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:

FORGET ME NOT
FROM
FRED
WITH FOND LOVE
TO
KITTY
2815

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:

kitty-c-pantzer-letter

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

References
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

Error Coin Spotlight – 1966 2 Cent Struck on Incomplete Planchet Error


australia-1966-2c-struck-on-incomplet-planchet-error-6

1966 2 Cent Struck on Incomplete Planchet Error

This 1966 2 cent struck on an incomplete planchet gives the collector some very interesting insights into the coin manufacturing process. Firstly though we’ll examine the error itself. The coin is a 1966 2 cent from an uncertain mint (see here for 1966 2 cent mint marks) that has been struck on an incomplete planchet. We know it is an incomplete planchet as it weighs just 4.80g which is about 7.5% less than the expected weight of 5.18g. Clearly the missing part of the coin is on the reverse between about 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock extending a few millimeters into the reverse and about 1mm into the surface of the coin itself. The coin is a glossy red brown as are the corrugated surfaces of the missing part of the coin. Readers with a keen eye will note an area of strike weakness on the obverse. The top of the portrait is smooth and missing a lot of detail and the TH II of the monarch’s name is completely missing.

Could this coin have perhaps been struck on a complete planchet that split into pieces after it was struck? Or perhaps this is a coin that was simply damaged after it was struck? Well, the weakness on the obverse is the key indicator that neither of those cases is true, and that the coin was actually was struck on an incomplete planchet. When the region of the coin opposite the missing area was struck there was a major factor in play that stopped that area being struck up properly. Namely that there was no resisting pressure from the reverse die when the obverse die struck as the planchet in that area of the reverse die was missing! Obviously this will lead to a localised area of low striking pressure and this is evidenced by the weak strike and missing design details on the obverse.

australia-1966-2c-struck-on-incomplete-planchet-error-detail

Obverse and Reverse Detail

As an error collector this should teach us an important lesson that can be applied when examining error coins that have parts of the planchet missing. If we suspect the coin was struck without part of the planchet in place, look for an area of corresponding strike weakness opposite the missing area. If there is no strike weakness perhaps the parts of the planchet parted ways AFTER it was struck or you’re simply looking at a damaged coin.

There’s another part of the coin manufacturing process we can learn about by examining the surfaces of the missing area of the coin. There are two things to note. First, there are clear parallel lines traversing surfaces. Secondly, the surfaces themselves, while textured, are still largely smooth and glossy. To understand what we’re seeing here we need to think back to method used to form coin blanks. Basically they are punched from a strip of metal by a machine called a blanking press. The strip of metal is formed by rolling metal between rollers that are progressively closer and closer together until strip of the desired thickness and width is achieved. Of course any piece of foreign metal on the surface of the strip is going to be flattened and pressed into the surface of the strip and elongated in the direction that the metal is rolled. The surfaces of the strip and foreign material are going to rub against each other polishing each surface and extrusion lines are going to form in the direction of rolling. Which, is of course, what we’re seeing here.

This 1966 2 cent struck on an incomplete planchet is a lovely grade, uncirculated and glossy brown. Nearly 10% underweight we have seen that it was struck with part of the planchet missing, and most likely the missing part is due to a metal inclusion that was rolled into the coin bronze prior to the manufacture of coin blanks. That inclusion fell out sometime between the bronze being rolled into a strip and the coin blank being struck. Initially not visually spectacular, this error is of great interest and has some lessons to teach any error collector.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – 1966C 20 Cent Broadstruck Out of Collar Error

australia-1966-20c-broadstrike-error-39

1966C 20c – Broadstruck Out of Collar Error

Today’s error coin spotlight sees us looking at a spectacular broadstrike 1966 20 cent that was minted in Canberra for the release of decimal currency in 1966. How do we know it was minted in Canberra? The RAM somewhat sneakily included non-obvious mint marks in the design of the new decimal coins, which in the case of the 20 cent were minted in both Canberra and London. These mint marks didn’t become generally known until after the release of the new coins but we know quite well what the 1966 decimal mint marks are now. In the case of the 20 cent we need to look at the reverse of the coin on the right side of the duck-billed platypus head where the water swirl ends.

australia-1966-20c-broadstrike-mintmark-detail

1966 20 Cent Mint Mark Detail – No Gap

In this case the swirl clearly ends at the head with no gap indicating that this 20 cent was indeed minted at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. Now that we’ve determined the origin of the coin let’s look at the error.

