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The Pobjoy Mint Die Marks (or batch codes): A B C D E & F


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The Pobjoy Mint Die Marks A B C D E and F**

Today, we are going to talk about so-called die marks, invented by the Pobjoy mint in 1973 on gold coins and presented on Isle of Man coins. They (the Mint, hereafter) have got the contract in 1972. A little bit background of the Pobjoy family, they had a airmotors company ltd and had strong background of engineering before stepping into this business. This business is very profitable like BBC Archive (2018) said a business without cash flow. According to MacKay (1978, p.63), “the first contract, with a value in excess of £5 million, came from the Bolivian Government, and was soon followed by similar contracts with the governments of the Isle of Man and Senegal.” How profitable is it, let us break it down. If you are familiar with financial sector like hedge fund managers, a rule of 2-20 with a value of £5 million works here, meaning 2% is for asset management fee and 20% of your profit on your asset.

A singular letter, for instance, A or B or C or D or E etc, is only used on precious metals like gold, then expanding on silver. The purpose of carrying a die mark on is to identify the particular die used in striking that coin. Now, let we have a look what singular die marks are, for the purpose of illustration of the die marks seen as follows:

  • Ancient Hiberno-Norse lettering
  • Note: sequences are in alphabetical from A to E. A very special die mark ‘X’ was defaced personally by William Dawson then the Tynwald Treasurer in 1974. Base metals in BU finish grade have double letters in association with the Prefix A, and in proof finish grade also have two letters with the Prefix B. “[p.82]… The dies used in striking proof and uncirculated versions of coins in precious metals have a single letter beginning with B, C, D and so on. The first letter or letters in each group (i.e., AA, BB or B), was used on dies which struck coins on 14th July 1978 only, the First Day of Minting (FDM) (MacKay, 1978).”

At this point, we can understand a singular die mark has no particular meaning but just for coin traces in order for identifying a die used in striking that coin. Most importantly, it is the concept of FDM.

  • D — left from 1978 (£1), right from 1979 (50p, Royal Visit) (Silver)
  • E — left from 1978 (£1), right from 1979 (50p, Royal Visit) (Silver)
  • F — left from 1978 (£1), right from 1979 (50p, Royal Visit) (Silver)
  • Note: £1 silver coins with a letter started in 1978, and it was the first pound coin in British decimalisation system. Given 1975 (50p) and 1976 (50p) in contrast, the two years had BU finish in perspex set only. However, the 1977 (50p) and 1978 (50p) ones were proof finish in velvet set only. The four sets mentioned here had no any die marks due to pre-1979. On the basis of the die marks D, E and F, at first glance, D die coin and E die coin they have a similar proof finish between the £1 coins ([D = E] > F). Secondly, E die coin has the best finish, and the lowest is F die coin among 50p coins where come from the Royal Visit IOM series (E > D > F). At this point, the F die letter it is understood to trace Satin Finish on coins either £1 or 50p.

Later on, to commemorating IOM £1 round coin on a base metal specifically Virenium, a 2-digit letter (BC) was revealed in 1978 as well. Based on information above, it has just been verified that Prefix B is equivalent to proof finish in grade (please see IOM £1 round coin or Die Marks BC article), this is a very solid point. This point also can be understood that a 2-digit letter is used to strike coins on base metals like virenium, copper-nickel (CN). Thirdly, it is understood that the sequence of C has the meaning of commemorative or celebrating by Tynwald.

From £1 coin below, you are able to see a). AA, BB and BC as a set and b). AA, AB, AC and AD as a subset from a).:

  • AA from 1978 (£1) (Virenium, FDM)
    • AA from 1978 (£1) (Virenium, FDM) & AB from 1978 (£1) (Virenium)
    • AC from 1978 (£1) (Virenium) & AD from 1978 (£1) (Virenium)
  • BB from 1978 (£1) (Virenium, FDM)
    • BC from 1978 (£1) (Virenium, Special Commemorative type)

From 50p coin below, you are able to see:

  • AA from 1979 50p coins (FDM)
  • Note: edge lettering noted.

