Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lincoln Penny 2010

2010 sees the introduction of a new design for the reverse of the United States of America one cent piece, or penny, the obverse carrying the same effigy of Abraham Lincoln used since the coins introduction.
It is the third regular issue reverse design since the introduction of the Lincoln obverse in 1909, the first two reverses, the "wheat" and the "memorial" both having fifty year runs, with 2009 seeing a series of commemorative reverses. The new design is a simple shield that I'm sure Charles Barber would find pleasing. The zinc barons are obviously a powerful
lobby group in Washington (remember that since 1982 the penny is a zinc coin with a copper cladding), especially given the fact that despite being worse than useless in trade, each one cent coin costs 1.8 cents to produce! Countless millions, if not billions will be struck, filling jars and drawers and being a general nuisance.
Still, it's great if you happen to own shares in zinc companies.
If my previous post on the Lincoln penny doesn't appear below, it can be found here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lincoln Penny 1909

2009 marks the centennial of the first issue of the Lincoln cent, or penny as it is known in the U.S., first issued in the United States of America in 1909, that year being the centennial of Lincoln's birth. You could say it's the centennial of the centennial cent. The Lincoln cent was the first circulating U.S. coin to feature the effigy of a real person rather than an allegorical representation of a female figure of "Liberty". When it was first released there were queues at banks, people were so eager to get their hands on a specimen. At the time it was thought that it might be a one year only commemorative with a limited mintage. The coin is still being issued today, albeit with a redesigned reverse, the wheat ears being replaced with an image of the Lincoln memorial in 1959. There are also special commemorative designs with a Lincoln theme being issued this year. It would in my opinion have been fitting to revive the original 1909 "wheat" reverse in commemoration, but mints the world over are staffed with designers using digital design software to come up with all sorts of non-circulating "comemmoratives", which aren't really coins at all (just money making ventures which clog our catalogues), and they are just itching to leave their mark on the circulating coinage of the day. The issuance of the cent has become the subject of some controversy in the U.S., with the cost of production exceeding the face value of the coin. Many people would like to see it withdrawn from circulation, but such action must be approved by the U.S. House and Senate, and there are powerful interests who wish it to remain in circulation. The main arguments against it's withdrawal appear to be 1. sentimentality, 2. the fear of inflation, and 3. lobbying from the zinc industry (while the cent appears to be a copper coin, it is in fact since 1982 been struck in copper plated zinc). Meanwhile, each year hundreds of millions, sometimes billions, are minted and circulated, filling jars and drawers, because individually or even by the handfull, they are all but useless.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Australia Fifty Cent Double Strike 1972

A 1972 dated Australian fifty cent coin, which after being struck, was not properly ejected from the coining press, and was struck a second time with only part of the coin still resting between the dies. Such a spectacular double strike of this large sized decimal Australian coin is very rare. Although the number of collectors of this kind of coin error is small, on the rare occasions they come up for auction they tend to achieve high prices.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Great Britain Farthing 1860

From 1806 until 1860, the British copper coinage, consisting of the penny, halfpenny and farthing (quarter penny) was struck in pure copper, and was quite large and incovenient to carry. Pure copper is also quite soft and the coins wore quickly. The copper coinage was replaced from 1860 with a smaller sized issue struck in bronze. The coin illustrated is an uncirculated farthing dated 1860. Initially the new coins were struck with a border composed of round beads, however problems with premature die breakage were encountered and it was decided later in 1860 to replace the beads with a more conventional "toothed" border. Thus the 1860 bronze coinage was issued with two distinct border treatments. The coin illustrated is of the earlier "beaded" type. It also shows prominant die cracks on the obverse, especially between A of VICTORIA and D of D:G:, also through the top of Victoria's head. Note also that British coins to this day do not display the country of issue.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off Centre New Zealand 2 cent

A nice example of a New Zealand misstrike. New Zealand errors of this type are rare, both in the decimal and pre-decimal series. Unfortunately the date is not visable on this specimen, but coins of this type were struck between 1967 and 1983.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

United States Eagle (ten dollars), 1844 O

A number of non collectors have asked me "what is the rarest coin in the world?". In fact there are many examples of coins which are unique, such as this Eagle, or ten dollar gold proof coin, minted in 1844 at the New Orleans mint (hence the "O" mintmark below the eagle) in the United States of America. The eagle, half eagle ($5) and double eagle ($20) coins were all circulating coins in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however in 1844 at the New Orleans mint only a single proof specimen was produced. Perhaps struck as a presentation piece for a visiting dignatory or as some kind of commemorative, the piece has been a part of some of the worlds most famous coin collections, including the Colonel Green and King Farouk of Egypt collections. Purchased by a Florida collector in 2006 for a reported price of $US1.5 million, it is currently on display at the New Orleans mint. An article on this coin can be found here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