The coin itself has been struck with no engagement with the collar die at all and while the coin blank was about 3mm or 10% off center. This has resulted in the design being (not surprisingly) 10% offset from where you’d expect it. Classifying the exact type of error is a matter of some debate among collectors. We can definitely say it’s been struck out of collar, in addition the planchet is a millimetre or two larger than a normal 20 cent, so it’s been “broadstruck”. The error is definitely a “broadstrike outside of the collar”. However, is it an “off centre” error? The authors of this blog define an off centre error as a coin being struck far enough off centre that some of the design of the coin is missing. In this case none of the design is missing, so despite this coin clearly being struck off centre it does not fit the strict definition of an off-centre error.

Being struck completely out of collar and “broadstruck” the planchet of this coin was free to flow radially outward when struck. Of course this made the coin itself bigger than a standard 20 cent, and it also resulted in changes to the design of the coin as the metal flowed in an unexpected direction. If you’re a frequent reader of this site you’ve probably read the term “fish tailing” multiple times, and that “fish tailing” is one indicator of unconstrained radial metal flow on a coin. Well, this 1966C 20c broadstrike error has about the best fish tailing of the obverse legends that we’ve seen on a coin. You can see how the word ELIZABETH has been affected below:

australia-1966-20c-broadstrike-elizabeth-detail

Detail of Fish Tailing

Note the V shaped indentations at the bottom of the upstrokes of the letters forming the characteristic “fish tail” shape that gives this phenomenon it’s name. This happens as the metal flows outwards in the incuse die elements that form the letters of the legends. Metal in the middle of the upstrokes flows more that that on the outside presumably due to friction with the die surfaces, similar to how a river’s water flows faster in the middle of the river compared with the water near the banks. The difference in the amount of metal flow leads to the fish tail shapes we can clearly see.

This error is a spectacular example from the first year of issue of Australian decimal currency. It was clearly found prior to circulating as it is a lovely uncirculated grade. It has experienced some poor storage at some time during it’s 60 year life as it’s got some sort of PVC or perhaps adhesive adhesions and would benefit from some sort of appropriate restoration by someone with the correct certain set of skills. Despite that, it’s still an amazing coin and hard to improve on if a collector was looking for a 20 cent error to take pride of place in their collection.

Posted in Error Coins

Error Coin Spotlight – Low Pressure Strike 1966-1984 5 Cent

Undated 1966-1984 5 Cent Weak Strike Error

Undated 1966-1984 5 Cent Weak Strike Error

The error coin pictured above in today’s error coin spotlight is a very nice example of a die adjustment strike, weak strike or touch strike Australian 5 cent piece. These are all names used for this type of error coin. We can see the central part of Stuart Devlins’ echidna design and the same of the early Arnold Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. This dates the coin somewhere between 1966 and 1984.

Generally this type of error coin is created during the setup process of a die pair while press operators are dialling in the correct striking pressure at the Mint. It can also happen if there is a malfunction in the press and a lower than desirable pressure strikes the coin.

It is distinctly different from a coin that is for example struck through oil as both sides of the coin are uniformly weakly struck in the same areas. It is also the correct weight at 2.81 grams within the tolerance of the specification of an Australian 5 cent (2.83 grams). This is important if the coin is underweight then the error may have occurred due to lost coin metal which is most often post mint damage (PMD) and not a genuine error coin.

This genuine error coin from the Royal Australian Mint has seen some circulation and would grade to Extremely Fine and is a lovely example of its’ type.

Posted in Error Coins

The Royal Australian Mint Trans-Australia Tour

2017 Coin Swap (left) and Australia Counterstamp (right) -image courtesy ramint.gov.au

2017 Coin Swap (left) and Australia Counterstamp (right) -image courtesy ramint.gov.au


The Canberra Mint is touring the country with the mobile coin press in celebration of 100 years of the Trans-Australian railway. At each location the RAM visits you will have the chance to swap real money from your pockets and wallets for lustrous newly minted coins. Five coin bags of the 2017 Lest We Forget coloured $2 will be available to swap for face value along with $10 bags of 2017 100 Years of ANZAC dollars at the RAM pop-up shop. The mobile press will be striking an Australia counterstamp onto the mintmark coin for 2017 which is the design celebrating the 100 years of the Trans-Australia railway.

