Q & A: The future of Mintmarks, Counterstamps and Privymarks and the direction of the RAM

October 18, 2009


Hi. I am interested in your opinion on the future of counterstamps in Australian numismatics. I read your post from November 2008 on the difference between mintmarks, privymarks, and counterstamps and understand the difference between these marks. Do you anticipate that the RAM will continue releasing limited numbers of counterstamp coins for collectors at special events each year? Despite their limited numbers the 2008 coat of arms counterstamp coins do not demand particularly high prices (you can buy them on ebay for less than $10). What is your opinion on the future of counterstamps and what factors will influence their value over time? Thanks very much.


Hi, It's like asking what will be the next issue that's a big winner like the VC dollar or The Ashes pnc, it's almost an impossible question. Things have changed recently at the RAM. Under the guidance of CEO Janine Murphy the mintmarks, privy marks and counterstamps were introduced so that it was easier to identify what was minted where. It was getting too confusing to differentiate mobile press and production press coins so these new names were introduced. Janine also chose the design for the C master mintmark which is the first time a mintmark (or stamp of any kind) has been put on a mob of roos dollar. Janine fell ill and the RAM has been under the guidance of acting CEO Graham Smith for over a year now. Strange how this year they didn't release many mintmarks, privy's or counterstamps and did not attend one show with the mobile press while under his guidance. This is very disappointing in my opinion. I'd suggest that introducing the mintmarks, counterstamps and privymarks was Janine's idea and will not be carried through with the zest that she would have wanted. Janine passed away last month so the direction the RAM will take is yet to be seen. They will need to appoint a permanent CEO which no doubt will have his/her own ideas on the direction of releases. I think some of the lower mintage counterstamps have yet to realise their true value. But this may not be seen for a nuber of years yet. With any big money making coin it is usually seen in the first 6 months of issue if it's a winner. You've also got to be very lucky to pick the coin that is going to be profittable. I picked the master mintmark c counterstamp as a rare coin but only because the RAM limited availability to those who could attend the RAM over 3 days and strike the coin themselves. They then changed the rules by making limited numbers available to dealers. A coin such as the Perth Mint Redback spider coin legal tender of Tuvalu has had a massive increase in price since it's issue, tell me why people want a redback spider coin that isn't even legal tender of Australia? There are so many released and they are all artificially 'rare', the collector market can't and won't support all of these 'rarities' at high prices. It's hit and miss I'm afraid. I hope I have answered at least some of your questions here. Kind Regards, The australian-threepence.com team

Reader response:

Hi. Thanks very much for your thorough and thoughtful response. I feel it was an important step by the RAM to define mintmarks, privy marks, and counterstamps and to give them a distinct role in coin production as I agree with you that it was getting confusing to differentiate between coins. I also feel that if the use of counterstamps continues in association with one or two products annually and in the same limited numbers that have been released to date, the counterstamp has the potential to become a highly sought after feature. But as you mentioned it is very difficult to predict which issue will be a big winner and this is just my feeling at this point. My understanding is that for the 2009 $1 Master Mintmark Counterstamp it was available for 3 days at the RAM and coin dealers were given an allocation of no more than 50 coins each, giving a total mintage of around 6000 coins. I would be interested in knowing if you have different information on mintage numbers. This is significantly less than the mintages of other sought after $1 coins... 1. 1990 kangaroo mint set only - mintage 106,218 - current catalogue value $45 2. 1992 barcelona olympics - total mintage over 150,000 including mint sets - CV around $75 3. 2000 VC - mintage almost 100,000 - CV $300 4. 2000 last anzacs PNC - mintage 47,830 - CV $130 5. 2003 vietnam - mintage 57,000 - CV $50 5. 2007 Ashes PNC - mintage 8,000 - CV $160 Based on mintage alone you would expect the 2009 Master Mintmark Counterstamp to increase in value to at least match any of the above. I wondered if the reason the RAM did not attend coin shows this year was because they were told to cut expenses after the federal budget suddenly went from massive surplus to massive deficit. Maybe they will only offer one counterstamp product released at the RAM in Canberra for the next few years. I hope they do continue with counterstamps as I like the way the mint your own coins engage collectors in the minting process. I am very interested in seeing what direction the mint will take in relation to counterstamps and the value these coins have over the next few years. Thanks for the discussion and I look forward to hearing any other thoughts you may have on this topic. Kind regards
Hi, We can only wait and see the RAM annual report to confirm mintages but what you suggest about the Master mintmark counterstamp seems about right. I don't expect the master mintmark C counterstamp to do any significant price movement now as the initial demand is well and truly over, the price should be settling a bit now. You haven't even talked about the overprinted folders such as the brisbane coin fair or the berlin show overprints which are no special coin, just packaging. Have you heard of the term "packyboxitis"? Are you a member of the *ACBO Forum -Australian Coins and Banknotes Online? They would definitely appreciate some discussion of this. Lots of knowledgeable folk there. It will be interesting to see over the coming year what changes are implemented at the RAM. Cheers, The australian-threepence.com blog team

*edit 9/9/12 The ACBO forum is now inactive, please visit The Australian Coin Forum

Posted by harrisk at October 18, 2009 2:52 PM
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