Back in January 2010 we talked about the differences between coins minted on gallery press 1 and 2 at the RAM. There was a reason for this, some collectors seem to think that having coins from both presses is essential for a complete dollar coin collection due to the differences in the reeding positions of coins produced on each press. We've thought for some time that this is a bit silly because as far as we were aware the reeding position is essentially random, with the collar position not fixed with respect to the obverse and reverse dies. Our reasoning was if you were going to declare the gallery presses as a distinct variety then you must logically say that each circulation coin with a different reeding position must be collected too. And how many of those are there? Well no-one knows, remember the reeding position can change every time there is a die change in a coining press making Australian dollars.
We'd let this lie until some people started suggesting that the reeding position of coins could be used as a definitive test to identify both gallery press coins and portable press coins from earlier years. This assertion was made based on a sample of just one or two coins from just one person's coin collection! Clearly this made no sense so as an interesting exercise we recently attended the RAM and minted a few more coins on the gallery presses and took a look at the reeding positions. And what do you know? They are different to those on coins minted just a month a go on New Years Day! You can see below two coins minted on gallery press 1 and how the reeding positions vary.
Gallery Press 1 minted 1 January 2010 on left, Gallery Press 1 minted 30 January 2010 on right
As you can see the positions are quite different, so the fitters at the RAM have had the collar out of gallery press 1 at least once in the intervening 30 days. Perhaps more, who really knows. So while we can admire someone trying to ensure the completeness of their collection we can only suggest that it's entirely pointless unless you attend the mint every day to ensure the dies are not changed. And to suggest that reeding positions can be used to identify the press on which a coin is made without a huge sample size and proper investigation is clearly spurious at best, and potentially harmful at worst.
Posted by mnemtsas at February 9, 2010 7:03 PM
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