eBay Error Coins of the Week

It’s time to have a look at some of the most interesting error coins available to Australian buyers via eBay auctions or BIN listings.

Australian 1966 Upset Coin Error

The upset 1966 London minted 10 cent is a particular favourite of ours. The result of a moving obverse die these errors are available in a variety of degrees of upset. The one in this eBay auction is upset by what appears to be a bit less than 270 degrees, which is very similar to one of the coins in our article about this interesting error. The upset 10c available in the eBay auction appears to be circulated, but it’s an error that shows up infrequently and with uncirculated examples worth quite a bit more might be a bargain for the collector looking for one for their collection.

1947 Great Britain Sixpence Struck on a Split Planchet

Coins struck on split planchets are among the scarcest of decimal errors. These are different from the much more common split planchet coins, in that they are split BEFORE the coin is struck, while split planchet coins split AFTER the coin is struck. They are rare enough that we’re aware of less than 10 extant examples in the Australian decimal series. As a consequence if you want one you’ll most likely have to look at a foreign coin. In this eBay auction we’ve got a 1947 British sixpence that was struck on a split planchet. It shows the tell-tale striations on the obverse and strike weakness on the reverse. It’s a decent example of this unusual type of error.

View the 1947 Sixpence on a Split Planchet Error on eBay

2001 Centenary of Federation Upset Full Clockface Set

The 2001 Centenary of Federation Upset Dollar Error is the best known of all Australian upset coin errors. They are reasonably common and at any one time there’s usually several on eBay. What’s not common is someone having the patience to put together of 12 of the coins whose amount of die upset represents each hour of the clock face. That is, 30 degrees as 1 o’clock, 60 degrees as 2 o’clock, and so on. This eBay item does represent that though, 11 upset COF dollars and one properly manufactured coin giving a full clock face of upsets. We know of a few other people who have searched many thousands of coins to put together one of these sets!

View the 2001 Upset Dollar Coin Set on eBay

Information provided in this article is our opinion only on the coin depicted in the images shown in the eBay listing. It is not an endorsement of any seller and any purchase our readers make through eBay is at their own risk and adheres to eBay’s terms and conditions.

Posted in Error Coins

2016 50th Anniversary of Decimal Currency Commemorative Coins

2016 Mint Set. Top L-R 5c, 10c, 20c. Bottom L-R 50c, $1, $2 (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

2016 Mint Set. Top L-R 5c, 10c, 20c. Bottom L-R 50c, $1, $2 (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Commemorating the changeover to decimal currency (in 1966) 50 years ago in 2016 all of our beloved coin designs were released into circulation with special obverses. Instead of a different design on the “tails” side of the coin we still see all the familiar animals that have adorned our coins since 1966. It’s the side depicting Queen Elizabeth II that has been changed to commemorate this 50 years. The effigy designed by Ian Rank-Broadley was greatly reduced allowing for a reminder of our pre-decimal coins to be added to the obverse. The 5 cent has an added halfpenny/penny kangaroo, the 10 cent the wheat sheaf of the threepence, the 20 cent an added Coat of Arms as seen on the sixpence, the 50 cent a shilling ram, $1 the florin Coat of Arms and the $2 a crown from the crown! There is also an addition to the legend reading “FIFTY YEARS”.

2016 Mint Set and Proof Sets Issued. Image from The Mint Issue 108 Feb 2016

2016 Mint Set and Proof Sets Issued. Image from The Mint Issue 108 Feb 2016

You can find all of these coins in your change as millions of these have been sent into circulation. With the exception being the dollar coin which is harder to find. Just 359,000* of this denomination was released. The Mint Set for 2016 also includes each of these commemorative coins. The Royal Australian Mint was also giving out empty folders during the Changoever Tour in 2016 for collectors to add their own coin finds in, with a push-in spot for each denomination.

Add your own coins RAM folder (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Add your own coins RAM folder (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

*as per the 2015-16 Royal Australian Mint annual report.

Posted in Collecting Coins

These Coins ARE NOT Errors

We get questions from readers most days of the week asking about interesting coins they found and wondering what sort of error they’ve got their hands on. Sadly in a lot of cases these coins are not errors and are either perfectly normal coins, or some sort of post mint damage. We also tend to see the same sort of thing over and over. This article shows the more common things we come across and explains why they ARE NOT errors.

