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Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (T.T.) 50p Standard Finish and Diamond Finish Coins from 1981 to 2016


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Isle of Man Tourist Trophy 50p Diamond Finish and Standard Finish Coin



First of all, this topic is all about circulating and/or circulating commemorative 50p cupronickel (i.e. metal, silver in colour; 75:25 copper to nickel ratio) coins from the Isle of Man especially the Tourist Trophy (i.e., T.T.) events on the island. More clearly, we are going to split this chapter into two subparts. One part it is about to talk standard finish 50p coin. Another part it directs us to diamond finish 50p coin. Meanwhile, you can find out what are so-called a “diamond finish” 50p coin. All then-standard 50p coins and diamond 50p coins are solely minted by the British Pobjoy Mint® which is a private limited company (hereafter the Mint or PM) on behalf of the government of the Isle of Man (Tynwald, note Tynwald you need to see Viking Boats 50ps article) from 1981 to 2016.

Normally, a standard finish 50p coin is produced for the purpose of daily use on the island with one strike that gives a complete finish. This is why Manx collectors easily find 50p coin through their daily life. All standard finish 50p coins are most minted associated with “AA” on its reverse (note AA originally called the production batch codes). For some particular cases, it may appear “AB”/”AC”/”AD” under the A batch (or Prefix A) in the T.T. series. Other single die mark like B, C, D (or E or F) represents precious metals. But, collectors call them as die marks (or die letters, interchangeable). They are definitely meant some information internally. Sadly, we can tell you nothing at the moment. Based on my experience, I can tell die letters may indicate many different types of mirrors associated with different striking pressures, times of striking, etc. Why do we see such difference of the die letters among coins? It is a good point to raise. However, it never ever concludes a convincible answer, even from the Mint itself. If you like, spend more time on googling them.

Diamond finish 50p coins are specially created by the Mint for the purpose of producing higher standard quality on commemorative coins to serious collectors. The concept of “diamond finish” was invented by the Mint in early 1980s (note I personally think the term was derived from “diamond cut”, because the first mint-master has very strong background of jewellery). What is a coin with a “diamond finish”? In terms of a diamond finish, it is highly likely ProofLike (i.e., PL) coin (e.g., 1980 IOM Xmas 50p BC coins). More information related to PL can be seen below. Bearing in mind that all diamond finish 50p coins come with die letters “BB” on reverse and a cert (e.g., it includes IOM T.T./IOM Xmas/some IOM Viking boats). Interestingly, some diamond 50p coins in the T.T series come with NO “BB” when minted in late 1990s onwards. The techniques (for instance, matte mirror, reflectivity etc) used on diamond 50p coins are very detailed and enjoyable when you look at it. Because the mirrored-field and/or mirror-liked field has higher reflectivity better than a standard 50p coin but slightly lower than any base metal proof coins made by the Mint. Last, all T.T. 50p coins you are going to see within this chapter are made of cupronickel (Copper-3/4, Nickel-1/4 and appears silver in colour).

“Prooflike (PL) coins appear to look like proof coins but in reality have not been produced using the special proof process. This may include mirrored fields and cameo devices. The scale donates the proper designation for the coin, based on reflectivity, 2 to 4 inches of reflectivity; devices must be frosted.” 2 elements of prooflike coin: polished blanks are used to strike coins, and no proof dies used for mirror-liked field and frosted relief.
– pcgs.com

“For instance, PCGS notes that Prooflike Morgan dollars require ‘clear reflection in the fields on both sides from 2-4 inches away.’ The grading company states that a hazy effect or streaks may impede the reflectivity, generally indicating a semi-prooflike condition (which does not appear on the PCGS label).”
– pcgs.com

Having said above, it is time to reveal what the T.T. 50p coins look like now. In this part below, it contains two parts. Part I: it is the pre-1997 section (i.e., 1969 to 1997 echoes British coinage changes, 50p coins were 30.00mm in diameter and 13.50g in weight) and Part II: it is the post-1997 section (i.e., 1997 to date, 50p coins are resized to 27.30mm in diameter and 8.00g in weight).

