Coloured 2 Dollar Olympic Coins To Be Released


More coloured $2 coins are on their way with an announcement today that Woolworths in conjunction with the Royal Australian Mint will be the distributor of six coloured 2 dollar commemorative coins for the Rio Olympics. These will be available nationally through the tills from the supermarket chain from July 19th in the leadup to and throughout the 2016 Games. The Paralympic multi-coloured coin from August 22nd. They will also be available in collector packaging from the Mint and you local coin dealer.

Five coins feature the different colours of the Olympic coloured rings, blue, yellow, black, green and red. In the centre is a representation of the Olympic team logo which is the kangaroo facing right, the emu facing left and the Star of Federation and the Olympic rings surrounded by the coloured band. Outside that coloured band are stylised representations of 32 various sports different for each coin. The legends read 2016 AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TEAM TWO DOLLARS.

A sixth coin for the Paralympic Games that follow the Olympic Games in Rio will be the first 2 dollar coin produced by the Royal Australian Mint with multiple coloured circles, red, blue, green and yellow. The design depicts a representation of a person racing in a wheelchair with the Australian Paralympic Committee logo and the legends 2016 AUSTRALIAN PARALYMPIC TEAM TWO DOLLARS.

The first five coins were shown on Channel Sevens The Morning Show today, the 21st June, the announcement made by RAM coin programme ambassadors Patty Mills (basketball) and Kate Doughty (paratriathlete). A total of 12 million of these six new coloured coins are expected to be produced.

Posted in Coin News

Rare Mint Error Coins No Colour – Red, Purple, Green and Orange Missing Colour 2 Dollar


2013-coronation-purple-colour-removed

Regular Coin (left) Post Mint Damage (right)


Error coin collectors are being sucked in by offers of coins for sale with missing paint errors. Coloured 2 dollar coins are dis-honestly being sold as rare error coins from the Mint with descriptions like missing stripes no colour error, scarce mistake or whatever catchy phrase the seller thinks will entice unwary buyers into a bidding war. Don’t be fooled, these coins are not Mint mistakes and are very easy to make, with sellers taking advantage of how easy it is to deface these coins.

The coloured $2 coins have become extremely popular with collectors and there have been quite a few released now by the Royal Australian Mint. First was a red poppy coin in 2012, next a purple coronation coin in 2013, a green Remembrance Day commemorative in 2014 and two military themed coins in 2015, a red for 100 years of ANZAC and an orange coin “In Flanders Fields”.

Royal Australian Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid spoke about the 2013 Coronation coloured $2 at the time of its release:

“There is no colour that can actually sort of continuously survive on any metal so we’ve come up with a technology and a capability enables us to ensure the colour stays on this particular coin as long as possible.”

It’s well known that the colour added to these coins will not stay on forever in circulation. Flecks of paint are usually seen in Mint bags from paint that has not adhered to the coin surface or have chipped away both with wear and being banged together with other coins. The paint can also be removed accidentally by exposure to certain chemicals or solvents or on purpose by being exposed to humble nail polish remover or acetone. This is what I believe has been done to the coins being falsely sold as error coins on eBay in the last few months. The paint has simply been removed with a bath in acetone.

This is nothing new. Dodgy sellers have been doing it since the first coloured coins came from the Mint and we tested this process on a 2006 coloured ocean series dollar coin to see what was under the paint -it was very easy to do. Collectors are also warned in the pocket guide to Australian Coin and Banknotes (22nd page 156) that a year 2000 Millennium commemorative proof coin with the paint removed was once offered as an error coin and sold for over $500. The pocket guide by Greg McDonald even warns those browsing eBay to do your homework about what you are buying before you part with your hard-earned cash.

There have been only just a couple of occasions where I believed a genuine mint error has occurred where the paint has been added to the obverse instead of the reverse by the painting process at the Mint. In just a fraction of a second an optical device checks which side of the coin is up for painting and accepts or rejects each coin, this is where a mistake by the machine would have occurred. Even then I have not seen these coins in hand so I cannot confirm their authenticity. One would assume if it were found (and stayed) in a sealed Royal Australian Mint bag then it could well be a true error.

Below are just a few examples of eBay listings (click the image to enlarge).

eBay listing with bidding up to $107.50 with just under a day to go for this 2012 red poppy with the red poppy paint removed.

eBay listing with bidding up to $107.50 with just under a day to go for this 2012 red poppy with the red poppy paint removed.

2015 In Flanders Fields 2 dollar with the Orange colour removed sold for $40.

2015 In Flanders Fields 2 dollar with the Orange colour removed sold for $40.

2013 Coronation $2 with purple paint removed 3 bids sold at $37.

2013 Coronation $2 with purple paint removed 3 bids sold at $37.

Posted in Coin News, Error Coins

Exchanging Old Coins For Silver Value


We are often asked what’s the value of my coin and whilst we cannot provide individual coin value advice we do provide the tools you can use to work that out for yourself. Most commonly our readers have old silver coins and they want to know the value and where they can go to sell those coins. Once you have determined that the coin has no numismatic value* and is simply worth silver bullion value then you can use our handy silver coin value calculators to work out what that coin is worth. Some people are very surprised to see how much the old threepence, sixpence, shillings, florins and crowns, which all contain silver are worth. It’s surprising to see the value of the old coins add up way beyond their equivalent face vale. For example face value for a 1928 shilling is 10 cents but todays value (8 June 2016) is $3.70.

Using the Australian silver coin value calculator you can determine the amount of silver in ounces that you have and today’s value of the silver they contain in a variety of currencies. Remember that the silver value does fluctuate daily as silver prices change. Once you have filled in the numbers of coins you have the calculator works its magic and adds it up for you and you can print or save that information -see below.

