World War 1 Australian Identity Disc for Edmund Stanley


Handmade Identity Disc for Edmund Stanley

Handmade Identity Disc for Edmund Stanley

Above is crude World War 1 identity disk made from an old head (1895 to 1901) Queen Victoria Penny. It was purchased from a seller in the United Kingdom in late 2016. The disk is holed for suspension and the reverse has been skimmed and engraved using the ‘wiggle work’ technique. The disc reverse reads:

2973
E.J. Stanley
7th 57th
AIF
R.C.

Edmund John (or Joe) Stanley (service number 2973) was born circa 1894 in either Victoria or New South Wales. He enlisted in the AIF in 1916 and shipped to France on the HMAT Africa. His trip was an eventful one and he was charged with offenses no less than four times, his crimes included “using insolent language”, “destroying government property”, “insolence to an NCA”, and “being absent from duty”. When he arrived in France the man was taken on strength of the 7th Reinforcements of the 57th Battalion. During his time in France he went AWL (Absent without Leave) several times and was subject to courts martial at least twice because of it. He received a 9 month prison sentence that was commuted after just four months. At the end of the war he went AWL again for two months before being found and imprisoned again. Stanley was finally shipped back to Australia in 1919 and true to character when the ship made landfall in Adelaide he went AWL again. According to his service records he was not pursued and was discharged from service.

His service records indicate that Stanley’s medals were not issued “on account of this man’s unsatisfactory service in the A.I.F.”. His record includes letters from him to the authorities asking for his medals on 5 separate occasions and being denied each time. He also asks for his certificate of discharge several times as he either has lost his copy or, on two occasions, lost them in a fire. In his letters his middle name sometimes is Joe and others times John and his date of birth varies from 1885 to 1894. Searching newspapers of the period indicates he was most likely an abusive alcoholic with reports of his crimes of theft, being publicly drunk, and beating his wife in public. All of these reports are in and around the NSW Riverina and around Echuca in Victoria. The newspaper articles also show a variation in his date of birth and middle name.

One can only imagine that his middle name, place of birth, and age were not certain to him perhaps due to his alcoholism or other illness or due to a poor up-bringing. A hint of his troubled up-bringing is found in an article on Trove from the Bendigo Advertiser in 1911. It refers to a “youth named Edmund Stanley” who was charged with stealing a watch in Moama (next to Echuca in Victoria). The very last record we can find of Stanley is his death record from 1962 noting that he his grave can be found in Echuca. We are unable to find record of any children and it appears that his wife pre-deceased him by some years. This ID disk is a sad memento of what was clearly a troubled man.

References

1.National Archives of Australia, (Date Unknown) Record B2455 for Stanley, Edmond John, Available: E.J. Stanley Service record, [Accessed 16 February 2017]
2.Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser. Mon 17 Nov 1952. Court of Petty Sessions. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101622972. [Accessed 3 February 2017]
3.Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser. Fri 2 Apr 1943. POLICE COURT. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101539314. [Accessed 3 February 2017]
4.Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser. Fri 6 Aug 1943. Alleged Insulting Words. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101550648. [Accessed 3 February 2017]
5.Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser. Tue 2 Mar 1920. POLICE COURT. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article100086527. [Accessed 3 February 2017]
6.Bendigo Advertiser. Wed 3 May 1911. Alleged Larceny. [ONLINE] Available at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/89844035. [Accessed 3 February 2017].
7.Births Deaths Marriages Victoria. 2017. Family History Search. [ONLINE] Available at: https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/bdm/indexsearch.doj?viewSequence=200&language=en&trxId=IDX&commandAction_displayDetailsAction%3DF7040B81B100994AE8D51D3250EF8070. [Accessed 3 February 2017]

Posted in Collectables and Ephemera

Australian 1966 Blue Card Mint Set


Front of 1966 Carded Mint Set

Front of 1966 Carded Mint Set

Back of 1966 Carded Mint Set

Back of 1966 Carded Mint Set

February 14th 1966 saw the introduction of decimal coins into circulation in Australia and for the first time the Royal Australian Mint made uncirculated grade coins in sets available to collectors and visitors to the mint. The very first of these sets were coins sealed in plastic and then sealed in a blue and white cardboard holder which was initially available only to visitors to the new Royal Australian Mint facility in Canberra. The sets included an example of each of the new decimal coins, the 80% silver round 50c coin, the cupro nickel 20c, 10c, and 5c and finally the bronze 2 and 1 cent coins. With a total face value of 88c these carded mint sets were available for just $1 (just a 14% markup), a far cry from the margins achieved with mint product sold these days (the 2010 mint set has a massive 679% markup)!

