Forget-Me-Not Penny

South Australian World War 1 Forget-Me-Not Penny

Last week we were showing the above item to our parents who had no idea as to it’s origins. Our 9 year old daughter asked to take a look at it, examined it briefly, and announced with certainty in her high pitched voice,

“Oh, that’s a Love Token!”

And of course she’s quite correct, it is a Love Token. But a special type of Love Token peculiar to South Australia and dating from World War 1. But before we get into that let’s see what Robyn Einhorn of the Smithsonian calls a Love Token:

Love tokens are coins that were engraved after the minting process was complete. Generally, an artisan removed the words and images from the reverse, or sometimes from both the obverse and the reverse of a coin. Artisans ranging in skills from a high-quality craftsperson to a “do-it-yourselfer” then engraved or punched pictures, initials, and messages on the cleared area.

If we examine the token above and compare it with Einhorn’s definition does it qualify as a Love Token, as so confidently proclaimed by our 9 year old daughter?

  1. Engraved after the minting process was complete? – Check! It’s clear that the reverse of this British Queen Victoria “Bun Head” penny was defaced AFTER it was minted.
  2. Removed the words and images from the reverse? – Check! The entire reverse of the coin, which usually has an image of a seated Britannia has been removed, perhaps with a file judging by the parallel striations.
  3. Artisans ranging in skill to a “do-it-yourselfer” – Check! The workmanship is crude in the extreme, with the reverse roughly smoothed and then letters punched in to form a message. The letters are not lined up particularly well and the “O” of FORGET was mistakenly entered as an R and then over-punched with an O when the error was noticed.
  4. Punched pictures, initials, messages on the cleared area – Check! Well this is obvious, “FORGET ME NOT FROM JOE TO ELIZA WITH LOVE” has been stamped out as a message from a departing man to his sweetheart. Perhaps a wife, or a girlfriend, right now we don’t know.

Even though we should have just trusted the wise words of our daughter, this extra confirmation helps us to say with certainty, that this is indeed a Love Token. However, to anyone with any experience of such things it’s quite a bit different to those typically seen. In Australia, at least, most Love Tokens seen are elaborately engraved silver coins from Great Britain or the USA and dating from the mid to late 19th Century. Why nothing from the 20th Century? According to the US based, “Love Token Society” Love Tokens had fallen out of fashion by the 1890’s because the discovery of large silver deposits around the world resulted in a glut of cheap silver jewellery being available. It had become easier to give a wife, or fiance, or sweetheart a piece of jewelelry than to have a coin smooth and engraved with a personalised message. Probably not the first, and certainly not the last time that mass production has resulted in the loss of some romance in the world.

But we digress. Our token is definitely not silver, and while the coin dates from the late 1800’s could it, in fact, be from a later period than this? At the time we purchased it from a local coin dealer in Adelaide, South Australia, we weren’t sure and the true origins of the coin were unknown to us. However, a few months later in the very same shop we purchased this:

australia-1d-bugler-louie-love-token

Click image to enlarge

Another Love Token. With a similar crudely filed and smoothed reverse and a heartfelt message punched out roughly saying “TO MURIEL FROM BUGLER LOUIE”. This token has been made from an Australian George V penny, which dates it from 1911 onwards. Clearly this new token, by it’s very method of manufacture and the fact that they were both acquired locally by us is somehow related to the above token which Joe had made for Eliza when he was departing to some unknown lands. Which lands were Joe and Louie heading for? And why did they have these tokens made for their sweethearts? The answer, is of course, they were heading off to war. World War 1 in particular, and they were bound for the battlefields of Europe or those in and around the Mediterranean Sea, Palestine, Syria, or even perhaps, Gallipoli.

