Gallery Press Dollar Coins - Collect or Not?

March 27, 2009

Australian 2009 Citizenship Dollar 'C' Mintmark

Each year the Royal Australian Mint has a themed coin for the year that is available with a range of mintmarks, counterstamps and privy marks. This year it is the Citizenship Dollar. If you visit the mint in Canberra then you'll have the chance to mint your own 'C' mintmark coin on one of the gallery presses. You can also purchase a 'C' mintmark coin from the mint shop. Interestingly, the reeding on the edges of each of these three coins is aligned differently with respect to the design on each side of the coin. It is my understanding that the interrupted reeding on the edge of Australian $1 coins is formed as part of the minting process by the collar.

Now, I am no expert on the minting process and dont really know if the collar can be fitted in any orientation to the coining press. If this is the case, then the alignment of the reeding would be completely random for each die setup. However, if it is fitted with design features that key into the coining press then alignment would be fixed for each press or fixed for each die combination. The reason I'm talking about this is that some dollar coin collectors insist that to have a complete dollar set then you must have a 'C' mintmark coin from each gallery press AND the normal production presses. To this end I've taken some images of coins minted from each gallery press and the normal production coin.

Production Press 'C' Mintmark

The above coin is from the normal production presses. You can see that the commencement of the reeding pretty much coincides with the first and second A in Australia.

Gallery Press 1 'C' Mintmark

The above coin is from gallery press 1. You can see that the commencement of the reeding cuts through the middle of the S in Australia.

Gallery Press 2 'C' Mintmark

The above coin is from gallery press 2. You can see that the commencement of the reeding cuts through the middle of the U in Australia.

Now my contention with dollar collectors who insist on having the gallery press 1 and 2 coins as 'varieties' required for a complete collection is do they actually know if the reeding position varies in normal production coins? After all, if they do, dont they require a production dollar coin with each reeding position? What if reeding is completely random? Well that means the 'complete' collection is essentially dependent on how many die runs made for a years production of dollar coins!!! Below is an image of a sample of dollar coins I had lying about that certainly does suggest that reeding position varies among production coins too!

A Sample of Circulation Dollars

So we can see from this that the reeding seems to be the same for the 2003, 2006, and the second 2008 coins. The 2007 and 2008 coins also appear to match up. The third 2008 coin is different from all the others. It is also interesting to note that none of these coins matches the reeding positions on the production press 'C' mintmark coin shown above. So what's to be concluded from this?

1. Possibly reeding position is completely random depending on a particular die setup.
2. Possibly reeding is dependent on the coining press into which a die set is fitted.
3. Possibly reeding is dependent on each die 'collar' that is manufactured.

Someone who has a working relationship with the RAM should probably query this so that dedicated collectors can decide if collecting coins by varying reeding position is really worthwhile or entirely fruitless. Until then, saying that you definitely need a gallery press 1 & 2 coin for a complete dollar set neither wrong nor right. If you insist that it is required then you must hunt for normal circulation dollars with different reeding positions. Alternately you could decide that it's a pointless exercise and decide that a mint your own 'C' mintmark is required as is a production 'C' mintmark. Which gallery press the MYO coin comes from doesn't really matter at all!

Posted by mnemtsas at March 27, 2009 12:38 PM
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