Australian Silver Coin Value Calculator -example of use

Australian Silver Coin Value Calculator -example of use

Remembering the calculation is just a guide and coins wear and may not weigh exactly as they did as they left the mint. Nonetheless the calculator will give you a good idea of what your silver coins are worth. Got some world coins from other countries then we’re sure to have a calculator for those too -check down the right hand side of this page for links to calculate values for United States silver coins, Mexican silver coins and many other countries. On your mobile phone or mobile device? Don’t worry we have that covered too.

Where to now?

You could keep the coins and ride the silver bullion market wave or you could sell those old silver coins that you have just had laying around in the drawer. Options for selling are many and it depends on what you are comfortable doing and your location. If you are near a coin dealer that’s a great place to take your coins to sell them. If you want to sell them yourself you could choose an online option such as eBay. Alternatively there are many gold and silver bullion buyers out there that offer to buy broken and unwanted jewellery and they will buy your old coins for their silver content. There are many places to exchange your old coins for cash so keep an eye out when you are next out shopping and the jeweller you walk past on the way to the supermarket or the pub might just be in the silver trading business. Remember when selling to a coin dealer or a scrap bullion buyer that they’ll almost always offer you UNDER the actual bullion value because they need to be able to re-sell at a profit. This makes it seem that the best course of action is to sell the coins yourself via eBay, but remember they charge fees too, typically 10%-15% of the final sale value. So weigh your options carefully.

*numismatic value is what a coin is worth as a collector coin which is sometimes much more than a coins silver content. Take a look around the Australian Coin Collecting Blog for further information, pick up a coin catalogue or check sold results on eBay to see if your coin has numismatic value beyond it’s silver content. Remember though that numismatic value is based largely on condition and that means often it must look like the day it left the mint and a worn, circulated or “used” coin will be worth much less.

Silver Bullion Bars -where you old coin or broken silver jewellery might end up

Silver Bullion Bars -where you old coin or broken silver jewellery might end up

Posted in Investing in Coins

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

1944s Florin Struck on a Shilling Planchet Error

1944-S Florin Struck on a Shilling Planchet

1944-S Florin Struck on a Shilling Planchet

It’s not often you see an older coin with such a significant error and one in such good condition as this. Struck in 1944 when Australia lacked the industrial capacity to do so because of the war the above coin was minted at the San Francisco Mint in the United States. At that time America was minting our silver coins florins, shillings, sixpences and threepenny pieces. Likely removed from a bag or roll before entering circulation the florin depicted has been struck on a shilling planchet of 5.65g. Now that seems like an easy error to occur and has been easy to identify, a shilling blank contaminated the hopper of blanks waiting to be struck as florins and this underweight blank breezed through the minting process and out the other side without incident. This coin now proudly resides in a PCGS slab graded MS63 or our opinion grades it to choice uncirculated in the Australian adjectival grading scale.

Such a rare error and the first we’ve seen but digging deeper in Australia’s public auction house history we found this exact coin appearing in the July 1998 Noble Numismatics Sale 58 Lot 2074 realising $500 (+10% BP) on a $150 estimate. It was advertised as nearly Uncirculated and had not yet been put in the PCGS slab. That was certainly a time when errors weren’t as popular as they are today and the price shows that but an astute collector saw the rarity and value in this coin and kept in safe place for the last 70 odd years. Today this coin would sell for quite a few thousand dollars.

We’ve seen other errors at the overseas mints striking coins for Australia. Again in 1944 a planchet for one of their own nickel coins escaped into the hopper and was struck as an Aussie shilling. Also a 1942s shilling was struck on a sixpence planchet at the same mint. Interestingly Bill Snyder of worlderrors.com published a chart in Mint Error News Magazine titled “A Study of World Mis-Struck Coins” where he undertook a study on Australian striking errors between 1944 to 1995 and found only one example of the 1944s florin on a shilling planchet.

PCGS Graded MS63

PCGS Graded MS63

So how do we know this coin is genuine and the fantastical story of it’s minting is true? It could well be that someone has ground down the edges in their workshop and manufactured this error that would be termed PMD (post mint damage). The mere fact that the coin has been slabbed by PCGS is the first surety of it’s authenticity. A coin graded by PCGS has been looked at closely with great skill and care before their grade is assigned to the coin and the coin placed in the slab. Viewing the closeup image of the coin confirms the features we see on the coin that point toward it being struck on an underweight planchet. The size of a florin is 28.5mm and the shilling planchet would be significantly smaller at 23.5mm. This undersize planchet would have been fed into the press without issue and was struck with the die for the Australia florin, the Coat of Arms reverse. It’s the detail in this strike that holds the key to this being a genuine error. When a planchet is too small for the collar, metal will flow outward and this is exactly what we see here in the legends of this coin. The letters have fishtailed bases shown with red circles and the arrows indicate the direction of metal flow. This would certainly not be the case if the coin had been somehow altered after it was struck in the back shed or alike.

Showcasing a truly rare Australian pre-decimal error coin has been a pleasure and this is certainly a coin that any error collector would prize in their collection.

Metal Flows outwards causing Fishtailed Lettering

Metal Flows outwards causing Fishtailed Lettering

Posted in Error Coins

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

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Current Coin Values, Bullion Prices and Exchange Rates

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These values are updated hourly using New York market prices. Coin values are purely the value of the gold or silver they contain and do not account for any numismatic value.
Prices Last Updated: 08:04 01 Jul 2016