2018 AC/DC Collector Coins 45 Years of Thunder Strike a Chord for all Collectors

45 Years of Thunder, collector coins commemorating AC/DC have been released with a bang. The phones are ringing hot at coin shops around the country from collectors trying to source these new release Australian coins. The Royal Australian Mint (RAM) has struck two special coins, a coloured uncirculated 50c and a triangular $5 silver plated nickel proof coin.

ACDC Coins on Ebay

The triangular shape of the $5 coin resembles a guitar pick and the box also includes a guitar pick housed in amplifier shaped packaging. The nickel plated surfaces of this fine silver proof give the coin a dark appearance with a yellow bolt of lightning. Limited to just 10,000 coins the Royal Australian Mint limited sales to 3 coins per customer but this issue was quick to sell out at issue price of $130. These coins are currently selling around $200.

2018 AC/DC Triangular Nickel Plated Fine Silver Proof $5 (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

The 50 cent with two yellow coloured bolts of lightning also celebrates 45 years of AC/DC. Issued for $15 this coin is currently selling for upwards of $60. Also initially limited to a purchase of three coins before a fast sellout the RAM knew this coin would be highly sought for another special reason. Partnering with Questacon and using a Tesla coil in the Caged Lightning exhibition just ten of the 30,000 50c pieces issued were “Thunderstruck” with 3,500,000 volts of lightning. These coins are identified by unique frosting on the AC/DC logo and were randomly distributed by the Mint. Did you receive a high voltage coin? Let us know!

2018 AC/DC 45 Years of Thunder Coloured Uncirculated 50c (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Posted in Collecting Coins

The Top 4 Mistakes that New Coin Collectors Make

We’ve been collecting and selling coins for more than 15 years and writing about coins on this blog for more than 10. In that time we’ve seen new collectors make the same few mistakes time and time again. So, what are the top 4 mistakes that new coin collectors make?

Thinking that Coin Collecting is Investing

So many new collectors see their collections as an ‘investment’. We can assure you now it’s not. If you get into the hobby thinking you’re going to make a bomb all you’re going to do is lose money. There’s people around who know MUCH more than you, have been doing this for longer than you, and they see a new ‘coin investor’ as an easy mark and they’ll do their level best to teach you an expensive lesson. And once that money is lost many collectors get dis-heartened and leave the hobby as quickly as they entered. Collect what you love, educate yourself, appreciate your collection for what it is. In time you may become knowledgeable enough to recognise a bargain or an under-graded item when you see it and make a small profit from it.

Getting Caught in the Hype

See a news article about $2 coins? Gotta buy those as an ‘investment’ for my grand-kids. See a video about the year 2000 $1/10c mule being worth $2000 or more and see one for sale for $1000 and snap it up thinking you’ve got a bargain? Or perhaps there’s an ‘All Australian’ grading company and the ‘herd mentality’ says that must be a good thing. So you get all your coins graded by a fly by night company that has little clue what they are doing and even encases your coins in slabs that damage the coins themselves.

Coloured $2 Coins – Pretty but did you really need 10 bags of them? (image courtesy of the RAM)

Don’t get caught up in the hype. Think about what you’re doing, sleep on it, take a sceptical view and don’t commit unless you’re 100% sure. Coin collecting is about knowledge and education, not following the masses.

Rushing into Purchases

We see this all the time. New collectors that have a hoard of NCLT, coins, and banknotes 6-12 months into their collecting journey. There’s no theme to the collection, no consistency of grades, no rhyme or reason to why a certain Royal Australian Mint release was bought and another wasn’t. New collectors have an almost feverish need to add items to their collections and see it grow. Sites like eBay, and the rise of buying and selling on social media have only served to enable that sort of behaviour.

The end result is a pile of items the collector loses interest in and has to dispose of, usually at a great loss which is always a dis-heartening exercise. Our tip to be taken from this? You’re better off having one of two well considered purchases a year netting you items you love and value than 100 purchases of rubbish that you don’t even remember buying.

Not Being Able to Grade

If a collector is buying individual coins or banknotes rather than mint issues then that collector MUST be able to grade. New collectors often have little idea how grade effects the value and demand for a coin or banknote. They rely too heavily on the grade assigned to an item by the dealer or the third party that has graded it. Yes, we admit that if an item is graded by a reputable third party (like PCGS or NGC) then a collector can have more assurance in the assigned grade. But even then, if you’re spending your own money on a hobby do you want to put ALL your faith in someone else? We certainly don’t.