India One Rupee 1892

This attractive coin is part of a long series of British Indian coinage which began with the issues of the East India Company in the early nineteenth century. Buyers of these coins need to be aware thet Indian mints kept the dies used to
strike these coins, and in the twentieth century produced restrikes using original dies. The original dies were often rusty and had been "cleaned up" so it is usually possible for the educated collector to tell the difference. The restrikes are also valued by some collectors and sometimes fetch high prices at auction for rare issues.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Zealand proof Waitangi Crown 1935

The "key" piece to any collection of New Zealand coins is the commemorative crown issued in 1935. With only 1128 pieces struck, of those only 468 being proofs, it is a true rarity. New Zealand first issued it's own coinage in 1933, prior to this British and a small amount of Australian coinage circulated.The crown was originally intended to have been issued in 1933 but there were delays involved in it's design and production. In the imperial coinage system (used in New Zealand until 1967) a crown is quarter of a pound = 2 1/2 florins = 5 shillings = 15 groats = 60 pennies = 240 farthings. To keep it simple just think one pound = 20 shillings. One shilling = 12 pence. Needless to say decimal currency made things alot simpler. See also Halfcrown 1934

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kweichow Province, China, Auto Dollar 1928

This commemorative dollar (actual denomination on one side 'one yuan' and on the other 'Seven Mace and Two Candareens') was struck in 1928, and has a very low mintage of only 648 pieces. The governor of the province wished to have not only his car shown on the coin but his portrait as well, however his Feng Shui advisors warned him that his likeness appearing on the coin would put his life in jeopardy, but he was determined lo leave his mark, so had his name in Chinese characters hidden in the blades of grass below the car. His feng shui masters were unhappy with this compromise. The next year while leading his troops in the same car shown on the coin, he was ambushed by enemy forces. He got out of his car to try and escape, but was killed by the side of the road.

Friday, September 26, 2008

England penny 1272 - 1307

This penny was hand struck during the reign of King Edward I who ruled from 1272 until 1307. It is silver, and at that time the penny was the only denomination in general circulation.

It is known as a "long cross" penny due to the cross on the reverse extending to the edges of the coin. Earlier pennies had a "short cross" which only extended to the inner circle of pellets. Unscrupulous people had a habit of shaving a tiny amount of silver from the edge of a coin before spending it, over a period of time accumulating a stash of silver shavings. Some coins bacame quite underweight, and the long cross was introduced in an effort to stop such practices.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Great Britain Halfcrown 1817

The Royal mint finally recieved it's long overdue funding as was able to something about the appalling state of British coinage. Thanks to James Watt, new steam powered coin presses were installed at the mint in London, and in 1816 a great recoinage of silver and gold took place (copper coins had been struck at a private facility using steam presses since 1797), with the old coins being withdrawn and replaced with new specie. These were the first British coins to be struck using a "collar" or third die which shaped the edge of the coins thus ensuring uniformly round coins. The portraits of King George the Third were engraved by the Italian Benedetto Pistrucci, and the portrait used on the halfcrown came in for some serious criticism, possibly not by the King himself who was insane by this time. It bacame known as the "bull head", and was only used in 1816 and 1817 before a head only bust was substituted in 1817.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

England emergency issue dollar on Mexico Eight Reales

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries England was suffering a severe shortage of coinage, with the royal mint unable to procure enough silver and gold to strike coins. The Bank of England purchased a large number of Latin American "pieces of eight" and counterstamped them with a small portrait of King George the Third. These were issued between 1797 and 1804, when the Bank began restriking the whole face of the spanish "dollars". These countermarked coins gave rise to a limerick at the time "The Bank in order to make it's money pass, stamped the head of a fool on the neck of an ass."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mexico Eight Reales 1818

This silver eight Reales struck in Mexico in the name of Spanish King Ferdinand VII is an example of the famous "pieces of eight". These were probably the most widely accepted international currency in the world at this time, and they were struck in many parts of the South American continent. They were valued for their silver content and cosistency in weight and purity. It is also believed that the ribbons around the pillars were inspiration for the $ symbol.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Australia 1948 Half Penny double struck

While Australian mistrikes as a rule are quite scarce, it's very rare to come across such a clear specimen of double striking, with the second strike about 20% off centre.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cuba One Peso 1915

This time we have a well worn Cuban one peso coin dated 1915. Like many large silver dollar sized coins of this era issued in the Americas, it has it's weight and fineness incorporated into the design.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taiwan Fifty NT Dollars (Yuan) 2005

The current issue Taiwanese fifty NT dollar coin was introduced in 2002 to combat the proliferation of counterfeits of the earlier bi-metallic issue. As well as having a front facing effigy of Dr. Sun Yat Sen on the obverse, the reverse contains a "latent image" of the denomination. When viewed one way the numerals 50 can be seen, viewed from another angle the Chinese characters for 50 are seen. Similar technology is also found on the Japanese 500 yen coin.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nova Scotia Halfpenny Token 1832

During the nineteenth century many British Colonies suffered from severe shortages of small change. While it was unlawful for the colonies to strike coins of their own to alleviate the difficulties, there were ways around the law, thus we have this halfpenny token of 1832 from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Equal in size and weight to a British halfpenny, and bearing the effigy of King George the Fourth, despite him having died in 1830......