Part I
In total, six T.T. 50p coins exist before 1997. They are: four T.T. 50p coins from 1981 to 1984) plus two T.T. related (ie., TTF1) 50p coins between 1996 and 1997 (note, by 30.00mm in diameter therefore, 6 in total, or by 27.30mm in diameter it is 7 in total. It all depends on how you count them really). More details for each coin are as follows:

  1. 1981 T.T. commemorates 1980 winner–Joey Dunlop & Yamaha motor. Mintage 100,000 standard finish coins (AA/AB) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  2. 1982 T.T. commemorates 1981 winner–Mike Grant & Suzuki motor. Mintage 100,000 (assumed) standard finish coins (AA) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  3. 1983 T.T. commemorates 1982 winner–Ron Haslam & Honda motor. Mintage 100,000 standard finish coins (AA/AB/AC/AD) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  4. 1984 T.T. commemorates the Sidecar T.T. nine times winner–Mike Boddice. Mintage 100,000 (assumed) standard finish coins (AA) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  5. 1996 commemorates Philip McCallen Great achievement in 1996. Unknown mintage for both standard finish coins (AA) & diamond finish coins (NO die letters).
  6. 1997 commemorates Philip McCallen Great achievement in 1996. Unknown mintage for standard finish coins (AA, 30mm in diameter).
  7. 1997 commemorates Philip McCallen Great achievement in 1996. Unknown mintage for standard finish coins (AA, 27.30mm in diameter).

More specifically, 1981 Joey Dunlop
1981 T.T. 50p coin in pictures,
Note
Obverse designer A. Machin
Machine: Yamaha (747)
TT on top of the reverse
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA) and commemorative issue (BB)

  • 1981 TT 50p Diamond Finish BB coin w/o error
  • 1981 TT 50p standard finish AA coin w/ error
  • 1981 TT 50p standard finish AB coin w/ error
  • 1981 TT 50p standard finish AB coin
  • Variation on 1981 Misspelling Error Coins, Note “RACING” only on AB die mark and BB die mark coins. However, it makes a controversial point between AA die mark and BB die mark in terms of FDM. If no any controversy involved, BB die mark lost the FDM function on IOM TT 50p DF coin, and BB die mark only left with meaning of a diamond finish.

It is clearly seeing that the Mint really made a mistake when they produced 50ps of first the T.T. theme in 1981 as seen from pictures below. But they did not fully realise the “spelling” was a issue seriously, and not negotiate properly before striking the first T.T. collection 50p coin. As you can see from pictures below, a small “hump” was use to cover up the first three REA of REARACING (the letters was originally supposed to be “REARACING”). It is very unclear that this hump was done by intension or dispute or economic situation in 1981. But having seen the small hump from pictures below, it really tells people that the Mint made it by intension for sure. This “accident” it is easy to remind collectors WHY did not they correct and recall and re-create a correct reverse die for a commemorative 50p in 1981? However, this mistake will last forever once collectors well noticed this significant difference. A real story behind bar nobody could tell and answer presumably.

1982 Mike Grant
Note
Obverse designer A. Machin
Machine: Suzuki (500)
TT on top of the reverse
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA) and commemorative issue (BB)

  • 1982 TT 50p Diamond Finish BB Coin
  • 1982 TT 50p standard finish AA coin

1983 Ron Haslam
Note
Obverse designer A. Machin
Machine: Honda
TT on top of the reverse
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA) and commemorative issue (BB)

  • 1983 TT 50p Diamond Finish BB Coin
  • 1983 TT 50p standard finish AA coin
  • 1983 TT 50p standard finish AB coin
  • 1983 TT 50p standard finish AC coin
  • 1983 TT 50p standard finish AD coin

1984 Mike Boddice
Note
Obverse designer R. Maklouf
Machine: Yamaha
TT on top of the reverse
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA) and commemorative issue (BB)

  • 1984 TT 50p Diamond Finish BB Coin
  • 1984 TT 50p standard finish AA coin

1996 Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies
Note
Obverse designer R. Maklouf
Why this one is related to T.T. (but for TTF1), you then have to understand first what is w privy noted in 1985. Because of the world-class famous T.T. events to Tynwald.
25th Anniversary of decimalisation in the Isle of Man.
NO T.T. logo.
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA) and commemorative issue (ND)

  • 1996 50p diamond finish No die letters coin (PL, UNC)
  • 1996 50p standard finish AA coin (no mirrored-field, circulated)
  • 1996 50p standard finish AA coin from decimal mint set (UNC)
  • 1996 50p (likely) diamond finish AA coin (aUNC)
  • 1996 50p (most likely) diamond finish AA coin (semi-PL, mirrored-field, aUNC)
  • Extra: 1996 50p silver proof coin