Acetone or Solvent Treated Coloured Coins


Acetone Treated $2 Coin Removes Colour

The recent glut of coloured coins released by the Royal Australian Mint have made acetone or solvent treated coins the single most common post-mint-damage coin that is NOT an error. If the colour is missing from a coloured coin, then there’s about a 99.9999% chance that someone has removed it from the coin with solvent. And this is not a new thing, it’s been going on since 2001 when unscrupulous coins sellers were removing the printed map of Australia from the reverse of 2001 dollar coins from proof sets and selling them as errors. In fact, removing colour from coins is something we’ve been writing about for almost 10 years, including this article on “uniface” 2004 dollar coins, this one about no colour $2 coins, and this one on removing the colour from printed wildlife dollar coins.

Sanded or Ground Coins

$2 Coin with a Ground Down Obverse

$2 Coin with a Ground Down Obverse

If you’ve found a coin that is missing a lot of the obverse design or the reverse design and had a strangely flat appearance then you’ve almost certainly got a coin that someone has sanded on a belt sander or ground down on a bench grinder. Why? Honestly, we have no idea. But just look for the telltale parallel lines across the missing part of the design and that’s a sure sign of a ground down coin. Some people argue with us that their coin is a “filled die” but that’s simply not true, filled dies are never ever ever so flat, nor do they show parallel lines or striations

Acid Treated Coins


Click image to enlarge

People have been putting coins in acid for decades. Again, we’re not sure why but we see several pictures of acid treated coins a month. They are described variously as filled dies, strange strikes, and thin planchets. Sometimes they are treated on one side, mostly on both. But they are all just post mint damage. Above you can see a 50 cent we found in circulation that exhibits all of the characteristics of an acid treated coin. Note how the lettering appears spidery, note also they the strange indentations that are parallel and seem to be more clustered around the areas of high relief such as the portrait, the lettering, and the rims. That’s because when a coin is struck the grain microstructure of the metal is altered, with larger grains around the areas of high relief (the greatest metal deformation). These larger grains are more easily attacked by acid and hence you tend to see more erosion in those areas than in the flat and less deformed part of the coin. Some readers have tried to argue with us that it can’t be acid because it would attack all surfaces equally. Well, if those readers would like to go away and do a 4 year engineering degree that included several courses on metallurgy like one of your authors did then they are welcome to do so and come back and discuss the issue again.

Hammer, Vice, or Shed Jobs


Click image to enlarge

The sorts of damaged coins you can see above are probably one of the most troubling we see. Mostly because they are created deliberately to deceive error collectors. So called “shed jobs”, or “hammer coins”, or even “vice jobs” are created by squashing a coin between two other coins. They are then sold variously as brockages, double strikes, or multiple strikes. The coins at the top of the image above were bought at a legitimate public auction, so not only did they deceive the buyer, they also deceived the auction house. The coins at the bottom of the image were made by a friend of ours in about 5 minutes using tools from his shed. So why are they not errors? In every case the second “strike” is ALWAYS low pressure, much much much lower pressure than a real coin strike. In fact, when a coin really is double struck almost all evidence of the first strike is obliterated by the second. Other reasons these are impossible is because they require two simultaneous die caps (which is basically impossible), or even have improbable strike combinations like a 2 cent impressed on one side by 10 cent and the other by a 1 cent, a circumstance that is impossible. Our warning with this type of coin (and every other type of error) is that if you do not understand how it was made then don’t buy it. Go away and get a basic understanding of the coin manufacturing process and you’ll quickly see that these “shed jobs” are nothing more than damaged coins.

Roadkill or Mower Coins


Click image to enlarge

Coins like that above are what we like to call roadkill coins or mower coins. Why? Because they’ve most likely spent part of their lives getting run over by vehicles on a road or in a car park. Or perhaps made close acquaintance with the spinning blades of a lawnmower. They are horrifically damaged and so horrifically damaged that we’re amazed anyone would think they are an error. And yet, somehow people do. We’ll just re-iterate what we said earlier, go away and get a basic understanding of the coin manufacturing process and you’ll quickly see that these damaged coins could never have got they way they are during the coin manufacturing process.