  • AB from 1979 50p coins
  • AC from 1979 50p coins*
  • *Note: left one, it was for New York Show in 1980 and edge lettering noted. You see it right now because they just made this gap to fit in this one. left: library finish & right: prooflike finish.

  • AD from 1979 50p coins
  • Note: edge lettering noted.

Note: a base-metal coin like CN 50p coin associated with die mark started in 1979. But, 1979 it was really important the year to Tynwald. A very interesting point, pictures above show many different finish 50p coins under Prefix A. However, there is no any 50p coins under Prefix B in comparison to £1 coin.

Beyond this point, you are going to see a 2-same-digit die mark coin like BB, DD and AA.

  • 1980 BB — IOM Xmas 50p coin (FDM)
  • Note: a very interesting set of two coins, because carrying the same die mark but different grades in finish. If a lower grade BB coin is considered FDM, what about BB in higher grade? And BC??? Can not see continuity. It is highly likely the Pobjoy own product. At this point, the BA die mark is making more sense now.

  • 1980 DD — IOM Proof set coin (FDM)*
  • *Note:The BB has been used on commercial commemorative coins, the only choice left is to choose the DD. It is understood from citing on Krause book foot note that they declare the BC as diamond finish in grade not the BB or the DD. A question unsolved now what the correlation between the F die letter and No die letter (ND) finish?

  • 1980 AA — IOM currency 50p coin (FDM)

Right now, you can clearly see that a group of 2-digit die marks indicates different finishes like BB, DD and FF have a superb finish in grade. Associated with different die marks, you are able to see different finishes on coins. It is hard to say the correlation among them, but, based on things we have known already, metrics [A, C, E] and [B, D, F] are created.

A C E
B D F

**Reference
BBC Archive (08, Oct 2018), #OnThisDay 1978, [Adapted on 15th, Nov 2018].

MacKay, J.A. (1978), The Pobjoy Encyclopaedia of Isle of Man Coins and Tokens (2nd ed.). Surrey, England: The Pobjoy Mint.


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Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p in 1982 with privy Babycrib


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Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p coin in 1982 with the babycrib privy mark.

It is very interesting to talk about this babycrib privy. Because, 1982 it is the year of birth of future King in the UK. Also, it is only the commemorative coin to celebrate this great moment on British coinage. Normally, the batch code on 1982 50p coins should have done with AA (or similar code), but the code was AC only instead AA (or similar code) and then a small portion of the privy coins was on BU coins and proof coins, of course silver coins as well. The AC die letters is really a sign to let you recall 1979 AC ones as quick as you can.

  • The medallion found only in silver collector sets.

Let we start with AC circulating 50p coins first. If you have a little bit knowledge of die marks (or batch codes) on the Pobjoy Mint coins, you probably notice that the appearance of AC it is really special this year. The die mark of AC we have talked in other article, please find it from Die Marks AC on categories on your right bar. Therefore, this kind of 50p coins with AC are really normal ones.

  • 1982 Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p coin with AC.

Soon later, because the existence (–birth of future King in the UK–) of this important moment, the Mint updated 1982 circulating 50p coins to a very special privy babycrib on BUN coins Proof coins and Silver proof coins.

  • 1982 Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p BU coin with the babaycrib privy.

Therefore, a common 1982 IOM 50p coins has two versions ordinary and special ones. For special ones, they made them on CN with/out a proof finish, and on silver with a proof finish as well.

  • 1982 Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p PF coin with the babycrib privy.
  • 1982 Isle of Man Viking Boat 50p Silver PF coin with the babycrib privy.

Last not least, the stamp issued in 1982 was really beautiful.

  • 1982 Isle of Man stamp.

It seems all happiness stopped there, that smile, and the was-little baby in crib is now expecting a third child in their family. Time flies by fast, but where is the women in that photo?