Advertisement for the set, Australian Coin Review October 1966

Advertisement for the set, Australian Coin Review October 1966


The new decimal coins all had a common obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin, while the reverses depicting typically Australian wildlife were all designed by Stuart Devlin.

77,250 of the sets were issued during 1966 and 1967, but shortages of Australian minted 20, 10, and 5 cent coins meant that 67,250 of the sets contained London (which had been minting Australian decimal coins since 1965) minted cupro nickel coins. The remaining 10,000 sets contained 20, 10, and 5 cent coins that were minted in Canberra and continued to be available right though until early 1967.

As is normal for most numismatic collectables, condition is everything with regards to the value of these sets. Prices for these sets currently range from $40 or so for a poor set that is damaged or written on, up to $80+ for a pristine set with un-toned copper coins. It is quite common for these sets to be found stapled across the top and we’re not sure if this was done by the RAM at time of issue or later by collectors to stop the paper separating. Either way the stapling does have some effect on the value with the staples often rusting and staining the cardboard. Just recently we saw a lovely 1966 carded mint set sell at an auction in Canberra with the original RAM packing slip, this went for $140. This was the first time we’ve seen one come up for sale with the packing slip. You can see an image of a packing slip below (we’ve been lucky enough to secure a number of these sets with slips just in the last few days).

1966 Blue Card Mint Set with RAM Packing Slip

1966 Blue Card Mint Set with RAM Packing Slip

To have the original slip, an unstapled set with pristine coins in undamaged or non dog-eared cardboard is certainly a superior set to look out for, if you can find one!

Posted in Australian Decimal Changeover

2017 Next Generation $10 Note Design Revealed


2017 Next Generation $10 Notes (bottom), Old Polymer Notes (top). Image courtesy  Reserve Bank of Australia.

2017 Next Generation $10 Notes (bottom), Old Polymer Notes (top). Image Courtesy Reserve Bank of Australia.

The design for the Next Generation $10 was revealed today by the Reserve Bank of Australia. It will be released into circulation from September 2017 exactly one year after the Next Generation $5 note was also issued. This will be the second Australian banknote redesign in the series with the other denominations to follow.

The new ten dollar note will retain the same colour scheme and feature the same famous Australian writers Dame Mary Gilmore and AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson. A theme of the Next Generation notes is to include a different species of Australian native wattle and bird on each denomination. The new $10 will depict Bramble Wattle and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. It will also exhibit security and anti-counterfeiting features seen on the Next Generation 2016 $5 Note such as a clear window, the rolling colour effect, embossing, microtext and UV fluorescence. It’s also the first Australian banknote to depict the signature of the new Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe.

2017 Next Generation $10 Notes. Image Courtesy Reserve Bank of Australia

2017 Next Generation $10 Notes. Image Courtesy Reserve Bank of Australia

Posted in Banknotes, Coin News

Canadian Mint Employee Heads to the Dark Side

Do you have some gold tucked away in a safe place? This Mint worker did! He was quite literally sitting on a gold mine. The now ex-Canadian Mint employee hid various sized gold pieces in his rectum to evade detection despite setting off metal detectors nothing untoward was found on his person. Leston Lawrence was found guilty in November of stealing 22 gold “pucks” and has this week been given a sentence of 30 months in prison and a CAD$190,000 fine. If he cannot repay this fine within 3 years of his release he will be sent back to prison for a further 30 months.

In early 2015 suspicious banking activity was noticed (a bad smell one pun too many?) and the Canadian Police found gold pieces in his safety deposit box that matched those produced at his place of work. It is believed Mr Lawrence used Vaseline and latex gloves which were found in his locker to smuggle out the gold. The conviction covered the stealing of 22 gold pieces over a period of 3 months in 2014, reselling the gold and spending the proceeds of his crime. Mr Lawrence had been an employee of the Mint for 7 years before being fired in March 2015. The Mint has since upgraded their security procedures.