Posted in Error Coins

Elliptical Clip or Elliptical Planchet Error Coins

The rarest form of the clipped planchet error is the elliptical clipped planchet or elliptical planchet error coin. This unusual type of clipped planchet error occurs (just like the other clipped planchet errors) during the manufacture of the blanks for coin manufacture. It’s called a an elliptical clip due to the shape of the resultant error coins, one of which you can see below, an impressive 1961 shilling with a distinct elliptical shape.


Click image to enlarge

How does this sort of error occur? One must think about how the blank manufacturing process occurs, in the case of this shilling the silver strip runs through a blanking press and metal tools punch out disks of silver that will me made into coins. In between punching operations the strip moves along, and stops ready for the next blanks to be punched out. However, what happens if the strip doesn’t move along far enough when the next blank is punched and the blank that was just punched doesn’t detach properly? We’ve done our best to explain this in the image below:


Click image to enlarge

In this image the first coin blank punching operation is the blue disk, and for whatever reason, when the metal strip moves along under the punching press after the first punch it does not move far enough and the coin blank does not leave the strip. When the next coin blank punch occurs (the green disk) it happens OVER the blank that is still sitting in the metal strip. This forms a crescent shaped clipped planchet on both edges, and an elliptically shaped planchet in the middle. It seems likely that the crescent shaped clips do not make it through quality control because they are so small, whereas the elliptical planchet does. And of course a coin is struck on it and the elliptical planchet error coin is formed.

1921 Half Penny Struck on Elliptical Planchet

1921 Half Penny Struck on Elliptical Planchet

To the new collector it may not be immediately obvious how to distinguish a real elliptical clip error from a coin that someone has either cut or ground to shape. Well, as it turns out, the same techniques we’ve described to determine a real clipped planchet error can be applied to elliptical clipped planchets. Both elliptical clips shown in this article show fish-tailing of the legends near the missing regions of the coin, plus both have extremely poorly formed obverse rims. Both of these factors indicate that they were struck on incomplete clipped planchets, rather than being entire coins that were somehow trimmed down later.

Posted in Error Coins

2015 ANZAC Centenary P Counterstamp Dollar

2015 ANZAC Centenary Dollar C  Mintmark (image courtesy www.ramint.gov.au)

2015 ANZAC Centenary Dollar C Mintmark (image courtesy www.ramint.gov.au)

The mintmark dollar coin released throughout 2015 and the design used by the gallery presses at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra in 2015 was the ANZAC centenary design seen above. It was produced with a C mintmark and various privymarks and counterstamps.

In the 2015-16 Royal Australian Mint annual report there was a reported mintage of 2,746 of these coins struck with a P counterstamp presumably minted and sold at the Perth ANDA coin show. But why does no collector have one of these P counterstamp coins in their collection? Members of the Australian Coin Forum (https://www.australian-coins.net) contacted the Mint to get the answer. The Mint says they produced the coins with the intention to sell them at the Perth show that year however the Mint didn’t end up attending that show. The coins were not released and the struck coins recycled into aluminium bronze blanks for future coin production.

Posted in Collecting Coins

Error Coin Spotlight -Double Struck Australian 2 Cent Coins

19xx 2 Cent Double Struck Error

19xx 2 Cent Double Struck Error

197x 2 Cent Double Struck Error

197x 2 Cent Double Struck Error

The eye candy for error coin collectors today are these two double struck Australian two cent pieces. They were struck once normally and then struck again after failing to exit the press in a timely manner. These coins are lovely collectable examples of off-centre double struck errors. As they are grossly misshapen these error coins would never have left the Mint in a roll, most likely in a mint bag or an employees pocket at a time when little value was put on error coins. The Arnold Machin portrait used from 1966 to 1984 dates these coins to within that time with one coin showing a 7 indicating it was struck in the 1970’s. It’s not possible to determine the Mint of origin because of the error. Both coins have endured the same experience, let’s look at the coin from the 1970’s in closer detail.

