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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.

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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Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p Diamond Finish Coin in 2019

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Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p Coin associated with Die Marks DA and AA

With no exception and surprise, it is time to reveal 2019 Xmas-related 50p coin in base metal. Normally it is about this time every year. This 50p coin comes from Gibraltar, designed and struck by the Pobjoy mint with theme Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. Metal available in silver and gold (please see 2018 ones in terms of metal variety; Note silver is silver proof and silver piedfort proof version this year). Since they (the Mint) took over the contract from the Tower mint in 2017, it has been a little mess about the Gibraltar Xmas series. Generally speaking, it is highly related with stories from the Bible from 1988 to 2003, and but from 2017 to 2019 it is a story all about Father Christmas. At this point, the Royal mint are doing the exactly same thing, Snowman.

From below, you are going to see three different type coins.

1. Currency type, die mark AA

  • 1.1 Version I
  • 1.2 Version II

Between Version I and Version II, the prominent difference is obviously coin finish itself and mirror-field. In Version II, “frosted” Father Christmas can be seen easily. If you look further and scroll down, “frosted” AA has a less quality than “frosted” DA in terms of coin finish. It concludes that Version I coin has no any pre-polished blank used in comparison to Version II, and Version II it has also a better mirror-field than Version I in terms of reflectivity. With regard to die mark AA, it locates at the right side of the horizon and below berries & holly.

2. Diamond finish non-colour-printed in a decoration, die mark DA (instead of ND in 2018)

This DA coin, it is a sign indicating what they are still able to produce, but still a faraway from 1980s products. Also, they create a big room between DA coins and Silver Piedfort coins in terms of margins.

3. Diamond finish colour-printed in a card, die mark DA (instead of ND in 2018)

From above 2 & 3, one thing is clear, mintage for both diamond finish and diamond finish colour-printed coins has only one number, 8,500. They spend almost 40 years figured out this in order. In contrast to mintage of 2018, they agreed to increase 1,000 coins in base metal. Silver proof coin was decreased from 4,500 to 1,500 coins. However, silver proof coin has gone instead of silver proof piedfort coin. A 3rd coin since 2016 is still not able to stay away from the Father Christmas theme. From this point on, silver coins are no longer silver proof version, and are piedfort style (i.e., double silver proof), asking price £99.17 (excl. VAT). However, it is totally wrong market strategy in terms of product variety.

Below it is Table A that summarises Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin from 2017 to 2019.

Table A: Gibraltar Christmas 50p DFCN coin from 2017 to 2019
Year Mintage (base metal) 1st order difference Colour Theme Metal
2019 8,500 1,000 Yes Father Christmas by R Briggs CN, Silver/Silver Piedfort, Gold
2018 7,500 -2,500 Yes Father Christmas by R Briggs CN, Silver, Gold
2017 10,000 Christmas (from 1992) CN

A 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin w/ die mark AA and a 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin w/ die mark DA, they are two totally different coins in terms of coin quality and coin mintage. A Father Christmas 50p coin w/ DA is limited at 8,500 coins, slabbed in a decoration and a card produced by the Pobjoy mint itself. However, A Father Christmas 50p coin w/ AA is absolutely UNLIMITED, partially some in Gibraltar Stamps and Coins FDC.

This year, you probably see die mark DA first time, me as well. But, actually, the prefix D has been using in 1980 Viking 50p on IOM decimal diamond finish coin set, named die mark DD. A new pattern is formed under the prefix D in 2019 which is DD–DA–AA. The new pattern echoes a similar pattern, but from the prefix B (IOM) in between 1988 and 2004, BB–BA–AA. With seeing die mark DA, I believe that it is time to say goodby to die mark BB and the prefix B. Somehow, you can think about it like sort of strike back. At this point, you might feel the existence of die mark DA.

Let we talk back on coin itself. First look, it is better, much better since 2016. You can think this like the divorce resulted in very sad feeling and exhausted in 2017, and take a break and fell better in 2018. Finally, in 2019 it is able to do work. Also, 2019 one is the best so far. In 2019, we hope everything is back on track.

Below, it is a DF non-colour-printed coin, taking out from a decoration. First, eye-appealing is much better (since 2013 onwards). A deep “frosted” effect is there, only on a DA coin. So the coin shows more whitish in colour both two sides. Second, mirror-liked field is easy to see. Last, the portrait on the obverse is a problem. It is slightly rotated at least 1 degree.

  • 2019 Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p DA coin

So far, you have seen 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin in different range of products in base metal.


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Isle of Man Decimal Proof and Diamond Finish Coins 1978 vs. 1980 vs. 1981

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Isle of Man Decimal Proof (PF) and Diamond Finish (DF) Coins 1978 vs. 1980

This topic, it is mainly going to talk about Isle of Man proof decimal coins in base metal pre-1980, for instance, a 1978 proof set. However, it covers 1981 diamond finish decimal coins. The reason of mentioning the 1981 decimal diamond set, obviously, is due to the first £5 (crown-sized) coin in Britain decimalisation system on the island. What is more, a 2017 50p commemorative coin struck at the Tower Mint will be a supportive point to echo this topic.