AU or MS? Learn how to grade and see the coin ‘in hand’ to be sure

So, learn to grade, look at coins in hand, look at third party graded coins and try to understand why those coins or notes have been assigned their grade. And don’t think you can learn to grade by looking at images on social media or eBay. You can’t, and those platforms are full of ‘keyboard warriors’ who have held very few coins in hand but somehow seem to be able to assign split grades to a coin based on fuzzy images.

If you’re a new collector and you can avoid these 4 mistakes you’re well on the way to having a hobby that coin last you a life time!

Posted in Collecting Coins, Investing in Coins

Seeing Double – New Portrait of Queen on Australian Coin

2019 Sixth Portrait Dollar (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

The Governor-General is Australia’s representative for Queen Elizabeth II and this position is currently held by Sir Peter Cosgrove*. Today the Governor-General unveiled a new dollar coin, the first to bear the official 2019 Jody Clark portrait of the Queen. The new effigy of the Queen will feature on new Australian coins from 2019 including those in circulation.

This new dollar coin released today has the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of the Queen on the reverse celebrating this portrait used from 1998 to 2019, the obverse reveals the new Jody Clark effigy -the sixth portrait. This particular coin is a collector release not for circulation, no doubt it would be confusing to some if received in change but definitely a winner to call heads in a coin flip.

Australia’s new effigy of the Queen designed by Mr Jody Clark is a modified version of that used on UK coinage since 2015. To be used in all countries of the Commonwealth this portrait includes Her Majesty’s shoulders and features the Victorian coronation necklace.

“The Sixth Effigy” coin is struck by the Royal Australian Mint in limited numbers, 30,000 in uncirculated aluminium bronze, and 5,000 in fine silver proof.

The evolving effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on Australian Coins from left Gillick, Machin, Maklouf, Gottwald, Rank-Broadley and the new Clark design.

*His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter John Cosgrove, Principal Knight and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, Military Cross, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Posted in Coin News

Melbourne ANDA Money Expo August 18-19th 2018

The Melbourne ANDA Money Expo was held on Saturday and Sunday 18-19th August 2018 at the Melbourne Park Function Centre. It was super easy to find the venue with just a short journey on the number 70 tram from Flinders Street station or just down from Southern Cross station (Cnr Spencer St and Flinders St) where I hopped on the tram. I caught an early flight out of Adelaide and was able to make the journey there and back without any problems and spend some good quality time browsing dealers stock, chatting with dealers and catching up with coin friends.

The show was attended by many of the familiar coin dealer faces we all get to know as collectors. From the cheery Tony Byrne, Adam Lovegrove of Southern Cross Coins, Edlins, Downies, IAG, Anna Numismatics, Canberra Numisco, Klaus Ford Numismatics, Watermans Coins, Pacific Rim Coins, Sterling & Currency there were plenty of vendors promoting their wares at the event. Displays from the Victorian numismatic societies were also pleasing to view.

Just for the kids 2 Cent Challenge also appealed to the older folk -who are we to judge! Collecting is enjoyed by all ages not just the 5-15. It’s great to see parents helping the kids out too.

The 5 Cent Forage also a fun project for a sunny and stormy (even hail battered the roof at one stage) cold and wet wintery Melbourne day.

Plenty of show special collectables were on offer from both ANDA and Australia Post. This display of 2018 Mob of Roos dollars with M privymarks and a sprinkling of B and P privies looked particularly artistic.

Show specials.

Posted in Coin News

Coin Striking Pressures – a Touch Series of Die Adjustment Strikes

20 Cent Die Adjustment Strike

Over on our Facebook page we usually put some coin photos up on a Friday afternoon to get our readers relaxing into the weekend. This week, to take the pressure off the working week we’ve decided to focus on striking pressures in particular weakly struck coins. Then we’ll be moving Fridays photos to a more reader friendly Sunday photos (sorry I know it doesn’t have the same ring -name suggestions invited).

For coins to be made the dies need to strike together at force to transfer those designs into the metal blank surface. It takes between 35 and 200 tonnes of pressure to strike coins and this varies with each coin denomination and if it’s a proof coin or a circulation strike. When the press is setup with new dies a touch series is often made increasing the pressure with each coin struck to decide which tonnage will be used in that production run to make the perfect coin and get the most use out of the dies.

Coins struck with a lower than optimal pressure show poor definition and are labelled die adjustment strikes. This can also happen if there is a press malfunction anytime within the production run, a low pressure strike causing weakness in the coin design. This happens uniformly around the obverse and reverse and is generally the same on both sides of the coin.

