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Isle of Man Christmas 50p Coin in Grade from 1980 to 1996


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Part II

Here it comes Part II where a new part introduces how did the Pobjoy Mint make a start of the IOM Xmas 50p at the beginning of the year 1980, and a 2nd time improvement happened in 1994. We have talked many things in Part I (if you have missed is, please click here).

  • 1980 Christmas 50p coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#1>

The 1980 UNC<#1>, BB, is the most strange one you have ever come across at the beginning of 1980, not only the BB diemark associated with but also the lowest standard in grade in a row. This one breaks the rule of prefix B equivalent to prooflike. However, it is only the one in the series.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#2>

The 1980 UNC<#2>, BB, in contrast to the 1980 UNC<#1>, is much better in terms of finish standard. A light frosting effect and the likely mirror-liked field can be seen.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#3>

The 1980 UNC<#3>, BC, in contrast to the 1980 UNC<#2>, is better, and great than the 1980 UNC<#1>. Also, this type of coins is named Diamond Finish (DF) officially. First impression you have is a bit more whity and easily toned in nature condition. The mirror-liked field it is getting to see clearly.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#4>

The 1980 UNC<#4>, BD, single digit D was used for striking silver metal coin.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#5>

The 1980 UNC<#5>, BE, single digit E was used for striking silver metal coin as well.

Things are getting more complicated beyond this point. First, mule coins exist. Second, reverse has many versions even many variants in a single version. Last, no any record for the Xmas 50p coin it has in place.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6>

The 1980 UNC<#6>, BF, has squared-rim especially on the obverse side.

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.1>

The 1980 UNC<#6.1>, BF, has the frosting effect very clear.

  • 1980 UNC<#6>'s reverse vs. 1980 UNC<#6.1>'s reverse
  • Credit: richukcoins®

  • 1980 Christmas 50p Mule Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.2>
  • 1980 Christmas 50p Mule Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.3>

At this point, you have seen many different variants including Mule coins from 1980. It concludes that nobody knew what would be the best finish for the IOM Xmas series in line with no proof coins in base metal at the beginning of the Xmas venture. One thing is clear that the young Pobjoy Mint ltd was keen to make and/or invent something new in numismatic world at age of 15 years really. Another the owner of the Mint shared the things happened behind the closed door externally with collectors as well.

Next, the turning point it shows in 1994, and was last for a consecutive 3 years period. The pattern was like AA-ND and the first introduction of No Diemark (ND) coin in the Xmas 50p series.

  • 1994 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#1>
  • 1994 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#3>

Note: UNC<#1> indicates uncirculated coin that has struck once only, and associated with AA normally. UNC<#3> is a circulating commemorative coin that is done by twice striking with polished dies and specially prepared blanks, and it has ND eventually. UNC<#2> is something between UNC<#1> and UNC<#3> and sometimes with and/or without BB diemark. UNC<#4> and beyond is more like experiments. The pattern is like AA-BB-ND in general. Once you have had an understanding of the IOM diemarks, perhaps you are going to see and enjoy how wonderful the IOM xmas series is before 2010. A third grading company like NGC or PCGS gives a mark PL+ on coin made up to 1998 and MS+ DPL/PL for 1999 and onwards. This info shows how coin quality switched off after 1999.

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Isle of Man Christmas 50p Coin in Grade from 1999 to 2016


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Part I

Here, it is a very very interesting topic to present in a way either valuation or numismatic value. This topic also is important to collectors who are keen to Christmas 50p base metal coin in modern British Isles coinage history (other than GB coin). Because the more layers we tear off, the more value you can add on the IOM Xmas series. Frankly, it is only here you are able to find out more information on what actually so-called Diamond Finish is. In the early days (say, pre-1997), a Diamond Finish standard (hereafter DF) is a combination of advanced dies (ie., polished) and advanced planchets (ie., buffed), for instance, 1980 IOM Xmas 50p coin associated with BBs-BC-BD-BE-BFs-BFs(Mule). However, the Isle of Man Christmas 50p coin made after 1999, it let you feel that collectors pay a higher price for low quality item made from normal/advanced Dies and normal blanks.