What had happened in 1978? At least 3 points to say. Firstly, most importantly, it was the year of the 25th Anniversary of Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Secondly, the first £1 round coin issued on the island for the first £1 coin in the British decimalisation system. Last, this proof technique was first showing in base metal coin, 2 years early than the Royal Mint. A 1978 proof set is the very first proof finish standard in base metal in Britain decimal coinage. Back at that time, there was not any proof sets or single coin at the market (e.g., particles, mirror-liked field etc) even the Royal Mint world-class minter had no product to show off, for instance, 1973 UK 50p coin Hands in Hands not struck with a proof finish standard and British decimal set in 1980 onward with a proof finish standard issued. Indeed, the 1978 proof set has enormous numismatic value in terms of collection value.

Above 3-point carried on a 1978 IOM proof set, it is all behind each 1978 proof set. A issue limit is unknown. But based on 1996 IOM silver proof set issue limit, for the purpose of celebrating the 25th decimalisation on the island, 1996 silver sets were produced, say 25–1996. Let we make a guess on 1978 issue limit, it could be like say 25–1978. However, it somehow has the base of 25. Therefore, a issue limit is between 25 (i.e., min.) and 1978 (i.e., max.). At this point, we conclude that the 1978 decimal CN proof set indicates that the closest relationship between the Tynwald government and British Monarch.

  • 1978 Isle of Man Proof Decimal 8 Coins, mintage unknown

The 1978 proof set contains coins from 1/2d (the smallest value coin) up to Crown, 8-coin with a Pobjoy Mint medallion. The most interesting thing is virenium £1 coin within the set. Also this Pound coin makes a huge achievement in Britain decimalisation history–the very 1st Pound coin, considering Great Britain Pound coin issued in 1983. The 1978 proof set issue limit is unknown, this is very typically and mysteriously things they love to do. I personally would say it is 1,000 sets (or less, this would be dependent on the demand variable and the proof set popularity variable in 1978). Why is 1,000 sets? Please see 1981 Diamond Finish decimal 8-coin with £5 and 1972-74 decimal 6-coin, they are all 1,000 sets each.

It is said that they (the Pobjoy mint) upgraded their machinery in 1980 and declared Diamond Finish (DF) Standard for a higher standard finish to collector at same year. Actually, DF is highly likely a prooflike finish (see 2017 the Treasure of Isle of Man, “press once on pre-polished blank”), lower than proof finish standard in terms of grade. See supportive evidence that 2017 Isle of Man House of keys 50p proof coin. Tynwald did not allow their new staff IOM post office (used to be the Pobjoy mint job) sell and advertise 50p “proof” coin instead a letter from the Treasure cancelling wording “proof”, but coins were actually struck at a proof standard by their new minter the Tower mint. Here it is another story untold.

Next, it is 1980 diamond decimal set.

  • 1980 Isle of Man Diamond Decimal 7 Coins, limited at 25,000 sets

You probably notice that coin grade between 1978 and 1980 is totally different. This is the significant difference between the two decimal sets in terms of coin finish standard. It is probably the reason they declared the diamond finish in 1980. The 1978 decimal set coin was struck at level of proof finish standard, however the 1980 set coin was only a diamond finish standard (i.e., prooflike finish). Also, the 1980 set had no crown sized coin with it. This might be a clue directing that a new higher nominal face value coin would be born in 1981? The DD batch code/die mark was shown on the 50p CN coin and BB on £1 coin in 1980. The prefix B and prefix D assigned on decimal diamond finish sets have had a stir internally, but finally the prefix B was the winner (please see IOM Xmas 50p diamond finish BC coin (1980/1981) and/or Gibraltar Xmas 50p DA coin (2019)). As you can see above, the 1978 50p proof coin has no die mark on (ND). Later soon, a 50p coin of a 1984 Decimal diamond finish set is ND as well. However, the first Xmas 50p coin with ND was struck in 1994 Wren hunt. At this moment, it has no any evidence indicating the relationship between a 50p proof coin w/ ND and a 50p proolike coin w/ ND. But array of the years, 1984 & 1994 and 1987 & 1997, are another things to look into.

Finally, 1981 diamond decimal set comes to an end of this topic.

  • 1981 Isle of Man Diamond Decimal 8 Coins, limited at 1,000 sets

The year 1981, it had two different decimal sets, 7 coins without £5 crown-sized coin limited at 25,000 sets and 8 coins with £5 crown-sized coin limited at 1,000 sets. Eventually, it had a total of 26,000 sets. Oooohh, wait, 1,000 sets for 8-coin set, the no. 1,000 echoes a). 1,000 sets of 1972/73/74 decimal UNC 6-coin respectively and b). 1000 years of Tynwald 1979, the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Therefore, it concludes that the mintage of 1978 decimal proof set it was highly likely to set at 1,000. How many sets sold in the past, nobody knew.