Posted on Leave a comment

Isle of Man Christmas Fifty Pence Coin with BA Die Mark


Published on

Last Updated on:




In this part, we keep our focus on die marks of the AA and the BA in the Xmas series over the period of 1985 to 2016 especially the years 1988, 2004 and 2016. In depth, we talk over three cases on the purpose of illustration of the meaning and existence of the BA die marks. The three cases are 1988 (BA), 2004 (BA) and 2016 (BA), and named Case I, Case II and Case III respectively. For an easy understanding, the correct order when you read through this part is Case III, Case I and Case II in order. Because Case III is only the clue behind the mystery of the BA diemark.

The AA diemark is symbolised for circulating commemorative 50p coins as this kind is categorised under the Prefix A, and the BB die letters only for (non-circulating) commemorative 50p coins as this kind is categorised under the Prefix B (die letters and die marks are interchangeable). The die-letter is sort of different combinations between a prefixion (i.e., 1st letter) and an alphabetic sequence (i.e., 2nd letter). This forms a vast group of die letters (i.e., AA, AB, BA, BB and so forth). In terms of circulating/non-circulating commemorative coins, you could understand the phase from the perspective of the cost of production. In other words, the more money you pay for a coin in price the more details you see on the coin. The BA ones we are going to talk are sort of a mixture between the AA ones and the BB ones (see Case I). After a read, you will have a sense of that the IOM Xmas theme-related products are the Pobjoy mint their own product just like raised a new-born baby in 1980 to present date, if you really know IoM 50p coins well.

Three cases mentioned above are showing in follows:

Case I,
Die marks in 1985 onwards were much simpler than before and in a pattern, and the New portrait made by (Raphael D. Maklouf RA, the 3rd royal coin effigy) was set to be used this year. The BA die marks appeared first time is in 1988. Given a fact that circulating commemorative coins Viking boats were taking off instead Personal computers on the reverse side in 1988. So, it is a question to ask why (the BA) appears not before (i.e., in 1987) or after (i.e., in 1989), but the BA die letters only exist in 1988? Probably, the Mint managed to put the IOM Xmas 50p theme back on track when Tynwald a). allowed them to use a new reverse side (?), b). cut the Xmas theme lose like T.T. 50p coins in 1980s (!). More importantly, the coin’s quality was downgraded internally by the Mint. You can think this like a couple in a good relationship.

However, the BA die letters have a meaningful expression in depth, “Back Again with a lowered quality”, Loud and Clear! The expression was saying “I [the IOM Xmas series] am coming back again, but I will be created differently” (support evidence a Manx cat in 1987 and 2004, and BA in 1988).

The BA die letters are alive on the Xmas theme series first time and the Xmas series is re-born on earth. However, one significant clue appeared on 1987 ones. You probably notice that a Manx cat is facing towards the main object. In other words, you only can see side view of the smaller object which is the back of the cat in front of you. Later soon, the BA die letters came out and published in 1988. Ironically, the die letters indicate a broken heart with sadness LIGHTLY each other.

  • 1988 BB die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the BA and AA die letters)
  • 1988 BA die letter 50p coin
  • 1988 AA die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the BB and AA die letters)
  • As 3 coins shown above, coin quality actually reduces from BB down to AA and even 1988 BB its own. One indication seen form 1987 IOM Xmas 50p coin is that the cat faces you with full back. Two other facts are noted. 1987 IOM Viking boat 50p coin is hard to find. 1988 Gibraltar Xmas 50p UNC coin is in place made by the Pobjoy mint.

Case II,
BA die marks on 2004 Xmas 50p coins, it is really unbelievable to keep your eyes peeled widely, especially with the object of the Laxey Water Wheel. It was the 150th Anniversary of the Laxey Water Wheel in 2004. The Wheel is a landmark on the island. Is the water wheel related to anything with Xmas? No! No! No!!! But, simply by adding up snowflake it is now. The water wheel appears on 5p coins in 1976 first time when UK introduced decimal coins in 1971. A little background about 1976, the Pobjoy mint was able to design the reverse side on their own first time. For the period of 1972 to 1975, it was still using dies obtained from the RM previously. The main objects of a 2004 Xmas 50p coin was the Laxey water wheel surrounding by snowflakes and the Manx cat that is excluded permanently.