So, let we introduce a UNC coin without mentioning dies and planchets in detail first, as follows:

  • 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>

From the above <#1> pictures, it is hard to tell you what is what, but a base-line point is well established. It is a normal 50p coin which you are able to find it in your pocket money. However, if you look for further detail on the coin, a AA die mark could be spotted at 8 o’clock position. Alongside of that, You are going to see NO squared-rim easily.

Still, another UNC coin, as follows:

  • 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2>

From the above <#2> pictures, you are going to see more details on the coin compared to UNC <#1>, but this time, a BB die mark noted on at 8 o’clock position and the mirrored-like field. A variant of UNC <#2> named <#2.1> shows a bit low quality in contrast to UNC <#2>, which is associated with no die mark (hereafter ND).

  • 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2.1>

let we have a close look at obverse each,

  • BB’s obverse (UNC <#2>) vs. ND’s obverse (UNC <#2.1>)

At this point, two different coins in grade are established. A UNC <#1> coin is a circulating coin, or Mint Statue (hereafter MS) grade from a 3rd grading company. A UNC either <#2> or <#2.1> coin is a circulating commemorative coin or MS Prooflike.

The last grade in a row, it goes to UNC <#3>.

  • 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#3>

UNC <#3> is also a circulating commemorative coin but a MS Deep PL standard from a 3rd grading company.

Having said that without mentioning dies and planchets, it concludes that most importantly there were no any BUNC 50p coins made in the IOM Xmas series. UNC <#1> was under strike one time and two times for <#2> and <#2.1>, however, three times for UNC <#3>. What is more, the AA and BB die marks were an indication to tell the significant difference between circulating and circulating commemorative coins in principle. However, die marks (with or without) had less information on grades but were able to give you direct information about a xmas coin wether circulating coin or circulating commemorative coin. Obviously, it was hard to follow when the sudden appearance of the existence of ND type of coins. Therefore, UNC (or MS), DF (or MS PL) and DF with Deep prooflike (or MS DPL) were well established and defined here.

A complicated case is list below from the IOM xmas series. UNC and DF coins share the BB die mark at the same time.

  • 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>

Yes, a BB die mark is easily spotted, but does not necessarily say it is a UNC <#2> or <#3> coin. The above coin is actually a UNC <#1> coin.

Now, it presents a UNC <#2> and <#2.1> coin as below,

  • 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2>
  • 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2.1>

Having said the 1999 IOM Xmas 50p coin mainly, a balanced picture needs to keep in mind. A more complicated case compared cross panel is going to be presented here in relation to same year 50p coin in the IOM Xmas series. we now have to cover the 1999 Xmas 50p coin from Gibraltar (ie., the Mint works on a same topic for two different people, ironically, the Mint has lost the right to mint Gibraltar coinage since 2004). This time, it is your turn to tell us what is it.

  • 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from Gibraltar — UNC <#2>? or <#3>?

Do not get me wrong here, the BB die mark does not say or indicate UNC <#2> in grade equally and definitely. What I have talked here is that how to identify a DF standard with and without the die marks.

We are moving to the period of 1999 to 2016 that reveals how the quality of coins drops in years.

First of all, it will be the year 2004 and then 2016 in the second place. There is a pattern of AA-BA-ND in both years when the BA die mark has been used. Meanwhile, the AA die mark is simultaneously existed in relation to the BA die mark as well. Most significantly, the Manx cat in the first place has a farewell appearance in 2004 and drops completely from the IOM Xmas series in 2005. What is more, the p has no place after the 50 denomination in 2016. This echoes back to the very beginning of the IOM Xmas series in 1980. These information are a way to express the internal side of the story.