Having already visited Orange and Maitland in NSW, the next stop for the tour is Western Australia, details below:
Mandurah WA. Eastern Foreshore, Mandurah Place, Mandurah. Saturday 20 May 2017 9am – 4pm
Perth WA. Forrest Place, Perth. Sunday 21 May 2017 9am – 4pm

This will be followed by:
June 2017
NSW
Wollongong. Crown Street Mall, Wollongong. Wednesday 14 June 2017 9am – 4pm
Newcastle. Wheeler Place, Newcastle. Friday 16 June 2017 9am – 4pm
Coffs Harbour. Coffs Coast Growers Market, City Square, Coffs Harbour.Thursday 22 June 2017 8am – 3pm

QLD
Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, The Foreshore, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast. Sunday 18 June 2017 10am – 9pm
Brisbane. Centre Stage, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane. Tuesday 20 June 2017 9am – 4pm

August 2017
VIC
Shepparton. Maude Street Mall, Winter Markets, Shepparton. Saturday 26th August 9am-2pm
Ballarat. Bridge Mall (under the canopy), Ballarat. Monday 28th August 9am-4pm
Geelong. Little Malop St (adjacent to Market Square Shopping centre entrance). Wednesday 30 August 9am-4pm
Melbourne Location TBC. Friday 1 September 9am-4pm

October 2017
NSW– Wagga Wagga.
VIC– Mildura and Deniliquin.
SA– Adelaide, Port Augusta and Murray Bridge.

October 17th 2017 will be the anniversary of the exact date the rail line was completed across the Nullabor Plain from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. October 22nd will mark 100 years since the first train departed Post Augusta for Kalgoorlie. Centenary celebrations in Port Augusta on Sunday 22nd October 2017 should include many special events and activities and include the Mint pop-up shop.

Posted in Coin News

2017 Lest We Forget Coloured 2 Dollar

2017-lest-we-forget-colour-2-dollar

ANZAC Day 2017 and this year the Royal Australian Mint has released another coloured $2 coin “Lest We Forget” to remember the honour, bravery and sacrifice of those who served our country. Over 4 million of these coins have been sent into general circulation with a further 40,000 issued with a C mintmark in a collector card.

While the ANZAC story commemorates those tens of thousands of Australians who fought and died in World War I it’s at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra where a national memorial sits honouring servicemen and women who participated, fought or died in all wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia.

The coin design features the mosaic from inside the dome of the Australian War Memorial’s Hall of Memory where the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier lies. A central circle depicts a representation of the ceiling inside the Hall of Remembrance surrounded by yellow, green, blue and indigo coloured stripes followed by a circle of raised beads and then the legends “LEST WE FORGET TWO DOLLARS” inside 4 lunes and an ornamental border of mosaic tiles. This design is by Tony Dean and bears his initials “TD”.

This coin is part of the Mints ANZAC centenary coin program (2014-2018) and was unveiled by Defence Minister Marise Payne and Small Business Minister Michael McCormack last week.

Posted in Coin News, Collecting Coins

How to Spot a Real 2000 $1 / 10c Mule

Let’s play a game. We’ll call it Spot’a’Mule. The aim of the game is to spot real Year 2000 $1 / 10c mule coins. Winners get to not waste their money on coins worth only their face value. Losers get to waste their money on coins worth only their face value and have the extra added bonus of explaining to their loved ones how they wasted their money without doing the most basic research first.

The game is simple, spot a real mule using these basic rules!

1. Is the coin a dollar? If yes, go to 2. If no, then NOT A MULE.
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? If yes, go to 3. If no, then NOT A MULE.
3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around most or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide? If yes, go to 4. If no, then NOT A MULE.
4. You’ve got a MULE!

Pretty easy yes? Let’s play a few rounds. The images below are courtesy of eBay and come from the first dozen or so listings with MULE in the title.

Round 1 – Listed on eBay as 2000 australian 1Dollar coin 10c/ mule, error. Highly collectible

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar?