How do we know? The answer was in our very own local numismatic society where fellow member and well known South Australian numismatist Peter Lane had written an excellent article in 2014 for the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Entitled “South Australian WWI soldiers ‘forget-me-not’ Pennies” (View PDF Online) it discusses:

….a uniquely South Australian form of love token made during the First World War. The tokens were made outside army camps from pennies in circulation and were given by recently enlisted soldiers to their mothers or loved ones shortly before embarking from Adelaide

Peter says these humble mementos were given out by soldiers prior to departure to the other side of the world to fight in the Great War. They were probably made in workshops outside of various barracks situated around Adelaide and being made from base metal pennies were affordable for a humble private in the Australian Imperial Force who was paid just 5 shillings a day. His article discusses 12 of these WW1 forget-me-not pennies in his possession, and in this article we are happy to show you two more. Even more interestingly we suspect that our “FROM JOE TO ELIZA” forget-me-not was made in the very same workshop as one of the tokens in Peter’s article. Item 7 in the article, “FORGET ME NOT FROM LLEW TO MOTHER 2 DECEMBER 1915″ shows a peculiar oval impression around the upstroke of the T in FORGET. Our “JOE TO ELIZA” specimen shows exactly the same characteristic. We look forward to the opportunity to examine Mr. Lane’s specimen to confirm this relationship.

There you have it, two uniquely South Australian World War 1 Love Tokens manufactured locally and given by departing soldiers to a loved one. Small crudely made items that still contain an amount of romance and regret for months and years spent apart that far outweigh their humble origins. So much so, that even a 9 year old almost exactly 100 years later can recognise them for what they are, tokens of love from a time that is lost to us.

References
Lane, Peter 2014: South Australian WWI soldiers ‘forget-me-not’ Pennies, JNAA Volume 25, pp 1-15 View PDF Online
Bastable, Carol (Date Unknown) The Decline Of The Love Token, Online, Available: The Decline Of The Love Token Retrieved 22 May 2016
Einhorn, Robyn, February 11, 2014 : Love tokens: Where cold, hard cash and romance meet, Available: Love tokens: Where cold, hard cash and romance meet Retrieved 22 May 2016
WikiPedia (Date Unknown) Trench art, Online, Available: Trench Art Retrieved 22 May 2016

Posted in Collectables and Ephemera

2008 Double Tail Roo Variety Dollar


2008 Mob of Roos Variety with Double Tail and Cud on Numeral 1

2008 Mob of Roos Variety with Double Tail and Cud on Numeral 1


The Mob of Roos dollar design by Stuart Devlin consists of 5 kangaroos ranging in size and has been issued in Australia since 1984. Over the years collectors have noticed weaknesses in the die where cuds have appeared as small breaks or chips have occurred. The most well known cud is the rabbit ear variety but another to look out for is this error seen on the 2008 dated coin. It’s a cud on the base of the largest kangaroos tail, known as a double tail.

This particular example has a second cud, extra metal on the top left of the numeral 1. The 2008 dollar is seen with the double tail only, the numeral 1 cud only or both as seen in this image. This means the die chip occurred on at least 2 dies during the minting of the 2008 dollars.

Posted in Error Coins

The Queen’s 90th Birthday 3 Coin Set


Queen's Birthday Commemorative 3 Coin Set (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Queen’s Birthday Commemorative 3 Coin Set (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday on 21st April 2016 and Australia* will holiday for the occasion on June 13th. Our national public holiday marks the closing date to pre-order a commemorative 3 coin set released for the Queen’s birthday. The Royal Australian Mint is releasing this set on a made-to-order basis so a pre-order is a must.

The set features 3 coins, a 50 cent and two 20 cent pieces totalling face value of 90 cents! At first glance these coins look like standard designs you’d find in your change. They are, but with a bit of a twist. All three coins are dated 2016 but each depict the different portraits used on decimal currency in Australia for Her Majesty over the last 50 years**. The 20 cents each bear the Arnold Machin and Raphael Maklouf portaits, the Machin used 1966-1984 and the Maklouf used from 1985-1998. The dodecagonal 50 cent bears the current Ian Rank-Broadley obverse (note it’s standard and not commemorative for the 50th anniversary of decimal currency). Each coin has the standard reverse design of Stuart Devlin’s platypus and the Australian Coat of Arms.

The coins are struck in standard cupro-nickel and have a frosted uncirculated finish. Issue price for this set is $25. The mintage of these coins will be decided by collectors.