It all started with a regular struck coin. The main strike is quite normal with no interesting features. The partial strike off the edge of the coin is another story. This occurred after the coin failed to eject from the press and was caught on the edge and struck (partially) with a second strike. This was likely due to a press malfunction. The edge of this second strike is out of round indicating it wasn’t held by the collar and metal flowed upward (inward). This is confirmed by prominent fishtailing and thinning of the lettering II and AUST as again, the metal flowed upward during that second strike.

Those that may be confused by this type of error we’re still looking at a single (normal weight) planchet and not somehow a joining of two coins, extra metal piece or an overweight planchet. The partial second strike has been struck over the existing metal obliterating the original strike.

Click Image to Enlarge

Click Image to Enlarge

Posted in Error Coins

eBay Error Coins of the Week

This is the first of what we hope will be a regular feature where we look at a few of the most interesting error coins available to Australian buyers via eBay auctions or BIN listings.

Australian 1962 Partial Collar (Ramstrike) Florin

We’re very partial to partial collar errors (heh see what I did there) and this 1962 florin is better than most. Usually these coins circulate for a long time resulting in the non-protected side of the coin being heavily worn, scuffed and even scratched. The obverse of this florin is a decent grade, showing slight circulation wear only while the reverse, being partially protected by a high lip (typical of a ramstrike) looks very nice indeed. Of particular interest to the new error collector is the characteristic double rim around the bottom half of the coin showing where the coin blank only partially engaged with the collar die before being struck.

View the 1962 Florin Partial Collar on eBay

Australian 1989 $2 Clipped Planchet Error

It’s always unusual to see a clipped planchet error on an Australian Aluminium Bronze coin. The 1989 $2 in this eBay auction is a lovely example of the type, showing a decent sized curved clip at the very top of the coin. The error also clearly shows one of the signs of a genuine clipped planchet error, namely a strong Blakesley effect at the bottom of the coin opposite the clipped area. The images of the error are good enough to suggest the grade of the coin is decent too, perhaps even uncirculated. One comment I have to make is that it’s always funny to see people placing a whole coin into the clipped region to somehow prove that the error is genuine. This is of course the wrong thing to do, the clipping of the planchet occurs BEFORE it is struck and it’s quite possible for the clipped region to deform during the striking process so that a whole coin no longer fits in the gap, and that doesn’t stop the error from being a genuine one.

View the 1989 Clipped Planchet $2 on eBay

Australia 1966 1c Struck on Incomplete Planchet

The seller of this 1966 1 cent has described the error incorrectly as a ‘pinched planchet’ which is an older description of a small clipped planchet. In actual fact, this coin has been struck on an incomplete and likely underweight planchet. The reverse shows what appears to be a large planchet flaw on the left side while examination of the obverse area opposite shows the design was not fully struck up. What does this indicate? That the missing part of the coin was missing when the coin was struck, and because of that the obverse design opposite was not fully struck up. This error is the same type as this 1966 2c on an incomplete planchet that we wrote about recently. The images of the coin in this eBay sale suggest the grade is fairly good, perhaps with some remaining lustre and mint red.

View the 1966 1c on an Incomplete Planchet on eBay


Information provided in this article is our opinion only on the coin depicted in the images shown in the eBay listing. It is not an endorsement of any seller and any purchase our readers make through eBay is at their own risk and adheres to eBay’s terms and conditions.

Posted in Error Coins

Weak Strike or Die Fill. What Is This Error Coin?

We’ve written quite a few articles recently on coin errors and thought it would be worthwhile to collectors for us to merge two seemingly similar error types to identify and discuss their differences. This will help you recognise each error type and correctly annotate each in your collection.

Below we have two Australian 5 cent coin errors with design details missing. To determine the type of error coin we must look closely at the missing design and any patterns of missing details.

The MOST important thing to note here is you must look at BOTH sides of the coin to make an accurate assessment of the error type.


