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

Error Coin Spotlight – 1966 London 20 Cent Planchet Flaw Error

1966L 20 Cent - Reverse Planchet Flaw

1966L 20 Cent – Reverse Planchet Flaw

This London minted 1966 20 cent has a detached planchet flaw. The flaw was certainly there when the coin was struck as there is no indication of the design of the coin “flowing” into the missing part of the design. Furthermore the edge of the flaw is crisp and the recessed area has the typical rough texture associated with split planchets and detached planchet flaws. In contrast, coins that are struck after flaws have detached typically show smoother edges to the flaw and the recesses can show signs of the coin design. The coin grades to about Extremely Fine.

Planchet Flaw Detail

Planchet Flaw Detail

Posted in Error Coins

It’s Great to Find Old Friends!

There was a coin show in our home town of Adelaide recently and we were lucky enough to find two old friends while we were there. By friends we mean coins of course. The first was a slightly crusty dark toned 1928 shilling. It’s slightly upset and there’s a tell-tale spur sticking out of the back of one of the emu’s legs. You can see an image of the coin below. It’s a contemporary counterfeit made from good silver, probably minted in China (in the city of Swatow) and they were first discovered in Sydney in the early 1930’s. You can read the full story of these interesting 1928 forgeries here.

Australia 1928 Counterfeit Shilling

Australia 1928 Counterfeit Shilling

The second friend we found at the coin show was an innocuous 1943M threepence in a decent Almost-Uncirculated grade, good lustre and a slightly odd looking obverse.

Double Die Obverse 1943M Threepence

Double Die Obverse 1943M Threepence

Look at the legends of the coin, there’s clear doubling all the way around the coin. And it’s not a bit of insignificant machine doubling but rather much more prominent and interesting hub doubling. The double die obverse 1943M threepence is a recently discovered pre-decimal variety we wrote about in the Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine last year. You can read the full article here.

There you have it, two old friends found. It’s always fun to look out for varieties when you get the chance to attend a coin show or visit a coin dealer’s shop. They might not be particularly valuable but that thrill you’ll get when you find one more than makes up for it!

Posted in Coin News, Error Coins

Error Spotlight – Rotated Double Strike 1964 Half Penny

Rotated Double Strike  Error - 1964Y  Half Penny

Rotated Double Strike Error – 1964Y Half Penny

Above you can see a very interesting coin error, a double struck half penny of Queen Elizabeth II. This double strike is a bit different in that both strikes occurred while the coin was completely retained within the collar die of the coin press. In addition, the coin itself rotated between strikes leading to the precise classification of the error as a rotated double strike error. This is distinct from the more often seen double strike where the coin has moved laterally between strikes and one (or more) of the subsequent strikes are out of collar.

How do we know the coin rotated between strikes?

A characteristic of multiple struck coin errors we’ve seen is that the second (and subsequent) strikes obscure the evidence of the earlier strikes but almost never obliterate the evidence completely. If a coin moved laterally between strikes then the evidence of the two strikes is obvious. However, if a coin simply rotates the evidence can be harder to spot, especially if the degree of rotation is small. Fortunately in the case of this coin the rotation is about 45 degrees and the evidence of the two strikes is quite clear. We’ve decided to pick two obvious features that show the two strikes, but there are many more on this coin which is what makes it as interesting as it is.


Two Queen Faces

Above you can see the portrait area of the obverse. The face of Her Majesty from the second strike is oriented correctly and is quite obvious. The portrait rendered by the first strike is visible and rotated about 45 degrees counter clockwise with the chin from the first strike apparent immediately behind the eye of the second strike. Move your gaze up and to the left of the chin and you can easily see a nose in the wreath and then a forehead in the hair above the wreath.