*excluding WA & Qld
**excluding the one year Gottwald portait used in 2000

Posted in Coin News

The Changeover Tour in Adelaide for ANZAC Day 2016

changeover-car

Click image to enlarge


The Changeover Tour arrived in Adelaide! For ANZAC Day the Royal Australian Mint rolled into town with their little blue tent dwarfed by the sea of veterans, returned soldiers, military personnel and spectators out to commemorate ANZAC Day 2016. An early start the RAM tent opened at 7am and we were there early to see what was going on.
changeover-tour-queue-2

Click image to enlarge


The early queues were quite short and by 9am we were been and gone so we can’t comment on the rest of the days activity. Visitors to the Mint tent could purchase a map counterstamped ANZAC dollar, various mint products or swap their cash for new 50th Anniversary of Decimal Currency commemorative coins and coloured $2. We didn’t see the mobile press in action so it’s fair to say it wasn’t popular at $10 for a dollar coin. The ANZAC Centenary coin program issues were keenly sought for the occasion. The coin swap was by far the winner of the day with only a limit on the 5 coin red $2 bags -1 per line-up. If you brought enough cash then you were able to swap Orange commemorative $2 5 coin bags, 2016 50 years of decimal currency 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c all for face value with no limitations except for what you could carry! Our RAM friends were cheery as usual for such an early start. The day continued until 2pm through all the ANZAC celebrations in the Torrens parade grounds and RSL headquarters in the heart of Adelaide.
changeover-car-3

Click image to enlarge

Posted in Coin News

New Australian 5 Dollar Note Design Announced

The Reserve Bank of Australia announced today (12 April 2016) that a new polymer $5 note would be released into circulation in Australia on 1 September 2016. The new note is the same size as the old one and retains the same basic colour scheme and major design elements to make the transition from the old note to the new one as easy as possible for the public and businesses. However the new note includes some significant improvements in terms of security and tactility to help the vision impaired distinguish each note’s denomination. This note is the first in what the the RBA is calling the “next generation” of Australian banknotes, each of which will include the security and tactile upgrades. Images of the new $5 note design can be seen below (courtesy of the Reserve Bank of Australia)

New $5 Note Design (Front)

New $5 Note Design (Front)

New $5 Note Design (Back)

New $5 Note Design (Back)

You’ll note immediately that there’s an updated portrait of Her Majesty, which some commentators have found distasteful believing her portrait should have been removed. You’ll also note that there’s a full height window on the new note as well as a differently designed OVD. The note also shows a couple of depictions of a bird, in this case the Eastern Spinebill while either side of the vertical window are the yellow blooms of a the Prickly Moses Wattle. The RBA says that the new design of each denomination note will depict a different Australian bird and variety of wattle. The authors hope they improve on the wattle images a little because, between us, and you the reader, the wattle flowers on this note look remarkably like bacteria.

Yellow Bacteria or Wattle? (Image Courtesy of https://www.ucl.ac.uk/

Yellow Bacteria or Wattle? (Image Courtesy of https://www.ucl.ac.uk/)

Tell us you don’t see the resemblance too!

Comedy aside, it’s always exciting to see a new Aussie banknote design being issued. It hasn’t happened too many times in the last 20 years (actually only once that we can think of) and it’ll be fun finding the new notes in our wallets and purses. It’ll also be interesting to see if the RBA makes any changes to the serial numbering system that is in use, and perhaps give collectors a whole new set of first and last prefixes to look out for.

Posted in Banknotes

Newspaper Coin Sets Anzac to Afghanistan

Our Legends 25 cent

Our Legends 25 cent


Learn the Legend: Anzac to Afghanistan is the name of the series of coins being distributed by News Corp through local participating newsagents and newspaper outlets. The 14 coins minted by the Royal Australian Mint are available each day over a 2 week period with the first coin in a collector album being given away with the purchase of a newspaper. Each coin thereafter costs $3 per coin and collectors are keenly visiting their newsagent each day to pick up the new coin. Buy a newspaper and present the token inside to the newsagent to redeem the daily coin.

