Weekly World Numismatic News for August 26, 2018

News out of the United Kingdom was that the Bank of England was thinking about eliminating the copper 1 penny and 2 pence coins. The discussion came from a blog post on the website Bank Underground, an independent blog written by Bank of England staff commenting on the Bank’s policies. The post suggested that there would be “a negligible impact on inflation, with the average impact being negative but not statistically different from zero.”

The economists that wrote the blog post has used the same argument that many others have used: the rising cost of copper and the reduced purchasing power makes the coin not worth minting.

In response, the Bank of England said that it was not considering eliminating the 1p and 2p coins.

Unfortunately, the Bank of England economists’ post will become fodder for those that want to eliminate the one-cent coin in the United States. The argument will repeat the same themes that the blog post outline as proof that this could be done.

The problem is that regardless of the position, using the arguments generated from data that does not consider social and economic information from the United States makes the using this as an example irrelevant or spurious at best.

And now the news…

 August 18, 2018

A block below Central Park in Manhattan, an unassuming shop appears, from the vantage point of sidewalk passersby, old, dusty, and uninteresting. Yet it contains treasures. In billboard-laden New York City, the boutique’s beige awning barely snatches a glance.  → Read more at fortune.com


 August 18, 2018

AGARTALA: A commemorative gold coin to honour Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya has been launched on the occasion of the 110th birth anniversary of 'Tripura's last king'. The coin was released at a special Independence Day function at Ujjayanta Palace – the seat of the Manikya dynasty – by chief minister Biplab Deb, who was accompanied at the event by deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma, who is a member of the royal family, and the Maharaja's granddaughter Maharajkumari Pragya Deb Burman.  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com


 August 19, 2018

RIGA — The whole mintage of the new silver collector coin dedicated to the Curonian Kings, a cultural group of free Latvian peasants that for many centuries inhabited seven villages in western Latvia, has been sold out at Bank of Latvia Cashier’s Offices, the central bank’s spokesman Janis Silakalns told LETA.  → Read more at baltictimes.com


 August 20, 2018

The Royal Australian Mint is paying homage to a group of iconic Ford and Holden race cars from the likes of Peter Brock, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and Craig Lowndes in a new series. Two fresh collections feature seven, uncirculated 50cent coins each from Ford and Holden chronicling the success of the brands in Australian motorsport.  → Read more at supercars.com


 August 22, 2018

Bank of England economists have reignited the debate over the future of 1p and 2p coins, arguing their removal from circulation would not stoke inflation. In a blog post on Wednesday the analysts said their work and the “overwhelming” evidence suggested the withdrawal of coppers would have “no significant impact on prices”.  → Read more at theguardian.com


 August 23, 2018

THE Bank of England is considering plans to scrap the one and two pence coins. It comes after economists claimed that scrapping 1p and 2p coins would not push up inflation. Here’s the latest…  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

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 NLG announces 2018 awards (Aug 20, 2018)

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 18, 2018

When news comes out of the United Kingdom it is fun to read how the British tabloids write about them. They have a way with their words that make no doubt about where they stand.

Philip Hammond has branded a ‘penny-pincher’ after revealing shock plans to scrap 1p and 2p coins (Courtesy of The Sun)

This past week, the tabloids had their fun poking at Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who suggested that the country no longer produce 1p and 2p coins. He also questioned whether it was to the country’s advantage to eliminate the £50 note.

Chancellor of the Exchequer is to the United Kingdom as the Secretary of the Treasury is to the United States.

During Hammond’s review of the treasury, he said that since 500 million 1p and 2p coins fall out of circulation every year that it might be a good idea to eliminate them.

Hammond is a member of the Conservative Party. Following his statements on the State of the Treasury, MP (Member of Parliament) Wes Streeting, a member of the Labour Party, referred to Hammond as “this penny pincher Chancellor.”

That opened the tabloids and other opposition parties to attack Hammond and the Tories. Much like the argument against eliminating the one-cent coin in the United States, those against removing those coins worry about squeezing the poor a few pennies at a time (allegedly) making their situation worse.

For the £50 note, Hammond cites studies about its use in organized crime for physical payments. However, studies show that the criminals are more apt to use the 500€ note, while it is still in circulation, the 100&euro note, and the $100 Federal Reserve Note. Even with the strong exchange rate being strong on the pound sterling, it is more advantageous for criminals to use higher denomination banknotes.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who has the final say, gave the British press a non-committal statement following the opposition attack. Of course, that opened her up to being called whishy-washy by the tabloids.