Notable in 2003, mintage of the Xmas theme was cut to 10k from 30k suddenly with famous animation the Snowman published in 1978. Why the mint lets the mintage be only 10k this year, and goes to the path of commercialisation on 50p coins in 2003? Somehow, the IoM Xmas theme was dying in 2003. Finally, the water wheel and the BA answered it, dead or not in 2004. And, half way through the 12-day Christmas.

  • 2004 BA die letter 50p coin
  • 2004 ND die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the ND and AA die letters)
  • 2004 AA die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the ND and AA die letters)
  • A notable smaller object, a Manx cat sitting on a hill towards the water wheel, will get your attention somehow if you love the Xmas 50p series. In other words, you only can see the back of the cat instead of a full view. The Xmas theme 50p series is alive a 2nd time on earth. However, it indicates a broken heart with sadness MEDIUM this time.

And, Case III.
Firstly, the die marks used this year are AA and BA, not AB! Again, it is BA not AB! Let me tell you one more time, it is BA, BA, BA!!! Once again, it is not the British Airways (BA). This year the BA ends up the entire mystery of die letters, and also is extremely good supporting evidence to decipher its own meaning. It is Back Again. It is very simple to understand if you look at what was the IOM Xmas 50p coin in 2015. It was absolutely nothing. If a BA-die-mark appears, it has definitely something (i.e., S) happened in previous time interval, say St = (t-1), t = current time. For instance, previous years are 2003 (2004 (BA), 10K issue mintage from normal 30K), 1987 (1988 (BA), PC theme after Viking Boat) and 2015 (2016 (BA), a 2015 Xmas 50p coin was not issued) respectively.

A notable object, it is the “p” for “pence” after its disappearance in years. This reminds the IOM Xmas theme 50p is back to square one — the remembrance of the first IOM Xmas 50p coin in 1980. It is time to close the curtain and the show is OVER now. The Xmas theme 50p is alive 3rd time shortly, but eventually it announces dead on earth.

  • 2016 BA die letter 50p coin.
  • Note: flat font on both side. A notable symbol, the PM mintmark is not shown on this one, and the “p” missing as well.

  • 2016 ND die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the ND and AA die letters).
  • Note: fat font on both side. A notable symbol, the PM mintmark is not shown on this one, and the “p” missing as well.

  • 2016 AA die letter 50p coin (in comparison with the ND and AA die letters).
  • Note: fat font on reverse or pudding side, flat font on obverse. A notable symbol, the PM mintmark is not shown on this one, and the “p” missing as well.

Although, the Tower mint is still minting the Xmas theme 50p over the Pobjoy Mint on behalf of the government of Gibraltar at the moment (originally the Tower mint took the contract over from the Pobjoy mint in 2004), but the Xmas theme 50p is no longer the Xmas theme 50p that it was invented by the Pobjoy mint. This time it is a broken heart COMPLETELY and only the path towards — DIVORCE. Therefore, the Pobjoy mint (after divorce) is enormously producing penguin 50p coins on behalf of the government of Falkland Islands 2017 in a lofty way. Ironically, the first coin of the penguin series is made by none sense an error coin. However, no matter who made the decision, the Tower Mint strikes it back with an error coin as well, the House of Keys. This error makes sense and somehow confirms that IOM non-circulating commemorative 50p coins are normally ProofLike (PL) finish, but the Tower Mint seems did not know this principle. This time Tynwald spreads info in black and white loudly, however the Court kept it quietly in contrast to 1980 IOM Xmas 50p mule coins. Will it be another new good artworks from the mints? Probably it is a NO. WHY? commercialisation is purely driven by money not by heart.

One thing (i.e., BA) should not make the same appearance more than three times. But, it really happens in the Xmas series. Therefore, the IOM Xmas 50p series is doomed out of the 50p show eventually. If you are familiar with Major League Baseball (MLB), 3 strikes, you are OUT, and move to next player.

#End