Centenary of the Trans-Australian Railway First Coins Struck for 2017

100th Anniversary of the Completion of the Trans-Australian Railway -$10 Gold Coin (image courtesy  ramint.gov.au)

100th Anniversary of the Completion of the Trans-Australian Railway -$10 Gold Coin (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

After seven summer nights camped by the front door of the Royal Australian Mint in Deakin, ACT, 16 year old Belconnen teen Luke Marshall woke for the day he had been waiting for. Camped out since Christmas Day he couldn’t believe when he arrived that he was the first in the queue. For the last 4 years Harley Russo had braved the festive nights and was the first in the queue, but this year decided to go paintballing instead! Luke was among the first 10 visitors in each previous year but this year he was to claim top spot.

At 10am on January 1st the Mint doors opened and Luke was all smiles as he was given the opportunity to strike the first coin on the gallery press for 2017. A crowd had gathered and as per Mint tradition the first 100 Mint visitors received a certificate denoting their place in history. Each person still had to buy the coin of course! The theme for this year’s mintmark coin is 100 years of the Trans Australian Railway with an aluminium bronze dollar, silver dollar and gold $10 coins being issued. The design which looks spectacular in hand (as opposed to the computer generated images from the Mint seen here) is by Tony Dean and bear his initials TD.

As first in line Luke received a special one-off set that included each mintmark aluminium bronze dollar and the fine silver proof dollar of the new commemorative design, this accompanying his number 1 certificate.

The coin design features a stylised version of the train that first made the journey 100 years ago, the G class steam locomotive, a coal cart, service cart and 2 sleeper carriages. 16 of these G class steam locomotives serviced the line until larger and faster locomotives in the 1930’s. With steam billowing above the train and to the right is a representation of the sun and to the left the sky. Below around the edge is a depiction of a train track. The designers initials “TD” feature in the plume of smoke.

October 17th 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the completion of the rail line across the vast Nullabor Plain from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. Work began in 1912 and five years later 140,000 tonnes of rail and 2.5 million sleepers had been laid to complete the line. It was now quicker to travel by train than by ship which, until then, was the main transport to the eastern states.

The C mintmark dollar will be available on the Mint gallery presses for visitors to the Mint every day in 2017. It is priced at a premium of $3. The various other coins of this design can be purchased from the Mint or your local coin dealer. Stay tuned for the counter-stamped coin coming to an ANDA money expo in your capital city “chugga chugga choo choo”!

2017 Mintmark Dollar Silver Proof C Mintmark (left), Aluminium Bronze M Privymark (right). Image courtesy ramint.gov.au

2017 Mintmark Dollar Silver Proof C Mintmark (left), Aluminium Bronze M Privymark (right). Image courtesy ramint.gov.au

Posted in Coin News

Error Coin Spotlight – Off Centre 1946 Florin

Off Center 1946 Florin

Off Center 1946 Florin

Struck 3mm off center, the obverse has engaged with about 50% of the collar die and has been driven downward with the unstruck portion of the coin deforming upwards resulting in a distinctive “baseball cap” appearance. There is a significant planchet crack beginning between the EO of GEORGE extending down the reeded edge of the coin and into the unstruck portion of the planchet. It then extends around the edge clockwise for about 5mm. Part of the cracked flan is bent up slightly, perhaps occurring during circulation. There is significant fishtailing of the obverse legends OMN-IMP indicating radial metal flow which is no surprise as half the coin circumference failed to engage with the collar die. On the reverse fishtailing is also significant on the FL of FLORIN with the base of those letters also showing severe metal flow. The coin split grades as VF/aEF which is typical as the protected side of the coin (the reverse) wears slower than the exposed side. The coin has no problems and is a superlative example of the type of error.

Posted in Error Coins

Q&A Machine Doubling Damage MDD, A Readers Coin

1966 1 Cent with Machine Doubling on the Obverse

1966 1 Cent with Machine Doubling on the Obverse

“I have a beautiful 1966 1cent piece. clear doubling visable on entire front of coin (date,name,crown,head,nose and more.”

Our reader supplied the images and we were happy to advise what was going on with their coin. Many thanks for allowing us to reproduce his images here.