Who knows, the seller didn’t see fit to provide a picture of the reverse (tails side) of the coin. Let’s play along anyway.

2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar?

Well it’s certainly year 2000.

3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around some or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide?

No, it does not. NOT A MULE.

Are you having fun yet?

Round 2 – Listed on eBay as AUSTRALIAN 2000 20c / 10c MULE ERROR – RARE COLLECTION

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? No, it’s a 20c. NOT A MULE.

That was quick.

Round 3 – Listed on eBay as ERROR 2000 Off Centre Mule Style $2 2 dollar circulated Queens Head Coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Nope. It’s a $2. NOT A MULE.

Putting aside the fact that this isn’t even a dollar, what on earth is a “mule style” $2? It’s either a mule (struck with dies not meant to be used together) or it’s not. That’s like saying your white fluffy dog is a sheep style dog. No, it’s a dog.

Round 4 – Listed on eBay as AUST Mule???? ERROR COIN FULL DOUBLE RIM BOTH SIDES SCARCE

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? No, it’s a 5c. NOT A MULE.

Again putting aside that this isn’t even a dollar the seller is claiming (or at least evasively claiming with the use of many question marks) that it’s a mule because of a double rim. Let’s get something straight. All year 2000 $1/10c mules have double rims. But not all coins with double rims are mules. What’s more other mule errors (like the 1967 Bahamas Mule) don’t necessarily have double rims either.

Round 5 – Listed on eBay as Australia 2000 $1 Mule / 10c Error Coin – Well Centred & One of the Very Best!!!

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes, there’s a decent picture of both sides of the coin.
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Yes!
3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around most or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide? Absolutely, it’s clear for about 3/4 of the coin from 12 o’clock to 9 o’clock.
4. You’ve got a MULE!

Hey a real mule! Surely not, but yes it’s a real one. The price it’s listed at is very, very, very (did I say very) high but it’s a real mule. Not one we’d advocate purchasing if you ever wanted to make money on your investment in the next several decades but a mule none the less.

Round 6 – Listed on eBay as one dollar error mule coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes!
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Nope, it’s a 2005. NOT A MULE.

Round 7 – Listed on eBay as *ERROR* 2003 Off center mule $2 coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Nope. It’s a $2. NOT A MULE.

An off center coin (which this coin isn’t by the way) is not a mule. A mule is a coin struck with obverse, reverse, or collar dies that were never intended to be used together. An off center coin, is a coin that is struck (funnily enough) off center so that some of the design is missing.

Round 8 – Listed on eBay as AUSTRALIA 2000 $1/10 Cent MULE Error excellant way above average circulated coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes, there’s a decent picture of both sides of the coin.
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Yes!
3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around most or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide? Absolutely, it’s clear for about 3/4 of the coin from 12 o’clock to 9 o’clock.
4. You’ve got a MULE!

Hey another real mule! Unfortunately the price is even higher than the last real mule we found in Round 5. So take what I’ve said there and add several very’s to the size of the price and another 10 or 20 decades to the time you’d likely see a return on your investment.

Round 9 – Listed on eBay as AUSTRALIA 2000 $1/10 Cent MULE Error excellant above average circulated coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes, there’s a decent picture of both sides of the coin.
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Yes!
3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around most or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide? Absolutely, it’s clear for about 3/4 of the coin from 12 o’clock to 9 o’clock.
4. You’ve got a MULE!

See the mule in Round 5 for comments regarding the price of this mule.

Round 10 – Listed on eBay as ERROR 2006 Off Centre Mule Style $2 2 dollar circulated Queens Head Coin

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Nope. It’s a $2. NOT A MULE.

I love the title of this one, it’s an off-center mule style error. Let me re-iterate. An off-center coin (which again this coin is not) is not a mule. And there’s no such thing as a “mule style” coin.

Round 11 – Listed on eBay as 2000 Australian $1 one dollar MULE error coin RARE!

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Actually I am not sure. There’s no picture of the reverse (tails side) of the coin.
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Well it’s certainly a year 2000 coin.
3. Does the coin show a clear double rim around most or all of the heads side of the coin about 0.5mm wide? Actually it does.
4. Well you might have a mule.

