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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.


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 Christmas Fifty Pence Coins with sequence C under the Prefix B

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BC Die Letters on Fifty Pence coins in the IOM Xmas Series, and AC & BC are correlated each other.

The BC die letters are very interesting to talk about. Before we go further, I would like to introduce the very first BC die letters on £1 pound coins in 1978. It is only the provenance of the BC letters.

1978 BC

IOM £1 round coin was issued in 1978, it was 5 years earlier than the Royal Mint the UK first £1 round coin in 1983. It is fascinating. The IOM £1 coin reverse design is three legs over the island and bears 2nd portrait of Queen Elizabeth II sculptured by A. Machin RA on its obverse. Meanwhile, 1978 it was the 25th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. Therefore, it is not hard to cipher the sequence C which is a way to represent Tynwald respect on this special occasion. Also, the Prefix B it means at least a prooflike finish and/or a collector’s coin.

1980 BC

1980 BC, the Mint claimed as a Diamond Finish in the KM# reference book. But it can be understood as grade, or as Before Christ. Remember the Xmas series is modern products in numismatic world related to the Holy Bible.

1981 BC

1981 the BC die letters are noted as well. It is more likely to celebrating the first £5 pound coins in 1981.

You have seen many BC die letters in 1978, 1980 and 1981.So how do you understand the BC die letters in general? Generally speaking, a sequence of C under the Prefix B is noted. A sequence could be up to F from A, and the Prefix B means a proof finish. Therefore, the BC die letters in 1978. The BC die letters can be found from a 1978 £1 pound coin. Also, a £1 proof coin is only found in proof sets. This comes down the sequence of C means commemorating the £1 coins from the perspective of the Mint and Tynwald. Remember £1 pound coins in 1978 were the first £1 coin in the world.

Moreover, a sequence of C under the Prefix B was noted in the Xmas series in 1980. Of course, it is a glory for the Mint whom invented the theme in the numismatic world. Also they need a permission from Tynwald, and actually Tynwald approved it. Because the Xmas Fifty pence coins can form a part of incomes for a such island revenue. The Mint claimed the BC die letters were a diamond finish. It is not hard to understand the term of diamond from the perspective of the Mint, the founder of the Mint has the background of jewellery like diamond cut. It means Before Christ also from the perspective of the Mint whilst the B & C on the Xmas series are shown together. Because the Xmas series is a product invented by the Mint, and they assigned a life inside the product. So it is amazing. The Mint mark in 2000 was PMM, and a M is equal to 1000 years. They know what they were doing in 1980. After 2004, they are just like a boat lost in the sea only powered by a wind.

Last, a sequence of C under the Prefix B was noted in the Xmas series in 1981 as well. But do you know that they issued £5 coin on behalf of the government of the Isle of Man this year. The £5 coins were the world first. It is a glory again. Also, in England, it was the year Royal Wedding happened, a knot tied up between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Actually, it was caused by the BB die letters noted in 1980 as well, the sequence of C was meaningful internally and hard to find out under the Prefix A and B, and the BC die letters can not be disappeared suddenly. Because they claimed the BC die letters are as diamond finish coins. So then they used the BC die letters in 1981 again. However, the BC die letters have died eternally since then. During this period before 1991, the treasurer was William Dawson.

Therefore, it comes down to the meaning of die letters on 50p coins made in 1980s. The first letter (i.e., BC), B, refers a at least prooflike grade or beyond, and the second letter C of the BC, has a internal meaning to celebrate or commemorate a great event related to IOM. Extra info, DD die letters on 1980 Viking boat 50p coins. The single D letter is only used on silver coins with proof grade. So the DD means proof grade over proof grade (or double proof) on Cu-Ni coins. In other words, the Mint in 1980s had tried lots of ways to strike coins in order to present to collectors. At least, the first Mint Master shared this moment with collectors whom currently hold the DD die letter coins.

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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).