The British tabloids do make the news entertaining!

And not the news…

 March 11, 2018

Whether a modern quarter displaying a U.S. national park or a rare, hand-hammered Greek denarius dating back to 250 A.D., history is woven throughout the process and story of all coins, tokens and currencies, according to Monte Mensing, president of the Springfield Coin Club. → Read more at registerguard.com


 March 12, 2018

GAYLORD — When Kandus Schalter received a “challenge coin” from Matt Barresi, director of the Gaylord Regional Airport, she thought she might just keep it in her wallet. But Frank Jasinski thought Schalter, a World War II veteran and local businesswoman with strong ties to the community, should be able to wear it proudly, so he offered to take it to Hogan’s Jewelers, to put a hole and catch in it. → Read more at petoskeynews.com


 March 12, 2018

On Monday, March 12, the National Bank of Ukraine introduces a commemorative coin "The Day of the Ukrainian Volunteer". This was reported by the press service of the bank. The nominal value of the coin is 10 UAH, metal is a zinc-based alloy, the circulation is 1 million pieces. → Read more at 112.international


 March 12, 2018

The Treasury could be paving the way for the end of 1p and 2p coins as it seeks views on the future of cash. It is inviting comments on the mix of coins in circulation as consumers move to non-cash payments such as contactless and digital spending. → Read more at bbc.com


 March 13, 2018

PHILIP Hammond was branded a “penny-pincher” after revealing shock plans to scrap 1p and 2p coins. Unveiling his Spring Statement, the Chancellor resurrected proposals to abolish the “obsolete” copper change. → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 March 15, 2018

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has decided to stop striking coins of low denominations — 1 kopiyka, 2 kopiykas, 5 kopiykas, 25 kopiykas coins, acting NBU Governor Yakiv Smolii has said. “The National Bank stops striking 1 kopiyka, 2 kopiykas, 5 kopiykas, 25 kopiykas coins. All these denominations of coins will be in circulation, but in the … → Read more at kyivpost.com


 March 16, 2018

A pot of 500 gold and silver coins dating to the 15th century was discovered in the Netherlands. → Read more at livescience.com


 March 16, 2018

The five dollar gold coin is the first time the Mint has ever issued currency in a pink hue. → Read more at usatoday.com


 March 16, 2018

Utility workers in the Netherlands struck gold while laying drain pipe at a construction site earlier this month. The employees of Oasen, a water supply company, unearthed a collection of nearly 500 coins in a glazed cooking pot dating back to the 15th century, the NL Times reported — 12 of them gold and the remaining silver. → Read more at nydailynews.com

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 4, 2018

I apologize for being a day late.

10p “B” reverse for “Bond… James Bond!” issued by the Royal Mint (Royal Mint Image)

Interesting numismatic-related news out of the week is coming out of the United Kingdom. The Royal Mint has introduced 26 special 10 pence coins, with each reverse having a letter of the alphabet and an image representing that letter. For example, the 10p coin with “A” honors the Angel of the North landmark in Gateshead and “B” for “Bond… James Bond.”

All 26 coins have been added to circulation and the Royal Mint is promoting the coins with the hashtag #coinhunt on social media.

For those collecting the coins, the Royal Mint is offering a special album and an app that can be used in the hunt. For those of us outside of the United Kingdom, you can purchase the coins online on the Royal Mint’s website.

It is an interesting idea that could translate to the United States. Let’s see what happens before making that proposal.

And now the news…

 February 23, 2018

A new exhibition at the National Hellenic Museum which will open March 4, will feature the story of coins from early use in ancient Greece to today. Titled “Change: The Story of Coins”, the exhibition will include an interactive display which will highlight how coins are important financial, cultural and political tools. → Read more at usa.greekreporter.com


 February 25, 2018

The National Bank of Poland has issued a special coin commemorating a hero of the Polish struggle for independence. General August Emil Fieldorf (nom de guerre “Nil”), a hero of the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920 and of World War II, was arrested by the communist authorities in 1950. → Read more at thenews.pl


 February 26, 2018

The Capital City Coin Club will be hosting its 98th Annual Trade Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, at the Bismarck Eagles Club, 313 North 26th St. Saturday hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. → Read more at jamestownsun.com


