As originally published in Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine November 2021
What Went Wrong -error coins that escaped the Mint
This month we have the pleasure of showcasing an error coin that is very rare indeed. What looks at first glance to be a pretty rubbish two cent piece is one of the hardest error types to find.
This coin is underweight and considerably thinner than it should be. Looking at the heavily striated surface texture of the reverse allows us to identify that it was here that a fatal flaw occurred. It’s along this face that the planchet split in half along a line parallel to the surfaces of the blank. One half of that split planchet went on to be struck into the two cent piece you see here.
The weakness in the strike we see on both sides of the coin resulted from the split planchet being severely underweight. The strike weakness is not uniform as the planchet was thicker and thinner in different areas. However, in general there is weakness on the periphery and in the centre of the coin the features are more strongly struck. The area where the planchet was the thinnest was behind Her Majesty’s head and in front of the frill-necked lizard’s face.
With regard to scarcity this error coin has two characteristics that make it extremely difficult to find. Firstly, it is very unusual to come across a split planchet one or two cent coin. By comparison, it is very common to see split planchet copper nickel coins, especially on the 5c and 10c denominations. Secondly, of all the types of split planchet errors the ‘struck after split’ type is by far the hardest to find. It’s important to understand that there are several types of split planchet errors that can found. These may be partially split and open like a clamshell, a planchet that has fully split and is retained as a mated pair or fully split and only half the coin being present. Each of those types split after the coins were struck. In the case of our coin the coin has split and then been struck easily making it the hardest to find type of split planchet error.
We’d like to thank the owner for allowing us to image and admire this error coin.
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.