To give you some idea of striking pressure it takes 35 tonnes of pressure to strike a $2 coin. It takes 140 tonnes of pressure to strike a larger 50 cent coin. The image below is of a touch series of 20 cent pieces with the weaker strikes (5 tonnes) top left increasing to the stronger strikes (120 tonnes) bottom right.

20 Cent Touch Series. Approx 5 tonnes top left to 120 tonnes bottom right

Posted in Error Coins

2015 ANZACS Remembered 20c Packaging Error

In 2015 the Royal Australian Mint produced a number of collector 20 cent coins that were available to buy when you purchased a newspaper. Collector interest has always been with the limited release red coloured poppy dollar coin issued with the set. But for those with packyboxitis* and an interest in errors here are a couple of mistakes that you need to look out for.

Coin Packaging Error

Recently a collector contacted us about an anomaly in the packaging of one of the 20c coins in the set. Their Royal Australian Navy 20 cent has been sealed into the packaging the wrong way around. It has the Queen’s head or obverse side facing out (see above) and as a result you cannot actually see which coin the packaging holds.

Another error is the wrong coin type in the labelled packaging. The coin pictured below (top) is a Royal Australian Navy coin in the wrong Mateship packaging. The coin below (bottom) is how this packaging should actually appear.

We call this a packaging error as there is nothing specifically wrong with the coin. Of course one must take due care and inspect the packaging closely to see if there is any evidence of tampering if identifying this kind of error.

2015 ANZACS Remembered Packaging Error

There have been a number of packaging errors made at the Mint over the years, a few which appear in the coin catalogues. Probably the most notable is the 1986 mint set with the 1985 dated 10c piece.

Thanks to the coin owners and Blog readers for permission to share.

*packyboxitis is a made up name used in the collecting world for collectors that obtain items because of the way they are packaged. For example the same coin in its packaging might be in a collection twice because it was issued in different packaging.

Posted in Error Coins

Invictus Games Circulating 2 Dollar Coin

2018 Circulating Invictus Games $2 (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

The Royal Australian Mint (RAM) is today releasing a new $2 coin into circulation. 2.3 million coins will be released into your change or at RAM pop-up shops and coin swaps over the coming months ahead of the Invictus Games to be held in Sydney 20-27 October. Games ambassador HRH Prince Harry and his new wife HRH Duchess Meghan will also be attending the event. Created by the newly married Prince, these Games highlight the healing power of sport inspiring recovery and community understanding for those who have served our country and may be struggling with the effects of their service. The coin celebrates the unconquered spirit of wounded, injured and ill service personnel and veterans across Australia.

Through the healing power of sport the Invictus Games will bring together more than 500 competitors from 18 countries competing in 11 adaptive sports. The coin design depicts an image of a wheelchair competitor sculpted by Aleksandra Stokic. The design also highlights the “I AM” out of the legend Invictus Games in support and encouragement of veteran competitors. The Royal Australian Mint is also producing the Games medals and other collectable coins for the event.

COLLECTORS -this coin is available at RAM coin swap events and travelling roadshows around the country, see our Numismatic Calendar for details.

2018 Invictus Games $2 (image courtesy ramint.gov.au)

Posted in Coin News

Impressive Error Coins For Sale on eBay this Week

If you haven’t checked out eBay for a while then you’re missing some impressive and quality error coins currently selling on that great online garage sale. Even if you’re just a window shopper you should still take a look as these kinds of error coins aren’t seen often.

2016 20 Cent Struck on a Dollar Planchet

Wrong planchet coin errors are not always dramatic to look at but they are when they are struck on the wrong composition planchet. This 20 cent doesn’t appear to have been struck on a cupro-nickel planchet but an aluminium bronze planchet which the seller claims is for a one dollar coin so presumably weighs 9 grams and not 11.31 grams as a 20c should.

View on eBay- 2016 20 Cent Struck on a Dollar Planchet

2000 20 Cent Struck on 10 Cent Planchet PCGS MS64

A stunning lustrous choice uncirculated example of a wrong planchet error. A ten cent coin blank was accidently struck with 20 cent dies and the resulting underweight 20c has been graded by PCGS as MS64 (83914942). A superb error coin with the added assurance of the PCGS slab. This should give buyers confidence to bid on this error coin for sale.

View on eBay- 2000 20 Cent Struck on 10 Cent Planchet PCGS MS64

1994 10 Cent Struck on 5 cent Planchet PCGS MS65

Here we have another wrong planchet similar to the above example, this time an earlier date with the Raphael Maklouf portrait of QEII. This coin graded MS65 (83914941) at PCGS the equivalent to gem uncirculated for those who use adjectival grading terms. If you like a top grade error coin then you should have confidence in this seller.