Look, I’m pretty certain this actually is a mule based on the single picture given. BUT, it’s best to never ever ever (ever) purchase a coin having only seen a picture of one side. This is especially so when the coin in question is worth exactly $1 when it’s not actually a mule. That’s $2999 less than this particular coin is listed for. Are you willing to risk $2,999 just because you can’t be bothered asking the seller for the picture of the other side of a coin? Well I’m not. But if you are, hey I’ve got this bridge, you want to buy it?

Round 12 – Listed on eBay as 2003 $1 dollar coin mule offset strike error

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes!
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? No, it’s a 2003 dollar. NOT A MULE.

Round 13 – Listed on eBay as $1 AUD Coins The Resulting “mule” Error can be double rim..

Mule Coin or Not?

Mule Coin or Not?

1. Is the coin a dollar? Yes!
2. Is the coin a year 2000 dollar? Nope, it’s 2001. NOT A MULE.

The title on this one clearly illustrates that the seller isn’t quite sure what a mule error is. Remember a mule is a coin struck with obverse, reverse, or collar dies that were never intended to be used together. Just because a coin has double rims (like this one sort of has) does not a mule maketh.

GAME OVER

That’s it folks, game over. I hope you had fun with our little game and the four simple rules you need to know to play. It’s not hard to spot a real 2000 $1 / 10c mule and learning the four rules will prevent you from spending money on something you shouldn’t have.

Posted in Collecting Coins, Error Coins

Valuable Australian Coins in Your Change!

The Numismatic Association of Australia publishes an annual numismatic journal and the latest volume has just been released. We were asked to contribute an article to this journal which we were happy to do. The process of creating the article was considerably longer than expected with the whole thing taking about 18 months (!) from start to finish. However, we’re happy with the end result, an article all about the fine art of coin noodling! The article is entitled Valuable Coins in Change (click the link to read the PDF version of the article).

Posted in Collecting Coins, Error Coins

A Partial Engagement –the story of partial collar errors

This article was published in the Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine, March 2017 issue and was written by the Australian Coin Collecting Blog.Subscribe here to CAB magazine.

What is a Partial Collar Error?
The Partial Collar Error is an interesting type of coin error that gets its name as the coin only partially engages with the collar die when it is struck giving the rim a stepped appearance around some or all of the circumference of the coin.

The error occurs as the coin blank is fed into the press by the feeder fingers and doesn’t neatly locate in the collar die. As the coin is struck some of the planchet is driven into the collar die. The collar die constrains flow of the metal radially, resulting in the rim of the coin having a smaller diameter where it is held by the collar die and a larger diameter where it is not. Examining the edge of the struck coin to see how the collar held the coin allows the error to be classified by the collector into one of two types of partial collar error, straight or tilted.

Figure 1 shows a straight partial collar error, while Figure 2 shows a tilted partial collar error. Figure 3 shows a partial collar error on a non-reeded edge coin.
From the images below it should be clear that in the case of a straight partial collar the coin engages with the collar such that the double edge is parallel to the faces of the coin. The step in the edge around the full circumference of the coin gives the coin more than a passing resemblance to the wheel of a train carriage or locomotive, leading to the colloquial name “railroad rim error” for the straight partial collar. In the case of the tilted partial collar the double edge is not parallel to the faces of the coin giving rise to a tilted appearance.

Figure 1 (left) - Straight Partial Collar Edge – Great Britain 1966 Sixpence Figure 2 (middle) - Tilted Partial Collar Edge – Australia 2005 Dollar Figure 3 (right)- Straight Partial Collar Edge – Australia 1974 2c

Figure 1 (left) – Straight Partial Collar Edge – Great Britain 1966 Sixpence
Figure 2 (middle) – Tilted Partial Collar Edge – Australia 2005 Dollar
Figure 3 (right)- Straight Partial Collar Edge – Australia 1974 2c

Partial collar errors don’t usually look too spectacular when viewing the obverse or reverse face of the coin. Typically it’s when taking a closer look at the edge that it becomes obvious where the problem has occurred. In the case of a straight partial collar error the side of the coin that correctly engages with the collar die should look for all intents and purposes, like a correctly struck coin. However, with the opposing side effectively struck out of collar the diameter should be greater than standard. It’s on this side of the coin that you may see metal flow and fishtailing due to unconstrained radial metal flow. See Figure 4.