The first (and free) coin in the series is a 25 cent coin struck in nordic gold which is not a real gold coin but an alloy of aluminium zinc and bronze that’s gold in colour. Each weekend a 25 cent coin will be issued with 4 in the entire series. Weekdays collectors and keen enthusiasts will have the opportunity to purchase the 20 cent coins in the series totaling 10 coins. The complete set includes 14 coins and is similar to last years 100 years of ANZAC 20 cent collection.

Each coin has a different theme and is part of the ANZAC centenary commemorative issues and events happening throughout 2014 to 2018. Each coin honours great military moments in history and the designs are inspired by images from the Australian War Memorial, Gary Ramage -news photographer and The Australian Government Department of Defence. The coins are legal tender and have been minted by our circulating coin producer the Royal Australian Mint. They are intended though to be collector coins.

Our legends 25c
Fromelles 20c
Rats of Tobruk 20c
Darmin bombing 20c
Bomber command 20c
Thai-Burma railway 20c
Kokoda 25c
Battle of Long Tan 25c
Korean war 20c
Peacekeeping 20c
Special forces 20c
Dogs at war 20c
Afghanistan 20c
Peace 25c

Anzac to Afghanistan Collection Folder

Anzac to Afghanistan Collection Folder

Posted in Coin News

Rare Counterstamped 1988 2 Dollar Coin Issue

This article appeared on our blog April 1st 2016 and is completely untrue. You can however find the initials of the designer Horst Hahne (HH) on every 1988 2 dollar coin. This coin has no value beyond it’s face value of $2.

$2 Coin with HH on Aboriginal Portrait

$2 Coin with HH on Aboriginal Portrait

Take a closer look at the 2 dollar coin in your pocket, purse or wallet, does it have a tiny HH on the torso of the Aboriginal in the picture? Have you found a $2 with a small HH stamped onto the coin and think it’s got to be worth a lot of money? Have you found a rare coin?

You sure have, and they are rare and worth a tidy sum!

Now there’s no need to jump on Facebook to ask about the HH, and now you’re here there’s no need to ask Google- here’s the answer.

Back in 1988 when the first $2 coins appeared, a local entrepreneur sought to mark the transition from a 2 dollar note to a 2 dollar coin by adding his mark to the coins. Horatio Hornblower, of H & H Engineering Co counterstamped the new coins as they came though his factory out the back of Bourke in northern New South Wales. It’s not known how many of the 160,852,000 new coins have the added mintmark but if you find one you have a very rare piece indeed. In 2016, some 28 years later these coins are still found in your change and it’s important to look out for this counterstamp.

This article appeared on our blog April 1st 2016 and is completely untrue. You can however find the initials of the designer Horst Hahne (HH) on every 1988 2 dollar coin. This coin has no value beyond it’s face value of $2.

Posted in Coin News

Royal Australian Mint Canberra Decimal Currency 50th Birthday Celebrations

Saturday the 13th February 2016 the Canberra Mint held an open day to celebrate 50 years of decimal currency. Our friends at Drake Sterling Numismatics attended the celebrations and were kind enough to write us a report on the event.

It was on a sunny Saturday that we made the trek down to the nation’s capital to celebrate the 50th anniversary of decimal currency at our national mint. The drive was a long one, and we arrived an hour late after we missed the turnoff. However, after wending about the new Parliament House and passing the Prime Minister’s gated digs, we finally arrived. And what a sight we saw.

Mr Minty

Mr Minty

There were balloons, a jumping castle, streamers and flags, coloured tents, mint staff dressed as coins, a sausage sizzle and a fairy floss machine, a rock band, a mini-coin show, and face painting. And there were so many people. It felt like the entire collecting fraternity and their kids had turned up in Canberra for the day.