First strike HALF (left), second strike HALF (right)

First strike HALF (left), second strike HALF (right)

Often the most easily spotted evidence of a multiple struck coin is in the legends. This coin shows such evidence around the legends on both sides. Rather than look at all of them we’ve picked the HALF from the reverse which you can see above. On the left of the image you can see the HALF from the original strike. It is flattened but the outline is quite obvious. On the right of the image you can see the HALF of the second strike. You’ll note that the lettering has various raised areas that correspond with the remnants of the underlying PENNY from the original strike. These raised areas are very typical of rotated multiple struck coins and often result in a bumpy and spidery appearance of the legends.

Can we date the coin more accurately?

The last two digits in the date of this coin are completely absent and it appears at first glance that dating the coin is not possible. However, if we focus on the date remnants from the original coin strike then we can actually date the coin.


Identification of Date. First strike date (TOP), Highlighting date (MIDDLE), normal 1964Y date (BOTTOM)

The image above shows a close up of the date area from the original strike of the coin. If you look closely (and perhaps squint and stand on one leg) you can probably see the remnants of a 1 and 9 on the left, so the coin was struck in the 20th century…..well of course it was we didn’t need to see the numerals to know that! More interestingly if you look to the right of the remnants of the 9 you can just make out the faint remains of two more numerals. We’ve highlighted the relevant parts in red in the middle of the image. Comparing them with the date area of a normal 1964Y half penny it’s clear that our double struck coin is a 1964 dated coin.

How do Rotated Double Strikes occur?

There are two theories as to how rotated double strikes occur.

  1. The coin is struck as normal and when the dies retract the coin fails to eject correctly but actually moves slightly and then falls back into the collar die, the press cycles again and the coin is struck a second time. The movement the coin experiences as it fails to eject correctly causes it to rotate slightly.
  2. A coin is struck normally and ejected from the press normally. Somehow it ends up dropping out of the normal manufacturing process, perhaps falling off of a conveyor, or being dropped on the ground when being transferred to a storage container. When mint workers are cleaning up their workspace they sweep up the coin and it is carelessly placed back into a coin blank hopper or drum and the coin is put through the manufacturing process again where it is struck a second time.

Personally we lean toward the second theory. A very similar method is thought to be behind wrong or foreign planchet errors, basically the wrong planchets end up contaminating the blank supply for some other coin. If it can happen for blanks then it’s quite feasible for it to happen with already struck coins.


Rotated double strikes are much rarer in the Australian coin series than the more often seen double strikes were the coin moves laterally between strikes. It is helpful to understand the characteristics of rotated double strike coins as we’ve pointed out in this blog post so that you, the collector, can correctly identify a rotated double struck error. It’s also useful to be able to examine such errors minutely to date them as we’ve demonstrated here.

Posted in Error Coins

2015 2 Dollar Remembrance Orange Coloured Coin

2015 $2 Orange Remembrance

2015 $2 Orange Remembrance

The orange coloured $2 coin you might have found in your change marks Remembrance Day 2015 and the coins orange coloured rings resemble the glow of a sunset. Remembrance Day 11/11/2015 recalled 100 years since the poem “In Flanders Fields” was first heard and the text from the poem adorns the fields on this coin. The poem was written by Colonel John McCrae in 1915 during World War I amid the second battle of Ypres. It was here McCrae’s friend was killed which was the inspiration for the poem. McCrae, a doctor, was in charge of a small first-aid post during the battle and wrote the poem in pencil on a page torn from his despatch book. The coin design also features sculpted flying larks as mentioned in the war poem, the orange reverse colour depicting the “sunset glow” also in the text of the poem.

The commemorative coloured $2 is just one of a number issued by the Royal Australian Mint for Remembrance and ANZAC day in the theme of 100 years of ANZAC 2014-2018. 2,151,000 of these orange coloured coins were sent into circulation at the end of October 2015. 30,002 were issued with a C mintmark in a collector card. 12,117 are listed as issued in the Royal Australian Mint annual report for 2015-16 which includes 11,000 in a PNC from Australia Post and a specially foil postmarked and individually numbered 1,111 in a limited edition PNC.