 February 27, 2018

Sixty two year-old amateur metal detector Richard Patterson found a rare coin from the third century in a field in Winchester, Hampshire. It has now sold at auction for £10,000 ($14,000). → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 March 1, 2018

The Royal Mint is celebrating Britishness with 26 new, collectors edition, 10p coins – and they've just hit the streets → Read more at mirror.co.uk


 March 2, 2018

February sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coins fell 80 percent from the same month a year earlier, the slowest February sales in 11 years, while February silver coin sales fell to the lowest since 2008, government data showed on Wednesday. → Read more at reuters.com


 March 2, 2018

Recently, at the monthly Veterans Coffee held at the Gaylord Regional Airport, I presented a World War II veteran with our airport Challenge Coin. A guest at the event approached → Read more at petoskeynews.com


 March 2, 2018

Queuing, cricket and tea represent what it means to be British, according to the Royal Mint, which has launched a new collection of 10 pence coins to showcase the "A to Z of what makes Britain great". → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

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Weekly Numismatic World News for October 15, 2017

The old Round Pound and the new 12-sided £1 coin

As you read this, the old round £1 coins have ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

British news outlets are reporting that millions of the old round pounds are still in circulation but that might not be bad news for many Britons. There are reports that many coin-operated systems have not been converted to take the new 12-sided £1 coin including supermarkets, where a £1 pound coin is necessary to “rent” a trolley, what the British call their shopping cart.

Two of the U.K.’s largest grocery store chains have announced they will continue to accept the round pound through the end of October because their trolley systems are not ready.

Charities are getting into the act by accepting the old round pound as donations. Many charities will continue to accept the coin through the final redemption period in March 2018 as donations. The charities are working with banks to deposit the coins.

It has been fascinating to read the news of how the U.K. has tried to adapt to the new coin. The biggest issue has been with the use of coin-operated equipment like trolley rentals and parking meters. It is a lesson to any active economy, such as her in the United States, as to what could happen should the composition of U.S. coins change.

Although there have been discussions as to whether to change the composition of United States coinage, it is not likely to happen for many reasons. What may be gaining support is dropping the $1 Federal Reserve Note in favor of a dollar coin. This would not require changes in coin-operated systems but a change in attitudes. Given how resilient Americans can be, it would be possible to end production of the $1 FRN and just endure the kvetching that will ensue. That will end when people get used the coin.

And now the news…

 October 9, 2017

LeRoy Transfield A photo of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Native Contingent. Utah sculptor LeRoy Transfield had two uncles who served in the unit during World War I. → Read more at deseretnews.com


 October 11, 2017

The discovery of gold rings and coins on a Swedish island sheds new light on the history of the area, and could give insight into the motives for a massacre which took place in the fifth century, archaeologists told The Local on Wednesday. → Read more at thelocal.se


 October 12, 2017

Share → Read more at adweek.com


 October 12, 2017

People buy gold in various forms like jewellery, coins etc. Here are 7 things to know if you are buying gold coins this Diwali. → Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com


 October 13, 2017

The Carl Brashear Foundation wants to bring its namesake’s legacy home to the veterans center that soon will bear his name. → Read more at thenewsenterprise.com


 October 14, 2017

By Katie Lange Defense Media Activity → Read more at dodlive.mil


 October 15, 2017

Shoppers have one day left to spend their old round £1 coins before they cease to become legal tender at midnight. Hundreds of millions of round pounds are yet to be handed in, as only hours remain before the coin drops out of general circulation.  However, major banks and building societies have said they will continue to accept the old coins after the deadline on Sunday.  They can also be deposited into any of the usual high street banks or through the Post Office. → Read more at independent.co.uk


 October 15, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017 → Read more at jamaicaobserver.com


 October 15, 2017

Currency modernization will help secure our financial futures and save billions of dollars for taxpayers. → Read more at cnbc.com

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Image courtesy of the Royal Mint.

As round pound winds down the number of fake errors are rising

As the British are winding down the use of the Round Pound, stories are once again popping up about errors of the new 12-sided pound coin being sold for high prices on eBay.

Although the Royal Mint has admitted to manufacturing issues in trying to produce enough new pound coins to satisfy circulation requirements, their claim that the number of errors where the center are missing of the bi-metallic coins is likely post-minting errors.

A weak strike can prevent the two metals from fusing properly allowing them to separate

In other words, they are suggesting that people are removing the centers of the coin to claim they are errors.

