Brisbane Coin Fair Overprints – Collectable or Silverfish Food?

Brisbane Coin Fair Overprint

Brisbane Coin Fair Overprint

The Brisbane Coin Fair run by VP Coins (Vic Power) is by all reports an excellent coin show to visit. It is attended by a lot of dealers, held twice a year and many people say is a lot better than some of the ANDA coin shows held around Australia. For the show in February 2008, as a marketing exercise Vic overprinted 973 Coat of Arms mintmark dollar coin folders with “Brisbane Coin Fair February 2008”. Now these were just the general issue Coat of Arms “C” mintmark dollars in their packaging, but the folder was over-printed. He repeated this exercise in October 2008 (with COA “B” privy coins- 1089 issued) and again this month but with the new 60 Years of Australian Citizenship Dollar “C” mintmark. You can see one of the overprinted coin folders from this months show above, 1493 of these were issued at the show.

These overprint folders present an interesting conundrum to the collectors of Australian $1 coins. Namely, should you collect them or not? They are, after all, the same coins you can get in non-overprinted folders. So in reality all you are collecting if you do choose to get them is the packaging. There are really just three arguments for collecting them.

  1. Firstly, they are dollar related, and if one was to be pedantic, for completeness, then you do require them for a truly comprehensive collection.
  2. The second argument is the mostly unsubstantiated claim that these overprints are recognised by the Royal Australian Mint (in fact some of the production of the first overprint was supposedly done by the RAM). The claims are restricted to ‘someone read in the Australian Coin and Banknotes magazine that they were recognised’ and ‘the RAM is supposed to have an overprint in their museum’. Neither of these claims is particularly strong nor supported by any real proof.

    UPDATE 10 October 2015
    Vic Power of VP Coins in Queensland sent us some clarification on this point 6 years after this article was first published. Vic ran the Brisbane Coin Fair so if anyone knew the truth behind these issues then he would. Here’s what he told us:

    The overprint was always done by a foil printer in Brisbane and never by the mint. All overprints were approved by the RAM prior to printing. The RAM requested that we send them a couple of examples of the finished product for their records which would explain any that they may have on (sic) display.

  3. The final reason for wanting these overprints would be purely financial. These overprints are scarce, with just 1000-1500 printed for each show. They are available to people who attend the shows for just $6 or so, and sell on eBay for $20. The February 2008 overprint was getting $40-$50 at the peak of it’s prices.

Well what are the reasons for not wanting to collect them? Just one really. They are not a unique coin, they are just packaging. Silverfish food. As someone I know says, it’s just ‘packyboxitis’ on the behalf of collectors who want them. If you’re collecting these why not the other varied packaging that dollar coins come in, the various VIP issues, Berlin Coin Fair overprints, mint sets, proof sets, the list goes on.

What do I think? Well I have one of each of the overprints for completeness, but if the prices for them in the secondary market had reached exorbitant levels I would not have bothered. They are collectable and interesting, but I am not really sure they should comprise part of what I’d call an official dollar coin collection.

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