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The Pobjoy Mint Die Mark (Single) A/B/C/D/E in 1973


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The Pobjoy Mint Die Mark (Single) A/B/C/D/E in 1973

I have talked a little bit on the topic of die mark AC in the past, catching it up you can click on Die Marks AC under All Categories on your right panel. Today, let we talk about single die mark, and the start of all die mark variants.

It all begun on sovereigns gold coins in 1973. In the year 1973, the Pobjoy mint were commissioned to mint sovereigns from half to five sovereigns on behalf of the government of Isle of Man. Also, it was the time to see the birth of die mark (single) A/B/C/D/E from a private mint in the post-decimal era in the UK. A special die mark X was created in 1973 and die mark F in 1979. In the meantime, the letters of PM were well-established as the Pobjoy Mint’s mintmark.

According to MacKay (1978, p.51), a single letter like A/B/C/D/E was stamped on IOM sovereigns from half to Five in 1973, and each letter indicated the numbers of coins struck from each die. However, the author has not put more information about the difference among dies, or gave explanation on reasons behind using different dies. Most importantly, this book was published by the Pobjoy Mint.

In terms of a single letter,
Precious metal, (–0)*, single die mark like: A, B, C, D & E, X (only 1973 gold metal, MacKay (1978, p.52)) and F (1979 silver metal);
Man-made metal, (–1)*, 2-digit die mark like AA/AB/AC/AD and BB/BC on 1978 £1 Virenium coin;
Base metal, (–2)*, 2-digit die mark like: AA/AB/AC/AD/AE(?)/AF(?) under the Prefix A, and BB/BC/BD/BE/BF and BA (1988 50p Xmas coin) under the Prefix B** on 1979 50p CN coin.
The difference among above like 2^0(=1) and 2^1(=2, two different finish standards) and 2^2 (=4, Tynwald Hill, a 4-tiered hill). The base 2 comes from a coin having two sides.
The meaning of 2-digit die mark represents the First Day of Minting (FDM) like AA and BB in base metal, B in precious metal.
*Note: considers as position in line.
**Note: AE, AF, BE and BF were only appeared on circulating commemorative coins like IOM Xmas 50p coin, and not on circulating coins. DD was spotted on 1980 circulating coins. Also, the Prefix B indicates a (at least) prooflike or proof finish standard. This source comes from 50p coins.

Having said above, it is easy to direct how to collect IOM Xmas 50p coin and IOM T.T. 50p coin in terms of die mark. In general, coins in loose condition, die marks AA and BB both from circulating commemorative coins are the most common ones but AA with BU striking techniques and BB with Diamond Finish striking techniques. Years like 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 until 1985 it is hard to decide which direction you are going to, because there is 4 (at least) variants from the Prefix A and the Prefix B and later after post-1997, down to AA/BB (or ND).

Some special IOM/T.T. 50p ones without provenance at the moment, like:

  1. 1980 IOM Xmas,
  2. it has BB/BC/BD/BE/BF & BF mule plus two different versions under die letters BB–BB w/ mirror-liked field and BB w/o mirror-liked field, and AA/AB/AC/AD/AE(?)/AF(?). Mistakes noted! Very new product from the perspective of the Mint alongside circulating coins. Official announcement of BC as diamond finish in Krause book (KM#).

  3. 1981 IOM Xmas XX,
  4. this one is possibly linked to 1973 sovereign with die mark X. It has BB and BC under the Prefix B this year. In the same year, IOM T.T. was minted. Mistake noted! New product from the perspective of the Mint alongside circulating coins.

  5. 1983 IOM T.T. AC,
  6. it has AA/AB/AC/AD and BB.

  7. 1988 IOM Xmas BA,
  8. this one indicates that BA coin finish standard is between AA and BB. The BB die marks indicate proof finish, and the AA die marks stand for standard finish. Somehow it echoes 1980 BB w/o mirror-liked field in terms of striking quality.

  9. In 1994 IOM Xmas ND,
  10. Striking techniques are totally different.

  11. 2005 IOM Xmas AA,
  12. is shiny like a glass cup.

  13. 2011 IOM Xmas AA,
  14. and ND are only two grades in Xmas series. BB die marks has dropped out since 2004 onwards.

Let us talk about the AC and AD die marks once again here. It has been talking many times in the past, but here it definitively gives you the best picture you can see. Also, you can find them from Die Marks AC/ AD under Categories on your right panel. The AD die mark was established alongside with the AC die mark in 1978 for the purpose of celebrating the first £1 pound coin in British decimal coinage history. The standard finish (i.e., UNC finish) was used on £1 IOM virenium coin from sequence of A to D under the Prefix A. In the year 1979, it only had the AA/AB/AC die marks on £1 virenium coin. However, the AD die mark was spotted on 1979 IOM 50p coin. Most surprisingly, this year 50p coin finish on the AA/AB/AC/AD die marks was significant different, and each die mark had two variants (note, another 1979 AC from 1980 AC). Probably, all steps above were included in the “1972 workable proposal” submitted in 1972 by Mr. D. Pobjoy.

Have you noticed that the AD die mark was shifted from £1 down to 50p? This obviously echoes the Millennium AD event and the Royal visit event in 1979.

It was a amazing story told by the different die marks, but sadly, it had no any official record of them to trace or search. Probably, it is the best disadvantage of collecting IOM post-decimal coin.

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

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The Pobjoy Mint Die Mark (or batch code) A/B/C/D/E/F in 1978 onwards


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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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