To better understand why it is being claimed these are post-mint errors, I contacted a European-based dealer who has relationships with many of the continent’s mints. What follows is a summary of his explanation.

The Royal Mint coins money in a process similar to any other mint. Planchets are prepared, sent the coining press, stamped, dumped into a hopper, and sent down a conveyor where they are bagged. The bags are weight to a precise weight before the bags are accepted. Along the way, there are cameras and other sensors to detect errors.

All of the checks and sensors, including the weight of the coin, would be caught long before reaching the bagging section. Aside from the dimensions not being correct, the weight of the ring or center by themselves would not be up to the standard.

It is possible that the coins could separate in the bags during transport. However, these coins are transported to government authorized handlers. Some of them are similar to the companies that drive armored trucks here in the United States. They take the coins and prepare them for delivery to the banks.

The preparation process requires coins to be counted, rolled, and bagged. As part of the process, the coins are loaded into a system that transfers them to an automated line that brings the coins by conveyor to a machine that will either roll them or dump them in a bag. In both cases, the contents are limited by the amount they hold.

As part of the automated system, the coins are counted and check for size and weight so that if there are any coins that do not meet the Royal Mint’s standards are removed. The automated system would catch the ring and the center if they separated before the process.

Coins that are to be rolled are sent to a machine to roll them where they are counted and placed in rolls of £25 each. Those rolls are for bank and retail use and handled accordingly.

Bagged coins are used by bulk handlers such as the coin-op industry. Bags with £100 of coins are counted before being placed in the bag. If the coin cannot be verified before it is placed in the bag then the coin is rejected.

Is it possible for the coin to separate in the £100 pound bag prior to circulation? Of course, it is. However, there is one more check before the coins reach the consumer, and that is the coin-op machine itself.

Coin-op machines have mechanisms to try to prevent accepting counterfeit money and to ensure it is giving the proper change. Machines just do not eject any coin in its hopper. These checks include the weight, dimensions, and magnetic signature. The magnetic signature measures what happens after magnetic energy is flashed on the coin. Think about it as measuring how the coin would reflect light but use magnetism instead.

A pound coin that had separated would not pass the magnetic signature test and be rejected.

Although there are a number of points along the process that could fail, the number of checks between the Royal Mint and the consumer, it is highly unlikely that all of these separated pound coins exist.

It is possible that the coins being sold are from the reject bins of coin-op machines. However, the dealer I spoke with is suspicious of the number of coins being sold.

Trial strikes found without the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, II

This dealer told me that he will not buy 12-sided pound coins dated 2016 without their centers. Technically, they are not coins because they originally did not have the portrait of Queen Elizabeth on the front. Under British law, all legal tender coins must have the image of the monarch on the front. In 2016, the Royal Mint created about 2000 of these 12-sided test slugs for businesses to test coin-op systems ahead of the conversion. The dealer community has serious doubts that the test slugs had these errors and believes that people separated the centers from the rings.

My dealer contact said that nobody should pay more than “three-and-a-half quid” (£3.50 or $4.64 at the current exchange rate) for just a 12-sided pound outer ring. Even if it is not a legitimate Royal Mint error it is a nice conversation piece.

Examples of legitimate 12-sided £1 coin errors
Credits

Polymer notes in UK will continue to have tallow

Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, presenting the Churchill War Rooms with their New Fiver

Last year, vegan activists in the United Kingdom became apoplectic when they discovered that the manufacture of the pellets used to make the substrate for the polymer banknotes contained trace amounts of tallow.

Tallow is made from suet, the fatty deposits around the organs of cows and sheep. It is a byproduct of the process of butchering a cow for its meat and hides. In its natural form, suet is only used for cooking and some preservation. When it is rendered (by boiling) into tallow, it is used to manufacture soap, candles, and lubricants. The use of tallow in even the most synthetic lubricant is ubiquitous. Machines used to harvest crops or grease moving parts in automobiles have tallow in them.

Since the uproar from vegan activists, the Bank of England spent a lot of time and a lot of money to research the environmental and social impact of tallow in the notes.

The amount of paperwork that was generated for this issue is astounding. They looked at everything from the use of alternative lubricants, like palm oil, to the religious and social impacts to Her Majesty’s loyal subjects. In the final report, the Bank of England even summarized the response when they reached out to “representative groups,” both religious and activists organizations.