Posted in Coin News

2017 Kangaroo and Joey 2 Cent Pattern Coin -Stuart Devlin Exhibition

2017 Bronze Stuart Devlin Exhibition Coin (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

2017 Bronze Stuart Devlin Exhibition Coin (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

The coin above is titled the Stuart Devlin Exhibition coin and is released to coincide with an exhibition currently being shown at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. On display is some of the works by Goldsmith and jeweller to the Queen, Stuart Devlin AO and this Australian 2 cent featuring the Kangaroo and Joey is one of his designs proposed for the new decimal currency in 1966. It was Mr Devlins vision to see this design on the 2 cent piece but it was the frill-necked lizard that the public saw don the new 2 cent in 1966. This design has been struck in 2017 as a testimony to the now 85 year old designer with the midas touch. Stuart Devlins designs usually have small SD initials on the coin reverse somewhere indicating he was the designer, this coin lacks this detail.

The coin has the same specifications as our now obsolete 2 cent coin last seen in circulation in 1992. Minted in a bronze alloy of 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and .5% tin each coin weighs 5.2 grams and has a diameter of 21.59 mm. This coin (in this packaging?) has a mintage of 30,000 and is issued for $12.50.

The design as it was proposed prior to the introduction of decimal currency in 1966 was first a series of sketches that was then reproduced onto a plaster which is seen below.

Proposed 2 Cent Design Plaster

Proposed 2 Cent Design Plaster

Posted in Coin News, Collecting Coins

1914-1919 Post Master General’s South Australia Medal – E.H. Jennings

Medal Awarded by PMG's Department to E.H. Jennings

Medal Awarded by PMG’s Department to E.H. Jennings

Medal with suspension awarded by the Post Master General’s Department (South Australia) to employees who served in World War 1. Medal is bronze with a loop, measures 31mm in diameter and weighs 10.1 grams.

Obverse: Depiction of the Adelaide GPO which is found on the corner of King William Street and Franklin Street in Adelaide.
Reverse: Inscription that reads “FROM FELLOW OFFICERS P.M.G.s DEPARTMENT S.A. IN APPRECIATION OF SERVICES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919″. Above the inscription the medal is engraved “E.H. Jennings”.

Ernest Howard Jennings (service number 2136) was 27 years old when he enlisted in the AIF on March 29th, 1916, the third brother from the same family to enlist. His military records lists his profession as Postman. He spent the best part of 7 months training with the 3/5 Pioneer training company before he was sent to France in November 1916 where he was taken on the strength of the 5th Pioneer Battalion. He remained on the roll of the 5th Pioneers for the next 11 months continuously except for two short stays in hospital while he was sick. On 12 October 1917 he is listed as wounded in action in France, the extent and nature of the wounds is not certain but a newspaper article suggests it was due to trench foot and shell shock. He is listed as wounded again on 10 November 1917, a gun shot wound to the buttock and he was evacuated to the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium, were sadly, Ernest Howard Jennings died of his wounds. The date of his injury and the location of the casualty station, the place where he received his wounds (in or around Anzac Ridge near Ypres) suggests that Ernest died in the offensive at Ypres in Belgium.

You can view the service record of E.H. Jennings here. You can also read a little about his life and his wife in this article from the Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record (30 November 1917).

I took the time to travel to the GPO in Adelaide on the off chance that their World War 1 Roll of Honour was visible in the public areas of the building. Indeed it was, and you can see the handsome carved marble roll below with Ernest Jennings’ name 3 names up from the bottom left.

Marble Plaque at GPO in Adelaide - Jennings name bottom left

Marble Plaque at GPO in Adelaide – Jennings name bottom left

A helpful staff member said there was another roll in a nearby hallway. In a dim tiled hall with stone walls there was a very large wooden roll several meters wide and 2 meters high, painted in gold with about 280 names of men from S.A. Post, Telegraph and Telephone Department “who have joined the Australian Expeditionary Forces 1914-1918″. The board was erected in November 1915 and presumably kept up to date during the war period and at the conclusion of the conflict. Jennings name is found in column 4, 7 names up from the bottom.

Top of Wooden Roll of Honour in GPO

Top of Wooden Roll of Honour in GPO

Jennings name in left column, 7 from bottom.

Jennings name in left column, 7 from bottom.

You can read more about the wooden roll of honour in the GPO here. It’s made of Queensland maple and originally only had space for 250 names, I wonder if they had to extend it? The cost is listed as £30. The average weekly wage in South Australia in 1915 was 54 shillings, which is a jot under 3 pounds. So the cost of the roll was 10 weeks wages. Costly indeed.

References

Red Cross death records

MyHeritage page for EH Jennings

Posted in Medals

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


Question:
“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

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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: 15:04 24 Mar 2017