Our Answer:
“What you have is an example of strike doubling or machine doubling on the obverse of your coin. It’s the most common type of doubling. It’s happened when either the obverse die was a little loose or the die skipped, bounced or slid when the coin was struck. It is individual to your coin and is different to hub doubling where the doubling is machined onto the die itself.

Kind Regards
The Australian Coin Collecting Blog”

1966 1c with MDD

1966 1c with MDD

Alan Herberts Official Price Guide to Mint Errors (6th ed, 2002) suggests it adds no value to the coin and should be classed as damage to the struck coin. This MDD is different to hub doubling.

An example of hub doubling is the 1962y double nose penny, it’s known as a variety and is a result of (in this case) a hub tripled die. There’s a paragraph in this blog article that explains the difference between hub doubling or strike/machine doubling.

Edit 11/1/2017: An interesting article posted on the NGC website talks about the differences “Doubled Dies vs. Machine Doubling”.

Posted in Questions and Answers

Double Brockage 1964 Penny? Error or Not?

Is this a Double Brockage 1964 penny?

Is this a Double Brockage 1964 penny?

Recently we were lucky enough to view the above coin, the first people other than the owner himself to see it “in hand” for about 50 years. About 50 years in fact since the owner of the coin received it in change. The coin’s owner sent us the coin to have us evaluate it’s authenticity and provide an explanation as to the origins of the coin. While we are the first people to view the coin personally for several decades it’s not the first time it’s been written about. It appeared in Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine in February 2013 on page 28 in an article by Ian McConnelly. The penny also appeared in Renniks Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors (McConnelly 2015) on page 15. Mr. McConnelly describes the coin as “a Brockage that has occurred on both sides of the coin but in an opposite application”.

Let’s examine the coin ourselves. We see a 1964 penny struck once normally with an incuse impression of the reverse design on obverse and incuse obverse design on reverse. It appears that the incuse impressions were applied AFTER the coin was struck. A particular indicator of this is that the correctly struck legends in relief show no flow into the incuse design impressions. You’d certainly expect to see some of the features in relief “sliding” into the incuse features if the incuse impressions were formed first. (see Figure 1)

Figure 1 - Incuse Features

Figure 1 – Incuse Features

Our first impression is that the coin is a fabrication formed by pressing the penny between two other pennies because the incuse strikes have not obliterated the earlier struck design to any great degree indicating a lower striking pressure. Fabricated errors of that type usually show coin deformation as pressure is applied unevenly and without a restraining collar. This penny measures 31.7mm which is about 1mm bigger than normal but perhaps within manufacturing tolerance and the coin is perfectly round. So, does this indicate that the error is real? Unfortunately not, examination of the edges of the coin show regular witness marks (see Figure 2) where the edge of the coin was presumably restrained while being compressed between two other coins. At this point we are leaning towards the idea that this coin is a fabrication. Are there any other indicators that this might be true?

Figure 2 - Edge Witness Marks

Figure 2 – Edge Witness Marks

Let’s consider how this “error” could have come about if it was real. A coin was struck, somehow escaped the production process and found it’s way back into the store of blank coins. It then was sent through the coin press again and just happened to be struck at the exactly the same time that die caps were in place on both the hammer and anvil dies. What’s more, a comparison of the incuse design elements on the obverse and reverse of the coin with the same features in relief on a normal 1964 penny show that they are exactly the same size (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Incuse / Relief Feature Size Comparison

Figure 3 – Incuse / Relief Feature Size Comparison (with regular penny -bottom)

So the supposed die caps are EXACTLY the same early state and somehow managed to adhere themselves to the coin dies at almost the same time as they struck this “error”. Let us consider another characteristic of the coin, the degree to which the “brockage” strike has obliterated (see Figure 4) the earlier struck design. This indicates a very low striking pressure when the incuse impressions were applied, in our experience second strikes tend to largely obscure earlier design elements leaving just traces of the original design. Clearly something very different is going on with this penny. The chain of probability that this is a real error is getting very unlikely indeed.