  • 2004 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>
  • 2016 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>

The frosting effect can be seen clearly in both. However, in contrast to ND and BA 50p coins made in same years, the above coins are no better in terms of grade and even worse than UNC <#1> from 1999. A assumption is set up here that the two AA die mark coins are very specially made in the first place but reason(s) unknown.

Last, I want to mention a point here that not all AA diemarks stand for UNC or struck on base metal but there is an exception see below.

  • 1994 Christmas 50p Silver Proof Coin from Gibraltar — PF <#4>
  • Credit: NGC database/online

The mystery of the IOM and GIB Xmas 50p coin is not bad and pulling out from the water, but exploring is still on.

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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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Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p Diamond Finish Coin in 2018


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Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p Coin associated with NO Die Mark in 2018

Story is being updated now……

A second one in series after many years they had got their contract back from the Tower Mint. This one looked very different in comparison with previous, considering a same Father Christmas face in two different years, one named Christmas 2017, but 2018 was called Father Christmas(tm). It concludes that the Christmas series is no longer come out on the market but instead the Father Christmas series. At the same time, The Snowman(tm) series by the Royal Mint was under way. Both the themes came from the same source original creator Raymond Briggs.

In 2018, it has three types of Father Christmas 50p coin from Gibraltar in base metal, standard version with die marks AA/AB (i.e., currency/circulating commemorative coin), diamond finish standard version with NO die mark (i.e., uncirculated commemorative coin) and of course, diamond finish standard colour-printed version with NO die mark. In terms of coin striking quality, a 2018 Father Christmas 50p coin is much better than a 2017 Christmas 50p coin that is originally issued in 1992.

1. Currency coin with die marks AA/AB (Note AA/AB is underneath left arm)

  • Version AA
  • COMING SOON……

  • Version AB
  • COMING SOON……

2. Diamond Finish non-colour-printed, 50p ND coin

  • Father Christmas 2018, a 50p ND DF coin in a decoration
  • Father Christmas 2018, a 50p ND DF coin

It has been a while since last 50p coin in a decoration. One was likely seen in 2012, but later was fully replaced by a IOM Post Office small-sized card. And, never and ever a 2014 IOM Christmas 50p Snowman coin in a decoration was officially sold, please be aware of this cottage business.

The first surprise is that the Xmas 50p series has gone? Because in the year 2018, Father Christmas(tm) was big enough printed on the reverse of a Gibraltar 50p coin. In 2017, Christmas was highly seen on Gibraltar 50p coin. However, there was no any trace of Christmas on 50p coins. The second focus, of course, is that coin quality is much better than 2017 ones. At least, the mirror-like field is more or less visible. It looks boring that one singular object was drawn in design structure, meaning very simple in design. Thirdly, in contrast to 2017 Christmas 50p coins’ mintage, it came down to 7,500 coins, a bit smaller than 2017 ones. Last but not least, other coins in precious metal, silver proof and gold proof were both minted.

3. Diamond Finish colour-printed, 50p ND coin

  • Father Christmas 2018, a 50p colour-printed ND DF coin in a card
  • Father Christmas 2018, a 50p colour-printed ND DF coin

It seems that this colour-printed version is the first one made by the Pobjoy mint for Gibraltar. However, the disadvantage of this colour-printed version is painting so weak, might have a result of colour dropping over time.

*Most popular philatelic products are First Day Coin cover (i.g., FDC), and the key players are benham and westminstercollection in the UK. Others may exist but not included here. One 2018 Father Christmas 50p colour-printed DF coin was seen for sale and this FDC has a issue limit of 50. The number of 50 is very very small, but the story behind the 50 is very interesting to decipher. Eventually, this FDC programme was replaced by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau’s FDC. Both the 2 cases were achieved none! For collectors, they suffered a lot of pain during the course. (*Note: I wrote this paragraph after I put blog of Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p ND coin in 2019 online.)

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