All that time and money led to the decision to “ not change the composition of the polymer used for future notes.” Why? Because the costs and environmental impact to using alternatives like palm oil would be more expensive, the notes have such low amounts of tallow, typically less than 0.05-percent (five-one-hundredths of a percent) of derived animal products, and the rest of the community just does not see this as a problem!

It is like I said in my original post, they are probably breathing more dander in a single day than they are touching tallow in all of the polymer banknotes that cross their paths. Tallow is used in all sorts of lubrication products, especially those used in transportation. It is everywhere.

I hope the vegans can either learn to live within society’s decisions or find another way to pay for goods and services, like using credit cards.

Image courtesy of Innovia Security.

Weekly Numismatic World News for August 13, 2017

The reasons why counterfeiters are successful is that people do not pay attention. Even when people do allegedly pay attention, it is almost as if the brain is not engaging.

A report from the U.K. says that people returning from mainland Europe are trying to pass euros because they look like the new £1 coin.

Although both coins are bi-metallic, the new pound coin is 12-sided meaning that there are 12 distinct “corners” that should be able to be felt on the coin. The euro is round with a milled edge that should have a different feel.

Even though the outer ring of both coins is made of nickel-brass, the ring of the euro coin is thinner than the outer ring of the new 12-sided pound coin.

The final clue in telling the difference is that the pound coin, like all legal tender coins minted by the Royal Mint, the coin features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II while the euro features a map of Europe and the denomination.

The cost for not paying attention is a loss of about 9 pence since one euro is worth about 91 pence.

And now this week’s news.

 August 7, 2017

Two of the rarest one cent coins ever made have sold at auction for a combined total close to half a million dollars. A 1943 Lincoln Penny fetched $282,000 while a 1792 Birch Cent which had been thought to have been lost for 130 years sold for $211,500. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 August 8, 2017

HOLDREGE — Robert Kinkaid of Lexington had worked to get the book “Forgotten Colorado Silver” published since 1982. His efforts paid off, and the book was published this year. One of the authors, Robert D. → Read more at kearneyhub.com


 August 8, 2017

The new £5 Prince Philip coin that has been released to celebrate his 70 years of service could be worth a fortune in the future. The coin costs £13 to pre-order through the Royal Mint and will be shipped in late August. → Read more at metro.co.uk


 August 8, 2017

UK’s Royal Mint will supply Argentina with 150 million peso coins, after the institution won a contract to assist with the minting of a new coin series. Announced on social media by UK chancellor Philip Hammond, the mint will work closely with its Argentine counterpart – Sociedad del Estado Casa de Moneda – to produce blanks for the new coin series. → Read more at en.mercopress.com


 August 11, 2017

Holidaymakers returning from Europe are trying to pass off euro coins as the new pound coins in British shops because they look so similar. Shopkeepers are warning staff to be vigilant after noticing the huge increase in one euro coins being found in takings. → Read more at metro.co.uk


 August 11, 2017

His initials are on every British coin minted since 2015, but who is the Jiu Jitsu enthusiast who designed the Queen's head, despite never having met her? He is an artist whose most famous portrait has been reproduced billions of times, and you probably have one in your pocket right now. → Read more at bbc.com


 Aug 12, 2017

This full-dimensional 3D coin weighs 100 grams and is made of pure silver and there will be 251 pieces available for sale in the Indian market. → Read more at hindustantimes.com


 Aug 13, 2017

The federal government plans to pay tribute to Georgia’s largest barrier island by issuing a special coin. → Read more at fox5atlanta.com

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Beware of fake British pound errors

On the left is an altered British £1 coin. The coin on the right is a legitimate coin.

As the British public transitions to the new £1 coin, the finding of errors in the minting process by the Royal Mint have led to a new phenomenon, the counterfeiting of those errors.

According to media reports confirmed by the Royal Mint, the three significant errors found are when the thistle on the reverse did not strike properly is produced as a smooth blob, the copper-nickel center of the bimetallic planchet appears to have melted across the coin, and the inner disc and outer ring did not fuse properly. Coins with legitimate errors have been sold on eBay (U.K. and U.S.) for significant premiums.

Unfortunately, scammers have picked up on these problems and have been selling altered coins on eBay as errors. Common alterations are based on removing the silver-colored center and create error-like coins by making different alterations. Amongst the tries to create something that looks like an error includes the Queen’s portrait appearing on the wrong side of the coin and facing the wrong direction which is impossible because of the how these coins are struck, the center of the obverse lacking the Queen’s portrait, and gouges removed from the center.