Click image to enlarge

If you’ve seen our previous error coin articles then you are one step ahead! Let’s take a close look at each coin above. The top coin has a similar pattern of missing design on both faces of the coin. It’s uniformly weak and has no details towards the outer parts of the design but is perfectly struck right at the centre. The bottom coin is totally different on each side of the coin. The reverse is a normally struck coin, you wouldn’t look at it twice, but the obverse lacks detail in the legends less so through AUSTRALIA and more so on the left of the coin.

So what conclusions can we make here? The bottom coin was struck at optimal striking pressure as there is no fault on the reverse. The obverse lack of detail is due to something being on the planchet surface in an uneven distribution at the time the coin was struck. In this case it was most likely oil or grease from the maintenance process. The top coin was struck with lower pressure than usual because of the uniformity of the missing design. This low pressure affected the entire coin in the same way.

Have you correctly identified the error coins in your collection?

˙ןןıɟ ǝıp puɐ ǝʞıɹʇs ʞɐǝʍ sǝןɔıʇɹɐ snoıʌǝɹd ɹno uı ɹǝʍsuɐ

Posted in Error Coins

World War 1 Forget Me Not Token – To Kitty from Fred

Forget Me Not Penny - From Fred to Kitty

Forget Me Not Penny – From Fred to Kitty

Above you can see a crudely made Love Token of a type that seem to have mostly originated from Adelaide in South Australia during World War 1. We have written about this peculiar type of World War 1 Forget-Me-Not pennies previously. This example is a silvered George V Australian penny with attached loop with the reverse skimmed off and a message stamped into it. The reverse of this Love Token reads:


This token was crudely manufactured for a new recruit, probably in a military camp around the Adelaide metropolitan area and was then given to a loved one before the soldier shipped out to the Middle East or Europe. Some of the forget-me-not pennies we’ve seen are not attributable to an individual but in the case of this one we can certainly do so as the number of the bottom line, 2815 is (presumably) Fred’s regimental number. As each Australian unit in WW1 kept it’s own regimental number series it was common for two different men to have the same number allocated to them as they would be serving in different units. This makes identifying our Fred a little more tricky but quite possible using the National Archives of Australia website. We simply did a basic search for “2815 frederick” in the date range 1914 to 1918. This returned three possibilities for our man.

Gifford Frederick George : SERN 2815 : POB Exeter SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Gifford Ellen Jane

Turner Frederick William : SERN 2815 : POB Adelaide SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK F Turner Henry

Collins Harold Frederick : SERN 2815 : POB Grafton NSW : POE Lismore NSW : NOK F Collins George Frederick

Given that Peter Lane[1], expert on these forget-me-not pennies is sure they originated in South Australia we looked through the digital records of Fred Turner and Fred Gifford first.

Frederick William Turner

Fred Turner[3], a motor mechanic, enlisted in July 1915 at the age of 25. Once his training was completed in Australia he shipped out to France to be taken onto the strength of the 10th Battalion. His service record is typical of the period showing time spent in hospital sick and time spent in various training schools including gas school, brigade engineers school, and GHQ school. As is typical for a lot of Australians during WW1 his record also shows instances of going AWL for short periods and the penalties that inevitably resulted from such misdemeanors. Fred Turner’s time as a combat solider ended on 18 August 1918 when it appears he negligently (or deliberately) injured himself, shooting himself in the wrist. He spent the remainder of the war in England and was not returned to Australia until late 1919, having to suffer through the legalities of his self-inflicted wound while still overseas.

Frederick George Gifford

Frederick George Gifford[2], Service Number 2815 was born in Exeter, South Australia in 1889 and enlisted in 1916. He listed his occupation as a Mechanical Engineer. His initial service was in France as a motorcyclist with the Australian Mechanical Transport Service. In early 1918 he attended a course as an artificer at the Tanks Corps Depot and in May shipped back to Australia. Part of the record of Gifford’s service during World War 1 includes a letter to The Officer Commanding, Base Records, Melbourne -the author of the letter Miss Kitty C. Pantzer. You can see the letter below:


Image Courtesy of National Archives of Australia

Clearly our forget me not penny belonged (at some point) to Frederick George Gifford and Miss Kitty (Catherine) C. Pantzer. It’s wonderful to be able to establish the true identity of the individuals behind an object like this. Further investigation shows that Gifford holds a special place in Australian military history as a member of the very first crew of Australia’s very first tank. Let’s look more at this journey.