Figure 4 - Low Pressure Incuse Features

Figure 4 – Low Pressure Incuse Features

Compare this with the possibility that a person with a small number of hand tools and a passing knowledge of coin errors pressed the coin between two other pennies. It’s not the first time such “errors” have been fabricated and they are far more common than “double brockages on already struck coins”. We know first-hand how easy these fabrications are to create as we have an acquaintance, who just in the last few weeks, as an experiment created some of them using hand tools in under 30 minutes. Based on this (see Occam’s Razor) we have to conclude this coin is not an error but a fabrication.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – 1946 Partial Reverse Brockage Error

1946 Florin - Partial Reverse Brockage

1946 Florin – Partial Reverse Brockage

This coin has been struck through an elliptically clipped fragment of another coin resulting in the typical indented area on the host coin. The indent covers about 40% of the surface area of the obverse of the coin. The fragment of the other coin had already been struck and either failed to exit the coining chamber correctly or perhaps contaminated the florin blank supply. Because the fragment was already struck a superb reverse brockage impression is visible in the indented area of the coin.

Reverse Brockage Detail

Reverse Brockage Detail

Striking the florin blank against the other coin fragment resulted in a localised area of extreme high pressure forcing metal from the coin blank between the reverse die and the collar die resulting in a much thicker area of edge reeding for about 40% of the circumference of the coin. Normally this would be called “finning” but on this coin it is extreme on both the reverse and obverse of the coin and we’ve never seen it to this extent on other indented error coins.

High Rim Detail

High Rim Detail

The coin saw some circulation which has resulted in a rim bruise of the reverse under the ST of AUSTRALIA and other larger bruise on the extended reeding on the obverse from about 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock. There is also a small section on the reverse which surrounds the 19 of the date which is struck through some oil or grease which was on the die.

The coin grades VF / aEF and is a fine example of the type. Indented partial brockages are not uncommon on predecimal pennies and half pennies but quite scarce on florins. The amount of indented area is usually much smaller than this coin though making this a premium example of the type.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – 1952 Out of Collar Shilling

Australia 1952 Shilling Off Centre Error

Australia 1952 Shilling Off Centre Error

Struck 4mm off centre this shilling has engaged with the collar die in a very small area of the circumference around IDE of FIDEI of the obverse. Even there the collar engagement was only slight. The flan is quite flat perhaps indicating a lower striking pressure and the coin has not taken on the “baseball cap” appearance sometimes seen with this type of error. 1952 shillings are often seen struck off center and we’ve seen them ranging from just a millimeter or two off center right up to 50% off center or more. This example does not appear to have circulated and the lustre is excellent and as such it is a superior example of the type. However, as is often seen the exposed side of the coin is hair-lined while the reverse is pristine. The coin grades as UNCIRCULATED with obverse hairlines.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – Double Obverse 1969 50 Cent

Figure -1 1969 50c Double Obverse

Figure -1 1969 50c Double Obverse

Ex Noble Sale 83, Lot 66 (2006) a dodecagonal 1969 50 cent coin struck with two obverse (Machin QE2 portrait) dies in regular medal alignment. It is unusual that it is struck without a 180 degree rotation as double obverse or reverse error coins are always struck in coin alignment if genuine. The coin is about 0.8 of a millimeter over size measuring 32.3mm from flat to flat. The coin weighs 14.6 grams which is almost a full gram under specification. It is suggested that the coin be tested on an XRF to determine if it is an underweight copper nickel planchet or a different material. Examination of both sides of the coin shows extensive fish-tailing suggesting the entire coin was struck out of collar. Metal flow lines are visible on both sides of the coin so we are confident it was struck and not cast.

The two obverses, while the same design are different sizes. We will call the larger obverse “Side 1” and the smaller obverse “Side 2”. The design of Side 1 is larger in all aspects than the other side, with the portrait larger and the legends larger and closer to the outside of the coin. Side 1 shows a general flatness of design with particular weakness through the back of the crown and through the hair curls. In addition there are numerous flaws in relief visible (see Figure 2), including above the Queen’s head, on her jaw line, and immediately above the back pearl of the Queen’s crown. As these flaws are in relief they were on the die that struck Side 1. It is suggested the transfer method used to create the obverse design was crude which has led to the general mushiness of the design. In addition the hub pattern used to create the die was damaged which explains the various flaws visible in relief.