View on eBay- 1994 10 Cent Struck on 5 cent Planchet PCGS MS65

2016 Decimal Changeover Anniversary Dollar Die Cap Pair

I am amazed at how this error pair left the Mint. What we have in this listing is a matched pair of die caps from the top and bottom dies (hammer and anvil) each planchet having stuck to the dies and struck multiple brockage coins before falling away (at the same time) or the press being stopped and the die caps being forceably removed. In this case the hammer (top) die had to be the more bottle cap shaped obverse and the anvil (bottom) die the reverse 5 kangaroo design. The opposing sides of each coin is flattened (later state) indicating it struck many brockage coins. This commemorative design is a low mintage issue and this error pair so outstanding I might well have to sell a kidney to buy it.

View on eBay- 2016 Decimal Changeover Anniversary Dollar Die Cap Pair

2014 20 Cent Off-Centre Double Strike

Second chance offering with its original buyer failing to complete the transaction, this means it’s back to the bidding with this double struck platypus 20 cent in a new auction. High grade and two visible dates this is a highly desirable error coin. In the case of this double struck coin, the second strike is about 85% off centre.

View on eBay- 2014 20 Cent Off-Centre Double Strike

1974 10 Cent Flipover Double Strike-Indent PCGS MS64

As the seller suggests it is “rare to find” this error, it would certainly be rejected by the mint roll machine! A very nice example for sale on the ‘bay graded by PCGS as MS64 (30336010). Take a look at our flipover double strike article to see another example (the same date too), read about how this occurred and see what the matching coin of this kind of error pair would look like.

View on eBay- 1974 10 Cent Flipover Double Strike-Indent PCGS MS64

Posted in Error Coins

Variety Threepence Spotlight -1925 3d Filled 5, Die Cracks and Clashed Dies

1925 Threepence Variety

The 1925 Australian threepence showcased in this article is much more than your everyday pre-decimal small silver threepenny bit. To variety and error collectors this coin is an interesting study piece so let’s look more closely at its’ features. Evident on this coin is significant die cracking and heavy die clash. Let’s first look at the cracks and broken die. Click on any image to enlarge.

Reverse Die Break and Cracks
As more coins are struck, often through overuse the dies will often crack. This leads them to either shatter or be retired. Evidence of the cracking is always apparent on the struck coin and if a piece of die breaks away then it will leave a cud formed on the coin. In this case the crack has extended from the rim beads through the date and up to the scroll. It has lead to a piece of the die breaking away in the middle of the 5 leaving a cud. We’ll call this (just as in the filled 8 1948 threepence) the filled 5 variety.

1925 Threepence Filled 5 Die Crack

This coin also exhibits a large die crack from the rim to the kangaroo. There is also minor cracking through the legends.

1925 Threepence Die Crack Kangaroo to Rim

Die Clash
This occurs when the obverse and reverse dies hit together at force without a planchet in between them. This leaves the impression of the other die on the surface most of the time visible in the open fields of the coin. We’ve circled and numbered each part of the coin to explain the incuse markings. Our obverse image below shows each point circled (left) and an inverted overlayed reverse (right) showing the details of the clash so you can understand it a little easier.

1925 Threepence Obverse. Right with overlayed inverted reverse to explain die clash

1. Looks like George V is smoking! It is in fact the emu’s front leg that’s up holding the shield.
2. The kangaroos front leg, paw, and the edge of the shield can be seen behind KG’s head.
3. The bottom of the scroll can be seen below the back of the King’s coat.
4. The letters of the date 2 and 5 can be seen inverted, these are easily made out in the fields below the portrait.

5. The incuse curve on the reverse between the date and the scroll is the bottom edge of the King’s portrait.

1925 Threepence Variety -Circled Die Clash

Posted in Error Coins

30th Anniversary of the 2 Dollar Coin

The Original Plaster Cast for the $2 Coin (Steve Keough Photography)

June 20th 2018 is the 30th anniversary of the $2 coin. Australia withdrew the $2 banknote and replaced it with a small size 2 dollar coin on this day in 1988, this change and the introduction of the new coin happened exactly 30 years ago today. The standard design of the Australian $2 coin is an Aboriginal portrait with the Southern Cross and a grass tree. In recent years many commemorative $2 coins have been minted most with added colour printing. Details and mintages can be found on our circulation $2 coins page.

Master Tools for the $2 Coin (Royal Australian Mint Collection)

Posted in Coin News

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