As originally published in Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine Yearbook for 2021/2022
What Went Wrong -error coins that escaped the Mint
Figure 1 shows an interesting Melbourne minted 1964 penny. The sharp-eyed reader will likely be drawn to the double forehead of Her Majesty on the obverse. On the reverse there is great interest in the second set of numerals 964 just below the date (see Figure 2). What is the cause of both of these distinguishing features?
This 1964 penny is correctly classified as “double struck in collar” or perhaps a “rotated double strike”. Both terms are accurate and both add valuable information that help us understand the error. What you are looking at is a 1964 penny that was struck once in the normal fashion. However, something then went wrong with the coin press and the coin failed to eject properly from the collar die. It did move during the failed ejection, rotating perhaps 10 degrees or so before settling back into the collar. The coin was then struck again and after this second strike the penny ejected correctly and entered circulation. The grade is excellent so clearly some vigilant individual saw it very quickly and it was put aside as an item of curiosity.
Knowing that this coin has been struck twice within the collar we can now look with fresh eyes at the Queen’s double forehead and that second set of 964 numerals. What are they? They are of course remnants of the first time this coin was struck, somewhat obliterated by the second strike. Understanding this we can examine the rest of the coin and see other features that betray the nature of the error. Look at the lumpy surfaces of AUSTRALIA on the reverse, see the ghostly remnants of a G between DEI and GRATIA on the obverse, and note that the Queen has also gained a second neck line!
The ”double struck in collar” error is a particularly interesting one, especially when the rotation between strikes is large enough to give rise to strong indicators observed on this coin. It’s an error type to look out for, and for the more advanced collector, identify coins that have been struck more than twice in collar! We’ve seen one coin that was struck 6 or 7 times in collar, but that’s a story for another day.
Mark Nemtsas and Kathryn Harris own and run The Purple Penny coin shop in Adelaide coin shop in Adelaide and are passionate about error coins.