1997 Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies
Note
Obverse designer R. Maklouf
Why this one is related to T.T. (but for TTF1), see note in 1996 above.
Echo UK coinage changes in resizing 50p coins in 1997.
NO T.T. logo
Circulating Commemorative issue (AA, 27.30mm in diameter) and commemorative issue (AA, 30.00mm in diameter)

  • 1997 50p standard finish AA coin (30.00mm in diameter)–a real collector coin
  • 1997 50p standard finish AA coin circulated (27.30mm in diameter)
  • 1997 AA standard finish 50p coin uncirculated (27.30mm in diameter)

From 1996 to 1999, the reverse was all about Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies (riders of the Formula One TT, TTF1). Also, during the period of 1996 to 1999, the Formula One T.T. theme 50ps coins were issued as circulating coins on the island. But all circulating coins were in a circle of 4-year window (see Viking Boats 50p part). Mintage figures assumed were around 6,000 coins (or less) each year. The one of the riders on reverse, Philip McCallen, became the first-and only-rider to win FOUR races in one week in 1996 T.T.–the Formula One T.T., Junior T.T., Production T.T. and Senior T.T. and almost made it for five races in Lightweight T.T.. His name was in the T.T. history book in 1996 as well. Motor machine maker was HONDA.

Part II
Information beyond this point, they are all about T.T. 50p smaller-sized coins and T.T. related coins after/(within) the period of 1997. In other words, the diameter of all 50p coins in 1997 afterwards is 27.30mm & 8.00g in weight. All diamond finish coins may come cross in this chapter. But it will be around the corner somewhere in this chapter.

If you are keen to collect IOM 50p coins, the themes on IOM 50ps circulating area coins you may have noticed are as follows:

  • 1971 to 1987 “Viking Boats/Long Boats” were struck (by the Royal Mint in 1971, the rest started from 1972 onwards to 03/2017 by the Pobjoy Mint) on 50p coins, regular issue coinage;
  • And, 1988 to 1995 “Computer Technology, PC” on 50p coins, regular issue coinage;
  • Moreover, 1996 to 1999 “Philip McCallen”, regular issue coinage;
  • And then, 2000 to 2003 “Pre-Norse Carved Cross”, regular issue coinage;
  • Last 2004 to Present “Milner’s Tower”, regular issue coinage.
  • Since 04/2017, the Tower Mint was pointed as IOM solo minter over the Pobjoy Mint.

All above stated coinages were regular issue coins and no any time gap(s) created and overlapped among 50p coin themes from 1971 to 2003 and even 1972/73/74 50ps. Note the 1972s, 1973s and 1974s were minted in 1975 for the purpose of continuity (i.e., 1972-1973-1974-1975 BU grade, 1971-1972-1973-1974 Proof grade by then). Obviously, this logic it is strongly connected before and after. Considering public information gathered, it tells us that all the 50p coins were followed by one simple rule “consistency” in time order Year by Year. However, ONLY the 1997 large-sized Philip McCallen 50p coin was overlapped between two different sizes in diameter but has the same reverse in IOM decimalisation system. It is more likely to commemorate and distinguish pre-1997 & post-1997 decimal eras on the island. Ahh, yes! It has one single commemorative 50p coin made in 1994, the Legislative Building. Moreover, the Xmas theme was started from 1980 till 2016. But this bit belongs to Xmas commemorative coin part. Dont forget to check that out! We will not reveal any info this chapter.

1998 & 1999, Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies
Note
Obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (except R. Maklouf (1997) )
Why this one is related to T.T. (for TTF1), see note in 1996 above.
NO TT logo noted.
Currency coin (AA) and Circulating commemorative issue

  • 1998 50p standard finish AA coin
  • 1999 50p standard finish AA coin

1999 “Commemorative” coin, Yes or No??!!
In 1949, Isle of Man T.T. races became part of FIM Road Racing World Championship. In 1999, Isle of Man T.T. races celebrates its 50th anniversary and commemorates rider Robert “Les” Graham riding with 500cc AJS “Porcupine”. Whether this coin is a commemorative coin or not, it seems to people that it is not easy to answer it. If you consider a fact that regular issue coinage is in place alongside 1999 50p ones, so this type of 50p coin is a commemorative coin automatically, a very rare commemorative coin.

