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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.


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Colour-printed Fifty Pence Coin: IOM The Snowman and Billy (2014) vs. UK Peter Rabbit (2016)

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UK Colour-printed 50p coins in silver and in base metal by the Pobjoy Mint* and only in silver by the Royal Mint*

First of all, it is background of two Fifty pence coins we will talk about one of the Snowman series and Peter Rabbit. The Snowman and Billy was produced by the Pobjoy Mint in 2014, and Peter Rabbit was produced by the Royal Mint in 2016. It is very very interesting to talk about this topic. Because there is NO a 2015 IOM Xmas 50p existed. This is the gap the PM left it open to the RM. Moreover, it is 13(=2016-2003) years ago, the PM implied colour-printed technique on 50p coins, but the RM took the colour-printed path on 50p coins only in 2016. Note the RM first implication of colour-printed version was noted on £2 coins in silver, precisely silver piedfort, in 2002. We will compare Fifty pence coins in silver first and then in base metal next. In terms of UK, it refers to the producers whom are based in the United Kingdom.

First round, it is about time. The Snowman first appearance, the Snowman and James, was on IOM Xmas 50p coins in 2003 to celebrate the Snowman animation alive for 25 years since 1978. Peter Rabbit first appearance was in 1993 on Gibraltar Crown coins to celebrate the 100 years of Peter Rabbit. Interestingly, either Gibraltar coins or Gibraltar Crown coins all are produced by the PM at the time. Then Peter Rabbit was introduced to collectors on 50p coins in 2016 in order for celebrating the 150 anniversary of Beatrix Potter under the subject of “the Tale of Peter Rabbit” derived from Beatrix Potter’s 23 little tales. Right now, a bit confusion gets my attention, which is between 1893(=1993-100) and 1866(=2016-150). From the numbers 1893 and 1866, you can clearly see how the Mints’ thoughts for avoiding overlapped things, and how to get into this market firmly by any chance. The 2014 Snowman is sort of the 2nd one in the Xmas series and the 2016 Peter Rabbit is sort of the first one in series.

  • 2014 The Snowman and Billy 50p coin in silver, struck at the Pobjoy Mint.
  • 2016 The Peter Rabbit 50p coin in silver, struck at the Royal Mint.

But this round, we look at the two coins from package outside. The Snowman one reminds me PM made certs for this kind just like infinite back to square 1. The Peter Rabbit one looks like a gift. The RM have changed their concept in this industry towards to a luxury gifting industry since 2008 probably.

  • Outside package for the two coins.
Coin Specification
The Snowman 2014 Peter Rabbit 2016
Basic data: 50p in denomination & 8.00g in weight & 27.30mm in diameter
Alloy: Sterling Silver (.9250, PM) Alloy: Sterling Silver (.9250, RM)
Quality: Proof (by the PM) Quality: Proof (by the RM)
Mintage: limited @ 5,000 Mintage: Limited @ 15,000
Note: Copper-Nickel plain & colour-printed Note: Copper-Nickel plain
None Initials for the reverse and obverse designers

One more round, we look further at ones in base metal. This is a key part to see how the two mints compete in this market. The PM know very clearly what target customs are, so they issue limited colour-printed version along with plain ones. However, the RM only focus on precious metals and only do colour-printed version in silver. A interesting finding is the issue limit of 7,500. The Beatrix Potter 50p plain coins are limited @ 7,500 and the rest of colour-printed version is limited @ 15,000 in 2016 and but the 2017 ones is lift to 30,000 coins. 7500 x 20 = 7500, 7500 x 22-1, 30000 = 7500 x 23-1 (7500 x 2n-1, n=1,2,3,…; 7500 = 150 x 50). The Falkland Islands Penguin 50p ones is limited at @ 7,500 in base metal only. The two echoes each other but in different metals in 2017.

  • The Snowman and Billy 2014 50p coin from carded version, limited @ 30K for this kind.
  • The Snowman and Billy 2014 50p colour-printed, including issue limit above.
  • Peter Rabbit 2016 50p coin from carded version, limited @ 9.6M for this kind.

From pictures shown above, the Snowman is minted with a prooflike (PL) finish, but the Peter Rabbit is only an Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) finish.

Business is Business, you have to work harder to get your shares in this red blood market. The “alternations or arguments” in 2015 created a big gap for a strong rival competitor to get in this market. Once you get into the gap, it is your success. But you can not forget one thing the two mints know each other well. In other words, inside information somehow appears. I still remember how hard did I get one Peter Rabbit in Feb 2016. My order was placed in afternoon when I started to login my account on the royal mint website in the morning. I could not stop refreshing my website like a robot. This simply reminds me how did I play video games. The RM somehow need update their bandwidth at peak time. Are collectors going to wait all 23 tales? If this is a Yes, probably the RM will handle the opportunity to others.

Last round, it is an extra part to show the Peter Rabbit Crown coins issued on behalf of the government of Gibraltar in 1993.

  • 100 Years of Peter Rabbit Crown Coins issued for Gibraltar.

*Mint Names Follow in Alphabetic Order.


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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.

  • 1978 IOM £1 coin with BC
  • This BC die marks on £1 round virenium pound coin is the very first the sequence C shown on Isle of Man decimal coinage. Also, this BC is the very first die marks revealed under the Prefix B as well. In 1978, it was the 25th anniversary of Q. E. II Coronation. Note, the AC (a year after) and BC (two years late) die marks were both shifted on 50p coin in terms of denomination/face value.

  • 1979 Viking boat 50p coin with AC
  • This AC die mark on 50p coin is the very first signal that bears on Isle of Man decimal coinage. It has a very interesting story behind it. The second circulating coin theme, replica Viking boat, was entirely designed and used by the Pobjoy mint only once in 1979. The first circulating coin theme was revealed in 1976. With regard to this AC coin finish, it is better than BU but less than PF/PL.

  • 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 on coins mentioned above, really really hard to find them out. In other words, the number of mintage is relatively small. Moreover, it is different in terms of coin grade for instance, the 1979 Viking boat AC die mark, the 1982 Viking boat AC die mark and the 1983 Xmas/TT AC die mark. In general, you can find out loads loads of AA coins in contrast in circulation. The number of mintage is huge. Therefore, C, at this point, means that it is used to commemorate an “great” event (internally). If you see the AC die mark on 50p coins which tell you that an event is bearing on circulating commemorative 50p coins (ie., AC) or/and on commemorative 50p coins (i.e., BC) this year. What sort of event was celebrating, perhaps, you have to do your own research.