Posted in Collecting Coins

Convict Love Token Exhibition in Ballarat

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E.) in Ballarat currently has on display a 45 piece collection of convict love tokens that date from 1791-1843. Until 22 Jan the display features these rare keepsakes given to loved ones before the convicts left for the new colony in Australia. This is possibly the largest private collection of these tokens in the world and is well worth the visit.

The exhibition is called “Leaden Hearts” which is the name given to the tokens by the convicts and their guards. The tokens are made from smoothed down coins inscribed with text, a design and/or heartfelt messages. Often this message is a name and forget-me-not which speaks for itself. These were most commonly large copper British cartwheel pennies from 1797. They were intended to be kept in pockets or a safe place close to the heart as a reminder of their far-away lost love or family member. These rare tokens are on loan from the Peter Lane collection.

Some of the Tokens on Display

Some of the Tokens on Display

Peter Lane and His Prized Collection on Display at M.A.D.E

Peter Lane and His Prized Collection on Display at M.A.D.E

Posted in Coin News, Collectables and Ephemera

New Issues Are Keeping Coin Collectors Very Busy

Coin and banknote collectors have been manic for the new design next generation $5 notes. First and Last prefix 2015 notes of the old design have also surfaced when we all thought 2013 might be the last year of issue. It’s not just crazy in the banknote collecting world there are more new coins on the horizon too.

The Royal Australian Mint (RAM) has been slow sending out orders of late and customers have been getting surprise goodies as an apology for slow delivery in their packages when they do arrive. Selling the 50th anniversary of decimal currency commemorative circulation coins has been both a win and a pain for the RAM with many orders placed owing to the “one bag per order” rule which has been tireless and frustrating for collectors.The 160 years of Holden Heritage commemorative coins have been another hugely popular issue with the special non-coloured bonus coin a massive win with sale prices for this set booming. The Queen’s 90th birthday made to order 3 coin set had collectors smiling earlier this year when a mintage of 9,108 was announced. That smile quickly turned sour when each of these coins turned up in an Australia Post PNC and more recently a prestige 3 coin PNC making the mintage for these coins much higher than anticipated.

2016 Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday Prestige 3 Coin (90 cents) PNC

2016 Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday Prestige 3 Coin (90 cents) PNC

Looking ahead the most recent currency determination tells us what is likely coming our way soon and for the new year. We’re looking forward to a number of coins depicting military awards. 20 cent denominations will feature the Star of Gallantry, Distinguished Service Cross, Nursing Service Cross, Military Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Victory Medal, 1939-1945 Star Military Award, Australian Active Service Medal, OSM Australian Operational Service Medal -Greater Middle East Operation Military Award and Australian Defence Medal.

25 cent coins, the first Australian coins struck in magnetic copper plated steel will feature the Victoria Cross, George Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and Medal for Gallantry. Of course we may be wrong about these coins being magnetic because the RAM annual report for 2015-16 suggests that our newest circulating coins in copper-nickel have been made in nickel plated steel which, if correct is of massive importance to the tiny population who care! It’s likely that’s just a very awkward typo for the Mint. (Now who’s gone to get a magnet and are checking the new coins in their wallet?)

We’ll soon be seeing the release of next years coin sets and we’re perhaps looking at the 2017 mint set coins featuring each of the planets of the solar system including the 1 cent and 2 cent -now that sounds cool!

2017 marks the centenary of the completion of the Trans-Australian rail line linking Western Australia to the eastern states. This 1693 kilometre stretch of rail line was completed on October 17th 1917. It took 2.5 million hardwood sleepers and 140,000 tonnes of rail line to complete and is a fitting theme for the mintmark commemorative dollar for 2017. The coin is designed by Tony Dean and will feature the various mintmarks, counterstamps (including an Australia counterstamp) and privymarks produced throughout the year as well as the gallery press at the Mint in Canberra.

For all the crystal ball gazing it won’t be long before it’s Remembrance Day and the Mint looks to be issuing another coloured commemorative $2 coin in the Lest We Forget theme. This time similar to the Paralympic coin in that it will be multi-coloured yellow, green, blue and indigo. We can’t wait!

Posted in Coin News

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