Both the errors and fakes are being sold for an average of £300 (approx. $386.13) on eBay.

If you want to purchase a British £1 error coin carefully examine the image and the image of a legitimate coin from the Royal Mint’s website. Make sure the person you are buying from has a return policy or buy from a dealer. Of course, it is easier to be careful buying from the U.K. on that side of the Atlantic, but for those U.S.-based error enthusiasts, you have to do your due diligence. Otherwise, you may get stuck with a fake!

Known legitimate errors
Image of counterfeit courtesy of AOL (UK) Money.

Royal Mint admits errors exist in new pound coins

The old Round Pound and the new 12-sided £1 coin

With the introduction of the COINS Act Cents (S. 759) and Sensibility Act (H.R. 2067), there is a possibility that the U.S. Mint will be required to make changes in the coinage it produces for circulation. Although the chances of either of these bills being passed are not very good, we can watch what is going on across the pond to see how a smaller country, albeit with a significant economy, handles a change in their coinage.

After three years of design and production plans, the Royal Mint has produced what they are calling the most secure coin ever. The 12-sided, bimetallic coin includes micro-lettering, a latent image that is like a hologram, and something embedded in the metal to change its electromagnetic signature so that coin operated machines can detect counterfeits. These changes were made necessary by an effort criminals made to flood the market with counterfeit the previous £1 coin.

Initially, there have been complaints about coin-op systems not being able to accept the coin. Everyone from parking lots with metered and machined payment to the London Underground has been seen as not ready for the change even though the Royal Mint produced test coins in 2016 to help businesses convert. In England, where supermarkets charge to use the shopping cart in a manner that U.S. airports charge to use luggage carts, some major chains have unlocked their carts because they cannot accept the new £1 coins.

Acceptance is not the only problem they have run into. The new pound coins appear to have errors.

The first error to show up caused people to think that the coin was being counterfeited when the thistle on the reverse did not strike properly. The Royal Mint confirmed that these were not counterfeits. They were errors in the minting process. Although it was reported that the Royal Mint did not examine the coins, after seeing the images they said:

As you would expect, we have tight quality controls in place, however variances will always occur in a small number of coins, particularly in the striking process, due to the high volumes and speed of production.

First new £1 coin error found with missing detail on the thistle

Next came the center-melt error. A woman in Birmingham found a coin that looks like the copper-nickel center melted across the coin. When minting bimetallic coins, the centers are supposed to expand in order to fuse it to the outer layers. The design crossed over the edges of the two metals to help with the anti-counterfeiting and to make sure the metals are locked into place. Since the coin is struck evenly, it is likely that either the alloy making up the center contains more of the softer nickel than specified, or that the coin was struck as second time causing the already fused centers to melt because of the friction.

Too hard of a strike is likely to have caused the copper-nickel center to melt across the coin.

A European coin expert familiar with the bimetallic minting process suggested that the pressure on the presses were set too high. This caused the coin to not eject properly from the collar leaving it in the machine for a second strike. The second strike on the higher pressure caused the center to melt and position the coin in a way to force it to eject. He is looking for an example to make a closer examination.

A final error find was the separation of the center from the outer ring. Even though the Royal Mint has said that this is impossible and all but accused the person who found the error of a crime (destroying coins is a crime in the United Kingdom), it is possible for the parts to separate if the strike pressure is not hard enough to fuse the centers to the rings. If the melting centers are caused by too heavy of the strike, the removable centers are caused by too light of a strike.

A weak strike can prevent the two metals from fusing properly allowing them to separate

It is theorized that the Royal Mint has two possible issues: quality control when resetting the coining presses when changing the dies and a design that cannot handle the tolerances.

Even when dies are changed for coins struck on a planchet with a single metal, the press has to be adjusted to ensure the coins are struck with the proper force. Even if the dies are made by the same person and machines, they can be mounted millimeters off. Operators are supposed to run a few coins and check the striking tolerances. If the strike is too hard, it will cause the dies to wear quicker (the first error) and possible cause multiple strikes (the second error) when the coins get stuck in the collars. Set too soft and the friction does not generate enough heat to fuse the metals (third error).