Figure 4- Australia 1974 2c Partial Collar – Obverse Fishtailing Detail

Figure 4- Australia 1974 2c Partial Collar – Obverse Fishtailing Detail


Why Do Partial Collar Errors Occur?
There are two commonly accepted reasons for partial collar errors. The first has to do with the manufacture of the coin blanks themselves, the second a failure in the operation of the coin press machinery.

Improperly Manufactured Coin Blanks
What is one reason that a coin blank wouldn’t sit neatly in the collar for striking? The answer is quite obvious and is answered in Figure 5, a letter from the Royal Mint in London dated 1968. This letter is a response to Mr. C. McMillan who had mailed a straight partial collar 1966 sixpence error (Figure 1) to the Royal Mint asking for an explanation as to the origins of the coin. J.C. Hill, an employee of the Royal Mint, in reply to Mr. McMillan says:

“Your coin escaped this process and was therefore too large to fit properly into the collar which cuts the milled edge when the coin is struck.”

How can a coin blank possibly be too large? Simply because it has mistakenly missed the edge rimming process which raises the edge of the blank to reduce wear on the coin, reduces required striking pressure and according to J.C. Hill, allows coins to be stacked. An obvious side effect of the edge rimming process is that it reduces the diameter of the coin blank. The forfeiture of the edge rimming process leaves the coin blank too wide to fall neatly into the collar and only the part of the blank that is held by the collar receives the edge milling.

Machinery Failure
Herbert (2002) suggests a second reason for the partial collar error. Failure in some aspect of the coin press itself. He says:

“The collar may not rise and fall properly with the striking process, the support springs may break, or the collar may jam.”

It’s easy to see how in any of these cases that the collar die would only be raised partially around the rim of the coin even for a perfectly manufactured coin blank. In Mr. Herbert’s case of broken collar die support springs it is not inconceivable that just one spring could break resulting in a tilted collar die which could easily explain tilted partial collar errors.

How Common is this Type of Coin Error?
Partial collar errors are among the more common errors available to collectors. They are certainly the most common type of error coin that arise from planchet location problems during striking. Ramstrikes, broadstrikes and off-center strikes are other errors that result from planchet location issues but each is far scarcer than the partial collar.
Most of these more grossly deformed types of errors usually get picked up either by the Mint or by security companies when they are rejected at the coin rolling machines. Sometimes smaller less deformed partial collar errors find their way into circulation. Partial collar errors are more commonly found on the smaller denominations and they are easily overlooked and sometimes circulate for a while before being put aside by a collector.

Figure 5 -Royal Mint Letter

Figure 5 -Royal Mint Letter


A Recent Find
An Australasian Coin and Banknote reader was over the moon when he recently opened a Royal Australian Mint roll of freshly minted 2016 50th Anniversary of Decimal Currency Changeover 20 cent coins and found a partial collar error staring back at him. Glaringly obvious as can be seen in the photos (Figure 6) part of this coin didn’t engage at all with the collar die and there is a significant area with no milling around the edge. Our reader was quick to don his white gloves and carefully photograph the coin before putting it away in a coin holder. This is the first 2016 partial collar error the authors have seen and having come directly from a mint roll is retained in desirable uncirculated condition.
Figure 6 -2016 20c Partial Collar in RAM Roll (image supplied by Tyron Pigors)

Figure 6 -2016 20c Partial Collar in RAM Roll (image supplied by Tyron Pigors)


References
1. Richard Giedroyc, 2006. The Everything Coin Collecting Book: All You Need to Start Your Collection And Trade for Profit (Everything®). Adams Media.
2. Alan Herbert, 2002. The Official Price Guide to Mint Errors, 6th Edition. House of Collectibles.
3. Hill, J.C. (Royal Mint, London) to Mr.C. McMillan 5 February 1968 from collection of K. Harris.
4. Ian McConnelly, 2015. Renniks Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors, 1st Edition. Renniks.
5. Australian Off Centre Strikes and Off Centre Dies. 2016. Australian Off Centre Strikes and Off Centre Dies. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thesandpit.net/index.php?option=offcentre_strike. [Accessed 29 December 2016].

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