The biggest attraction of the day, of course, was the special open day fifty cent issue. Although the coin itself was identical to the standard issue gold-plated round fifty cent, it came in specially branded packaging—and if you were lucky, you could have it signed by the current mint master Ross MacDiarmid. I was after a handful to have graded by PCGS, but the queue to buy them was so long and winding that it took five or six minutes to find the end of the line. A collector friend who had arrived earlier said that the line was a hundred metres long at eight AM in the morning, and that keen collectors had joined the line as early as five AM. Fortunately, there was a shorter queue for cash purchases, and after I collected my coins and handed over the cash, we went inside to join the factory floor tour.

It was the first time that I’d been on the factory floor. There was much to see, including the actual striking of circulation coins by the presses. Dotted about the factory floor were large, garbage bin-sized cans—each literally filled to the brim with gleaming, mint state coins. All bore the new 2016 50th anniversary obverse. The following room had a display of blanks at various stages of production. Beneath a glass display, staff had set out a row of blanks and planchets of each of our current coinage. There was also a display of blanks and planchets from our non-circulating legal tender. A pickled silver planchet was also on display: The pickled planchet looked like a white, plaster disk. Next up was a small room of staff putting together mint and proof sets. One or two women were assembling the boxes, while another small team were snapping coins into capsules. The last room was the proof coin room, where proof coins were hand-struck by white-coated staff. After striking, staff assessed the proof coin with a magnifying glass for faults or other issues. Even dust particles would be cause for the coin to be rejected. And indeed, many coins were rejected: There was a pile of discarded proof coins on each staff member’s desk. A nearby tour guide mentioned that usually there were only very few rejects, and that the high rejection rate that day was due to the number of tourists on the floor disturbing the minting process.

Mint Tour. Proof Room (left), Factory Floor (right)

Mint Tour. Proof Room (left), Factory Floor (right)

While most collectors were interested in buying new mint product from the mint shop, I was interested in visiting the National Coin Collection, which was on display in a glassed chamber above the factory floor. I had been looking forward to this all day, as I had heard rumours that the collection contained some of Australia’s greatest rarities. I was not disappointed.

Holey Dollars and Their Inner Dumps

Holey Dollars and Their Inner Dumps

Adelaide Five Pound Uniface

Adelaide Five Pound Uniface

The first display contained a series of proclamation coins, while the second and third cabinets displayed a few pattern tokens from Australia’s early days. In the next cabinet were our first natively-struck coins, two examples of the Holey Dollar and Dump each (one displaying the obverse and one, the reverse). The four coins looked to be in good nick, and were likely worth a combined $200,000. Next came up our first gold coins, the Adelaide One and Five Pound pieces. There were two examples of each denomination. All four pieces were uniface restrikes. Above them were electrotypes of two Adelaide ingots. Next up was the sovereign display, which was curiously entitled “Australian gold coins 1870 – 1931”. (Sovereigns were minted from 1855.) Presented was one of each of the different sovereign types, as well as an example from each sovereign mint: Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. The 1856 Sydney Mint sovereign on display looked UNC, and would be worth over $100,000 if the reverse was just as good; however, the example of the Type II sovereign, dated 1857, had a nasty scrape across Victoria’s face, which would have body-bagged it with PCGS. The last display of currency-issue coinage contained our Commonwealth coins—the pounds, shillings, and pence. A complete obverse type set was on display, including examples from 1950 and 1955 detailing changes to the obverse legends. (“Emperor of India” was dropped from the obverse in 1949 and “Defender of the Faith” was restored in 1955.) Last of the Commonwealth coin display, and perhaps most impressive, were two 1937 patterns: A 1937 penny and 1937 shilling. These are both great Australian rarities worth in excess of $50,000 each.

The cabinet that followed contained an expansive display of early decimal patterns, off-metal strikes, and trial pieces. All would be worth tens of thousands each in the open market—and all were probably unique. There were obverse patterns struck in London, featuring various renditions of Arnold Machin’s Queen Elizabeth. There were 1959 Melbourne pennies struck in various alloys of silver, shillings and sixpences struck in copper-nickel, and smaller coins struck in various copper alloys. A display of trial pieces followed, including heptagonal, scalloped, and other unusually-shaped pieces. A milled two cent piece was interesting, as was a round ten cent piece with a heptagonal inner border (similar to the new Fijian fifty cent pieces).