1999 “T.T.-related Commemorative” 50p coin
Note
Obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
NO T.T. logo
IOM T.T. races became part of FIM ROAD RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX held since 1949 in the Isle of Man (the 50th Anni.)
Commemorative issue

  • 1999 50p diamond finish AA coin (made in 1990s from a FDC cover)
  • 1999 50p diamond finish AA coin (made in 2010s from the Mint direct)
  • A Comparison of the AA die marks above

2004 The Trophy
Note
Obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB),
The TT logo next to the trophy
Circulating commemorative issue

  • 2004 TT 50p standard finish AA coin (i.e., UNcirculated)
  • 2004 TT 50p standard finish AA coin (i.e., circulated)

2007 The Trophy and Sidecar
In this year, two 50ps exist, and both to celebrate the 100th Anni. of The T.T. on island.
Note
Either the trophy or sidecar obverses designers I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
the trophy as exact SAME as the 2004 one
sidecar noted “100 YEARS”
T.T. logo both noted.
Circulating commemorative issue (AA).

>>2007 Type I: the Trophy

  • 2007 TT 50p diamond finish ND Coin, the Trophy
  • 2007 TT 50p standard finish AA coin

>>2007 Type II: sidecar

  • 2007 TT 50p diamond finish ND Coin, Sidecar
  • 2007 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, Sidecar

2009 Honda at T.T. 50 years
Note
Obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
Honda logo & TT logo noted.
Circulating commemorative (AA) issue and commemorative (ND) issue

  • 2009 TT 50p diamond finish ND coin, Honda at TT 50 years
  • 2009 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, Honda at TT 50 years

2010 Suzuki at T.T. 50 years
Note
Obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
TT logo noted
50 years of racing from 1960 to 2010 noted
Circulating Commemorative (AA) issue and commemorative (ND) issue

  • 2010 TT 50p diamond finish ND Coin, Suzuki racing at T.T. 50 years
  • 2010 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, Suzuki racing at T.T. 50 years

2011 Yamaha at T.T. 50 years
Note
obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
TT logo noted
Circulating Commemorative (AA) issue which only one variety exits.

  • 2011 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, 50 years of Yamaha at the T.T. (high grade)
  • 2011 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, 50 years of Yamaha at the T.T. (low grade)

2012 Enduro Motorcycle
Note
“Enduro Motorcycle” noted
obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
Motor cross (off-road racing)
Rider David Knight (IOM)
3-event held in the UK 2012 are as follows:

  • a). 2012 the Olympic Games held in London UK 2012 (Cyclist From IOM).
  • b). the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012 (Queen Victoria celebrated in 1897).
  • c). Great sport events related to IOM (Motor racing famous around the islands).

Circulating commemorative (AA) issue

  • 2012 50p diamond finish ND coin, Enduro Motorcycle
  • 2012 50p standard finish AA coin, Enduro Motorcycle

2014 John McGuinness with 20 T.T. wins
Note
obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
T.T. logo noted
Circulating Commemorative (AA) issue

  • 2014 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, John McGuinness with 20 T.T. wins

2015 T.T. the legends
Note
TT logo noted
New theme called T.T. the Legends
obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
Circulating Commemorative (AA) issue
the last one bearing the 4th portrait of Q.E on IOM commemorative coinage.

  • 2015 TT 50p diamond finish ND coin, T.T. the legends
  • 2015 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, T.T. the legends
  • 2015 TT 50p standard finish AB coin, T.T. the legends

2016 T.T. the legends
Note
T.T. logo noted.
The New portrait made by PM in place, echoing UK coinage changing.
PM is beneath bust back on obverse.
Circulating commemorative (AA) issue
The last one in series and like the last one of Xmas

  • 2016 TT 50p standard finish AA coin, T.T. the legends

You have seen IOM T.T. 50p coins that all are on the market through picture by picture above. No any precious coins are covered here I am afraid. This is because there is no particular value you after only mintage number. Considering the fact that circulating coin is well in place and circulating commemorative coin follows suit for the TT series for the period of 1981 to 2016, it concludes that the AA die mark is a basic point for the 50p coins struck by the Pobjoy mint after permission of the IOM government from 1975 to 2016. Coins like no die mark (indirect) or a prooflike finish (direct) are more sought-after from the IOM. A 50p coin with NO die mark is the one from 1996, and a 50p coin with a particular die mark definitely goes for 1983 (AC). Yes, the two coins mentioned have great value contained but still undervalued.

#End


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