Looking for errors on eBay’s UK site, errors include coins without Queen Elizabeth’s portrait and 2016 trial strikes given to merchants to test coin-op machines that ended up in circulation.

Trial strikes found without the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, II

While the Brits are having fun with the Royal Mint’s error, it is nothing like the “Godless Dollar” outrage by the easily offended when the edge lettering with “In God We Trust” was accidentally left off of the Presidential dollars. Maybe the United States cannot handle change to their change!

Credits

  • Thistle error image courtesy of The Sun.
  • Melted pound image courtesy of The Sun.
  • Separated pound image courtesy of gtgadget.

In for a pound

The old Round Pound and the new 12-sided £1 coin

By the time the sun rises on the east coast of the United States, the Royal Mint, on behalf of HM Treasury, will have released the new 12-sided £1 coin. Billed as the most secure coin in the world, the Royal Mint touts the following security features:

  • 12–sided — its distinctive shape makes it instantly recognisable, even by touch.
  • Bimetallic — it is made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).
  • Latent image — it has an image like a hologram that changes from a £ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.
  • Micro-lettering — it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin. One pound on the obverse heads side and the year of production on the reverse “tails” side, for example 2016 or 2017.
  • Milled edges — it has grooves on alternate sides.
  • Hidden High Security Feature — with a patented High Security Feature to protect it from counterfeiting into the future.

Of course, the Royal Mint is offering collectibles for the new pound that includes a “farewell” to the one being replaced nicknamed the “Round Pound.”

Design and production of the new pound coin have been nearly three years in the making following the discovery of a large number of counterfeit £1 coins. Sources estimated that about 3-percent of the £1 coins in circulation are fake amounting to more than 45 million counterfeit coins. These fakes are so convincing and very well constructed that they can be successfully used in vending machines for payment including in London’s Underground.

The coin-operated businesses in Britain began complaining three years about the changes with reports that only a small fraction of all vending machines will be able to accept the new coin. Each coin-operated machine will have to be reprogramed and recalibrated to detect a coin that will have a different weight, specific gravity, and the electromagnetic signature.

Amongst those systems not ready include the London Underground and several major supermarkets.

While watching the news, I found that British supermarkets charge for people to use their trollies, which are called shopping carts on this side of the pond. I do not know if it is a deposit similar to the carts available at the airports, but could you imagine having to pay to use a shopping cart at your local supermarket? I do not think that would go over well in the United States!

Back in October 2016, the Royal Mint published education material and test coins that the coin-operating machine companies could use to test their equipment. Some of these test coins have appeared for sale on websites like eBay. Since then, there have been weekly stories about the new coin and stories have appeared daily in the British media.

Now that the new £1 coin has been released, it will co-circulate with the round pound through October 15, 2017. Banks will only distribute the new £1 coins while stores and other businesses will be allowed to accept either. During that time, it is expected for coin-operated equipment to be converted as soon as possible.

On October 16, 2017, the round pound will be demonetized and lose all legal tender status. Once the round pound loses legal tender status, they may be exchanged at some banks and the Post Office. The plan is to end the exchange of the round pound by March 27, 2018.

For collectors, this is an opportunity to collect something that was once a real circulating coin. The current round pound came into existence in 1971 when the UK transition from the pounds, shillings, and pence (£sd) system based on the power of 12 to a decimal system, called decimalization. Of course, when this happened in 1971 the web did not exist and real paper newspapers were the primary means of spreading the information about the new currency. Based on reports, there were some issues during the one-year transition but there were no stories of tragedies once the new money was issued.

Somewhat like the end of the Canadian cent, this is the end for a significant circulating coin. Except the Canadians did not replace the cent while the British are exchanging coins.

The Trade Dollar

Before you write to me to explain about the Trade Dollar, I know it was demonetized in 1876. However, it gained legal tender status again as part of the Coinage Act of 1965.

For those concerned over proposals that the United States change composition of various coins, including the one-cent coin that costs 1.5-cents to produce, watching how the UK handles the change will provide an insight as to how it might be handled here. Except for one problem: The United States does not demonetize coins (see the note in the box to the right). Every coin produced by the U.S. Mint can be used as legal tender at their face value, although it would be foolish to spend a Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle for its $20 face value since its gold content would be worth more!

It will be interesting to see how stiff those proverbial stiff upper lips hold up during this transition.

All images, videos, and British-style English text courtesy of the Royal Mint.

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