Dollar Coin Trials

Dollar Coin Trials

No coin museum would be complete without a counterfeit coin display featuring various examples of contemporary counterfeits, as we as the obligatory warning that counterfeiting was illegal. Here, there was a counterfeit cast 1813 dump on display, as well as its moulds. Below it was a counterfeit cast 1852 Type II pound. The next display contained two dies, an 1887 five pound obverse die, as well as a 1937 pattern penny reverse die. I later learned that both dies were manufactured by David Gee, although this was not mentioned in the captions to the display.

Australian 1937 Penny Reverse Die Counterfeit by David Gee

Australian 1937 Penny Reverse Die Counterfeit by David Gee

Last but not least was the “Scarce Coins” display, which contained coins held specifically for their numismatic significance (rather than their historical significance). Up first was, of course, the 1930 penny, followed by a pair of 1945 proof pennies—one from Perth and one from Melbourne. The gold display contained an 1880-S inverted “A” sovereign, an 1860/61 overdate sovereign, an 1858 Sydney Mint double “R” half sovereign, and a 1920-S sovereign. The display must have been set up a long time ago, as it noted that the 1920-S sovereign was worth “more than $300,000”. (The 1920-S is worth closer to a million dollars today.)

Last stop on our visit was, of course, the “Mint Your Own” coin press, where visitors could strike their very own legal tender. This press is not the same as the mobile presses available at off-site venues such as Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, and Brisbane’s Ekka. Those presses stamp a small counterstamp mark on a coin that has already been struck, while the Mint Your Own press in Canberra strikes a complete coin from a blank planchet. With the push of a green button, we minted two coins, each in gleaming, yellow aluminium bronze. One has already been sent off to PCGS for grading, while we’re keeping the other as a memento. (As an aside, the Mint Your Own mintmarked dollars apparently have different positioning of the interrupted milling than the mintmarked dollars in the four coin pack. Perhaps an eagle-eyed modern coin collector can tell us more.)

On the whole, it was a fun-filled day for everyone. Between the coin exhibits, jumping castle, and cheap food, it was certainly worth the drive down from Sydney. I’m not sure if they’ll plan something like this again next year, but if they do, I’ll be there.

Posted in Coin News

1902 Great Britain “Low Tide” Penny

1902 High Sea Level Penny

1902 High Sea Level Penny

Above is a 1902 penny of Great Britain.  1902 was a tumultuous year for British coinage, Queen Victoria had died the year previously and an entire new coinage needed to be issued with the portrait of King Edward VII designed by G.W. De Saulles.  The reverse of the penny was the same as that used on Queen Victoria’s pennies from 1895 when the classic seated Britannia design of W.C. Lyon was modified to remove the lighthouse and ship.  The reverse dies used prior to 1902 had a very slight die difference those used from that year forward, mainly in the sea level and where it intersected with the rocks behind Britannia and the robes on her right leg.  Dies prior to 1902 are known as the “Normal Tide” or “High Tide” dies, while those from 1902 onward are the “Low Tide” dies.  Both sets of dies are also known sometime as the “High Sea Level” and “Low Sea Level” dies. The variety is quite known and appears in the better English coin catalogues, Spink catalogues it as S 3990A, Freeman as 156, Peck as 2205 and Krause as KM#794.1.

Almost 27,000,000 1902 pennies were minted[1] and it turns out that some of the old pre-1902 reverse dies with the “Low Tide” were used. This resulted in two distinct 1902 reverse die varieties, the 1902 “High Tide” (seen above) and the 1902 “Low Tide” seen below. The population ratio of High Tide to Low Tide is uncertain, but some estimates[4] suggest that 1 in 22 1902 pennies (or less than 5%) are the Low Tide Variety. This makes it a scarce coin in British terms and the catalogue values reflect this with the 2014 Spink catalogue valuing the High Tide penny in uncirculated grade at £75 and the Low Tide penny at £350 [3].

