New Zealand 1965 Sixpence Broken Wing Variety

August 20, 2012

New Zealand 1965 Sixpence - Broken Wing Variety Left, Normal Coin on Right

New Zealand coins are an enjoyable and generally inexpensive series to collect and to a lot of Australians of great interest because of the close and happy relations between our country and New Zealand. However, we'd have to say that the level of information available on New Zealand coins either via books, catalogues or even online is very poor at best. One New Zealand variety of interest is the 1965 Sixpence with the "broken wing". Most references simply refer to this variety by name without any description of what characteristics the coin has. We were lucky enough recently to find a lovely high grade example of this variety and you can see a picture of it above on the left, with a normal sixpence of the same year on the right for comparison.

New Zealand 1965 Sixpence Detail - Broken Wing Variety Left, Normal Coin on Right

Above is a detailed shot of the wing of the Huia bird on both coins showing the area of interest. It's clear that a great amount of the detail is missing from the broken wing variety. What we're not sure about is the reason for this missing detail. The author of the major New Zealand coin catalogue suggests the missing detail is due to an oil filled die but we found ourselves doubting this for three reasons. Firstly, the surface of the missing area doesn't have the same texture of other oil filled die errors that we've seen. Secondly, all of the other (admittedly poor) images we've found of this variety show a very similar (perhaps identical ) amount of missing detail. In our experience die fill errors tend to show some sort of progression as more and more of the oil adheres to coins and the amount of fill lessens over time. The final reason is the area that lacks detail appears to be at least the same level and in some cases higher than the level of missing detail, which is exactly the opposite of what a filled die would cause. Die fill causes a general raising of the surface of the die and hence a lowering of the surface of the coin struck from those dies.

It's hard to say exactly what is the actual cause of the 1965 broken wing sixpence but we're leaning away from the idea of some sort of filled die. A couple of suggestions are either a damaged or a badly re-touched die. The jury is out for now, we'll keep an eye out for more of this variety and see if there's any variations in either the size or appearance of the region of missing detail.

In any event, it's worth keeping an eye out for this variety and with a catalogue value of $50 or more it's valued at 10x the normal Kiwi 1965 sixpence. Even at $50 the coin might be a little undervalued with an uncirculated coin of the type selling in late 2011 at a Noble's auction in Sydney for $140 plus commission. Not to be sneezed at!

Posted by mnemtsas at August 20, 2012 5:34 PM
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