In August 1918 he was discharged from the AIF and immediately re-enlisted for service in Australia only. Upon re-enlistment he was taken on as part of the Australian Armoured Service Corps[4]. He spent the rest of the war as part of the crew of Grit, a British MK IV tank numbered 4643. The tank toured Australia for several months in 1918 for promotional purposes including spending several days in Adelaide after the tank was shipped there with some difficulty by rail from Melbourne. While the tank was in Adelaide tin badges showing the tank were sold and a naming competition was held for the tank. It was at this point that it received it’s name ‘Grit’. During the return train trip to Melbourne the interior of the tank was broken into and equipment worth several hundred pounds was stolen. The tank was used for demonstration purposes for the rest of the war and the period afterwards to help repay war loans. Eventually the tank found it’s way to the Australia War Memorial where it can still be seen.

British Tank MkIV Tank 4643 'Grit' (Courtesy Australian War Memorial)

British Tank MkIV Tank 4643 ‘Grit’ (Courtesy Australian War Memorial)

Fred Gifford left military service in 1919 and married Ellen Maloney in Mount Gambier in 1922. Fred lived out most of his life in Mount Gambier where he was a publican and a strong supporter of local sporting teams. He moved to Melbourne in the 1950’s and died in 1961. Of Kitty Pantzer we know little and further research is required. What the relationship between Fred and Kitty was exactly is unclear, but at some point they thought enough of each other that this sweet token of the bond between the two was made. It is an important reminder of a time where such keep-sakes were hand made and unique, and a look back at a man who holds an interesting place in our military history.

'Grit' Tank Fund Raising Tin Badge

‘Grit’ Tank Fund Raising Tin Badge

1. Lane, Peter 2014: South Australian WWI soldiers ‘forget-me-not’ Pennies, JNAA Volume 25, pp 1-15 View PDF Online
2. National Archives of Australia. 2017. Gifford Frederick George : SERN 2815 : POB Exeter SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Gifford Ellen Jane. [ONLINE] Available at: https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=5033507. [Accessed 23 June 2017].
3. National Archives of Australia. 2017. Turner Frederick William : SERN 2815 : POB Adelaide SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK F Turner Henry. [ONLINE] Available at: https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1920341. [Accessed 23 June 2017]
4. Finlayson, D.A., 2015. Pioneers of Australian Armour. 1st ed. Big Sky Publishing: Newport, NSW Australia.

Posted in Collectables and Ephemera

Error Coin Spotlight -2002 5 Cent Struck Through Oil Error

2002 5 Cent Strike Through Error

2002 5 Cent Strike Through Error

Today’s spotlight is an example of the type of error seen quite often on circulating coins although not usually seen to the extent that we see on the example pictured. Shown here is a 2002 5c with the obverse weakly struck around the legends and the reverse a normal strike. The coin is the correct weight of 2.85g so there is no planchet metal missing, if there was metal missing we would conclude that this error was something other than what it actually is. The obverse strike weakness is caused by an excess of oil or grease on the die surface when the coin was struck that obscures the details in the design. It’s likely the press operator wiped the die with an oily rag and it left oil in the legends and some of the tiara and hair detail.

This error is called a strike though or struck through or struck through oil error. A strike through means something was between the die and the planchet when the coin was struck and there are a number of things that a coin can be “struck through” including cotton from a rag, wire, a piece of planchet and in this case oil or grease from the maintenance process.

This coin appears to have a reasonably uniform amount of strike weakness around the legends which could indicate it was struck with a lower than optimal striking pressure. So why have we not concluded this coin is a weak strike or die adjustment strike error? There are 2 tell-tale signs this is not the case.

1. If it was then both sides of the coin would be affected in the same way (which they are not), there is no strike weakness or design missing from the reverse.

2. While the oil affects the obverse legends it isn’t uniform around the whole coin with AUSTR only minimally affected by the oil and ELIZABET is unrecognisable where the oil was the heaviest.

Grading to Extremely Fine this coin has likely been pulled from circulation quite early on and put aside by an eagle eyed collector.

Posted in Error Coins

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