1902 Low Sea Level Penny

1902 Low Sea Level Penny

Determining if your 1902 penny is a regular High Sea Level or the scarce Low Sea Level variety is fairly simple. Look at where the water level intersects the right (front) leg of Britannia. If the water level is on the top fold of the robe almost at the point where the legs cross then it’s the normal high tide. If it intersects with the second fold of the robe below where the legs cross then it’s the low tide variety. This is illustrated in the image below.

High Tide / Low Tide Comparison

High Tide / Low Tide Comparison

Conclusions

If you’re unsure of whether a 1902 penny is the scarcer low die variety then in the words of one experienced British collector I know, assume the 1902 penny is “High Tide”[2] and then try to prove to yourself otherwise. Looking at where the sea level intersects the robe of Britannia makes it easy enough to determine, at the cross of the legs, high tide, below it, low tide. Collectors should also be aware that the low tide variety is also present on 1902 half pennies, a coin that is harder to find even than the 1902 low tide penny. The variety on both denominations is a fun one to look for and should form a part of any collection of British coins.

References

[1] Bressett, K.E., 1965. A Guide Book of English Coins. 4th ed. Racine, Washington: Whitman Publishing Company.

[2] Brit Tip #13 – What’s the difference between “High Tide” and “Low Tide?”. 2016. Brit Tip #13 – What’s the difference between “High Tide” and “Low Tide?”. [ONLINE] Available at:http://wybrit.com/Brit%20Tips/Brit%20Tip%2013.html. [Accessed 28 February 2016].

[3] Philip Skingley, 2013. Coins of England and the United Kingdom 2014. Revised edition Edition. Spink & Son Ltd.

[4] 1902 low tide penny – British Coin Related Discussions & Enquiries – British Coin Forum – Predecimal.com. 2016. 1902 low tide penny – British Coin Related Discussions & Enquiries – British Coin Forum – Predecimal.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.predecimal.com/forum/topic/3927-1902-low-tide-penny/. [Accessed 28 February 2016].

[5] Warner, S, 1998. The House of Saxe-Coburg. Australian Coin Review, 400, 30-34.

Posted in Collecting Coins

Fiji 1969 5 Cent Struck on Split Planchet

Fiji 1969 5 Cent Error Coin

Fiji 1969 5 Cent Error Coin

Above is a lovely little 1969 Fijian 5 cent coin error. The obverse is weakly struck as is the reverse. However the reverse also has a number of striations on the surface going from the left side of the coin to right. The 1969 Fijian 5 cent was struck on the same sized copper nickel planchet as an Aussie 5 cent coin and should weigh 2.83 grams, but this coin weighs in at just 1.34 grams, under half what you’d expect. Regular readers of this site probably know by now that given that the coin is underweight, poorly struck, and showing striations on the reverse that it was struck on planchet that split in two. This is quite a bit different to more commonly seen split planchet errors that split in two AFTER they are struck.

Let’s take a quick look at why this coin looks like it does. First, the strike weakness on the obverse (see image below) is simply due to the planchet being severely underweight and thinner than a regular planchet. When the coin was struck there was less material to fill the dies and the design elements were thus not fully struck up.

Areas of Strike Weakness

Areas of Strike Weakness

Next, let’s look at the striations on the reverse. Below you can see the reverse of this coin compared with the split surface of an Aussie 10 cent coin. There’s no mistaking the characteristic striations that are largely parallel. It’s a feature we’ve seen on every split planchet copper nickel coin we’ve ever examined.

Split Planchet Striations (Red Arrows)

Split Planchet Striations (Red Arrows)

Conclusions

Split planchet errors are fun to collect, some Australian collectors have tried to complete a full denomination set of Aussie decimals (a tough task). However, coins struck on already split planchet are rare. We’ve seen less than a handful of Aussie coins struck thus so it’s a bit more affordable (and fun) to collect world coins with this sort of error. We’ve been lucky enough to collect a few over the years including two New Zealand 50 cent coins struck on split planchets and we’re happy to add this nice little Fijian 5 cent error to our collection.

Posted in Error Coins

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