Figure 2 - Die Markers

Figure 2 – Die Markers

The smaller obverse (Side 2) appears to have been struck using the standard 1969 50 cent design (see Figures 3 and 4). Immediately inside the rim of the coin there is an area of visible ramping leading from the flat fields to the rim. The edge of this ramping corresponds reasonably well with the size of a standard 1969 50 cent suggesting either a standard 50 cent die or a slightly modified oversize die was used to strike Side 2.

Figure 3 - Portrait Size Comparison

Figure 3 – Portrait Size Comparison

Figure 4 - Portrait Size Comparison

Figure 4 – Portrait Size Comparison

The origins of the coin can only be uncertain. What is certain is it is a deliberately manufactured item, most likely produced on machinery at the Royal Australian Mint. One can postulate that it was made to compare different obverse sizes for the proposed new dodecagonal 50 cent with the larger Side 1 die manufactured quickly and crudely to produce a trial piece. Referring to “Heads I Win” (Watson 1986) it cannot be ruled out that the coin escaped the Mint in the pockets of David Gee either stolen or given to him by then Mint Controller J.M. Henderson.
Regardless, further information as to the origins of the coin may be gleaned by talking to Canberra coin dealer Tony Byrne, who was the numismatist at the RAM around the period that new 50 cent was designed and introduced.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – Australia 1959 Florin Out of Collar

1959 "Pancake" Florin Error

1959 “Pancake” Florin Error

Struck completely out of collar and almost perfectly centered. As the coin was not constrained by the collar die as it was struck the metal has flowed radially in all directions resulting in the typical “pancake” like appearance that well centered out of collar strikes take on. Interestingly the diameter of the coin (29mm) is only slightly higher than a normal florin suggesting that the spreading of the coin while visually spectacular was not particularly great. This is supported by examination of the obverse legends which show some minimal fishtailing but not the amount you see in more grossly deformed coins. The coin is a fabulous grade, grading CHOICE UNCIRCULATED to GEM with just a few obverse hairlines detracting. The coin is probably the finest example of a centered out of collar (pancake) florin we’re aware of as often these coins jam in the coin press and are damaged by operators removing them.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight -1975 50 Cent Off Centre Error

Australia 1975 50 Cent Off Centre Error

Australia 1975 50 Cent Off Centre Error

We posted this error coin up on the Coin Blog’s Facebook page and had a massive response reaching almost 4,000 of our readers so we thought pertinent to include it here as it’s a really stunning and obvious mint error coin.

Struck completely out of collar this Australian 50 cent error has been minted 6 millimeters off-center which has completely decapitated the kangaroo and emu! The top half of the star and the kangaroo and emu’s heads are missing on the reverse and the Queen is missing the top of her head and those top legends on the obverse are gone. As well as the missing design elements this coin has been well kept since it was first found if I may postulate perhaps it was found in a mint roll as it is of exceptionally high grade of choice uncirculated. Struck in 1975 at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra when the RAM sent just over 19 million 50 cent coins into circulation, this coin is a very rare and possibly unique coin of this year and denomination. Now for those of you gaping with awe pick your lip up off the ground and get back to work!

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – 1966P 2c Broadstrike

Australia 1966P 2c - Broadstrike Error

Australia 1966P 2c – Broadstrike Error

As no design elements of the coin design are missing this coin which failed to engage with the collar die correctly must be classified as an uncentered broadstrike. It appears to be a Perth minted coin which is a scarce coin in itself and the error and grade of the coin make it even more so. The attribution as a Perth minted coin should be taken with some caution as metal flow in the feet of the Devlin lizard design make identifying which (if any) claw is blunted troublesome. Metal flow has also caused impressive fishtailing on the legends of this coin, see the image below. The coin is toned glossy brown with remnants of mint red. It shows indications of improper storage in PVC at some point but this hasn’t damaged the coin in any appreciable way. There are four gouges at the bottom of the reverse side of the coin which while detracting are not uncommon on this type of error. It is theorised that these marks are placed there by press operators un-jamming a stuck coin press. The coin grades a lovely glossy brown UNCIRCULATED.

Detail of Fishtailing

Detail of Fishtailing

Posted in Error Coins

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