I spend many words on the Pobjoy Mint in all my blogs. But one day, I realise that I only spend a few words on the Tynwald. I was wrong, because I did not see the relationship between the Tynwald and the Pobjoy Mint. The Pobjoy mint is a minter, and is nothing without any permission from a government. Some good coins produced by the Pobjoy mint on behalf of the government of Isle of Man (the Tynwald) were presenting the relationship between the Tynwald and England. For instance, 1979 50p coins, 1982 50ps and 2012 50ps. I personally encourage you to learn history of IOM, and then you will see more valuable coins made by the Pobjoy mint.


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Isle of Man 50p Coin from 1972 to 2017 and Sequence C under The Prefix A & B


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The sequence C under the Prefix A and/or B

In this short part, it will give you some basic ideas how to interpret AC die marks on IOM 50ps. Each single dye mark not only follows a metric but also is having their own information contained. By the way, a single dye mark is only for precious alloy. It is a period of HONEYMOON between the Tynwald and the Mint that has seen from the die marks invented in 1980s. More importantly, this part only covers 50p CN coins made by the Pobjoy mint from 1972 to the end of March 2017. But sadly, they divorced in March 2017.

  • 1979 Viking boat 50p coin with AC

This AC die marks on 50p coin is the very first signal showing on Isle of Man coinage. It has a very interesting story behind it. The second theme, replica Viking boat, was entirely designed by the Pobjoy mint in 1979. The first theme was revealed in 1976. With regard to coin finish, it is better than BU but less than PF/PL.

  • 1978 IOM £1 coin with BC

This BC die marks on £1 round pound coin is the very first the sequence C shown on Isle of Man coinage. Also, this BC is the very first die marks revealed as well. The year it was 1978 and the 25th anniversary of Q. E. II Coronation.

  • 1980 Xmas 50p coin with BC

This BC die marks on 50p Xmas coin is another story to talk about. First, it is the way how do you understand the letters of BC in the Xmas series, of course, “Before Christ”. They (the Mint) intentionally used the sequence C to celebrating something, but it ended with two BC in the entire series, which are 1980 (BC) and 1981 (BC). 1981 BC can be seen below.

  • 1981 Xmas 50p coins with BC

Instead of AC, BC appeared on Xmas 50p coins in 1980 and 1981. It has two meanings of BC in 1980. One, commemorative coins on b batch coins. It tells the difference between A batch and B batch. It can be understood that they (the Mint) tried to issue two different types of coins for collectors. Two, it also can be understood the meaning of BC as Before Christ. At this point, it is very clear to say that A batch code means circulating commemorative coins, and B batch code means commemorative coins. The BC die letter were noted in 1981, in the same year, a IOM £5 coin was issued. Therefore, the sequence C under the Prefix B means a lot from the perspective of the Mint.

  • 1982 Viking boat 50p coin with AC

This AC was used in 1982, three years later after the first one in 1979, to commemorating the birth of Prince of William, King of the future. In the meanwhile, the babycrib privy (b) appeared instead of AC on proof coins. This confirms somehow the sequence C contains really important information nested. Remember AC is circulating commemorative coins, meaning currency coins on the basis of daily use.

  • 1983 T.T. 50p coin with AC
  • 1983 Xmas 50p coin with AC

This two ACs are really hard to find out especially 1983 TT (AC). Circulating commemorative die marks for this year are AA/AB/AC/AD as same as in 1979 Viking boat. Somehow, it echoes the 4-year window. Is it happened to coin-cide?

In brief, they have one thing in common above coins, really really hard to find them out. In other words, the number of mintage is relatively small. For instance, you can find out loads loads AA coins in circulation. The number of mintage is huge. Therefore, C, at this point, means that it is used to commemorate an great event. If you see AC on 50p coins which tell you that commemorate an event on circulating commemorative 50p coins (ie., AC) or/and on commemorative 50p coins (i.e., BC).