Czechoslovakia One Korun 1938

Coins bearing this design were issued as part of the new Czechoslovak Republic formed following the First World War. The One Korun coin was introduced in 1922 and issued in the large size format until 1938. The series was interrupted due to Germany invading Czechoslovakia. Following the second world war coins bearing the same design were issued but in a smaller size.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Great Britain Penny, 1853

These large sized pure copper coins were issued bearing the head of a young queen Victoria from 1838 untill their replacement by a smaller bronze issue in 1860. There were a couple of problems with this issue, the first being that at the time coins contained roughly the value in metal of the denomination, thus one penny contained roughly one penny's worth of copper. Secondly, pure copper is a relatively soft metal, so the coins wore quickly and were easily damaged.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Zealand Half Crown 1934

New Zealand introduced it's own coinage in 1933. Prior to this British coinage was used, along with a small amount of Australian coinage. The halfcrown was the highest circulating denomination, with a value of two shillings and sixpence, that is to say 30 pence. King George the Fifth's portrait was short lived on New Zealand's coinage, as he passed away in 1936. Predecimal coinage was issued with the same reverse designs until 1965. New decimal coinage was introduced on July 10 1967.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Czech Republic Fifty Crowns 1993

Bimetallic coins have become popular in many countries during the past few years, predominantly used for a country's highest denomination coin. The Czech Republic struch large numbers of these for circulation in 1993, but there was a wide public preference for the 50 Korun (Crown) note, so the coin was seldon encountered in general circulation. This seems to have changed during the past couple of years, perhaps due to the central bank ceasing to issue the paper fifty, although I have no real evidence of this. There have been several attempts to introduce a dollar coin into circulation in the United States, but the general public prefer to use the paper version. I can't understand why the US government simply ceases the issue of one dollar notes, as occured in many countries including the UK, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand and I'm sure many others.........

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Great Britain Two Shillings 1964 Off Centre

The British milled predecimal misstrike is another seldom seen item, this 1964 florin is a particularly nice example. British coinage was redesigned in 1953 to coincide with Elizabeth the Second coming to the throne. These designs were in circulation until the changeover to decimal currency in 1971.

Friday, May 16, 2008

1927 USA Peace Dollar?

NUMBER 5. This week we have something a little different. It appears to be an American dollar coin from 1927, but in actual fact it is a cheap chinese copy, or COUNTERFEIT, purchased at a market in Taipei very cheaply. Alongside it were a wide selection of fake world crowns, with a bias toward chinese and US coins. They were not sold as genuine, and any collector worth their salt would not be fooled by the soft detail, light weight, dull ring and badly recut date. However I have seen fakes of this type being sold as genuine both online and in shops. Also, more worrying are the high quality forgeries also coming out of China, I've personally seen some very very good counterfeit US Trade Dollars, and French Indo-China piastres. It's definately a case of buyer beware........

Friday, May 9, 2008

New Zealand 198? Off Centre Fifty Cents

NUMBER 4. This week we have a real find. Being a New Zealander I'm always on the lookout for New Zealand off centre error coins, but they just aren't out there! Needless to say I was suitably stoked to stumble accross this large sized beauty some years ago........

Friday, May 2, 2008

Australia 1950 Off Centre Penny

Large sized off centre strikes are always impressive, and this Aussie penny is no exception. While Australian misstrikes such as this are relatively scarce, it's easier to find pre decimal examples than post 1966 decimal strikes, presumably due to the fact that a new mint was built in Canberra for the decimal changeover, which had better quality control than the old mints in Melbourne and Perth.

Friday, April 18, 2008

USA Undated Off Centre five cent

NUMBER 2. A wildly misstruck U.S. nickel. Collecting errors is a popular and well developed branch of numismatics in the U.S., probably bacause there are plenty of American errors to collect, especially one and five cent pieces, which are available quite cheaply. Dated examples attract a premium over undated specimens such as this. There are several other countries which also must have issues with quality control and or waste disposal, such as India, Mexico, Pakistan, Israel, with error coins from these countries being relatively common.