Author Topic: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece  (Read 600 times)

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Offline Alan71

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2019, 09:23:22 AM »
As I pointed out earlier, it uses an older Royal Mint logo.  The £1 trial pieces used the current logo.  Is it possible these were produced just to test out the mix of colours?  The £2 is genuinely bi-metal in that two different alloys are used.  The £1 uses the same metal for both parts, with the centre part plated in nickel-brass.

Could this just be to test that out, before they’d actually decided on the specifications for the new £1?  If it’s the old size 50p, this might have been to ensure there was no possibility of them being mistaken for the current one and therefore not ending up in circulation.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2019, 09:57:17 AM »
Why? As we all know, fakers are getting better and better - and it is surely easier to fake something that doesn't exist than copy an existing coin that may then not bear comparison with the original. I just wondered whether e.g. the Chinese fake factories had cottoned on to the higher level of demand for trial pieces. I'm just trying to find an explanation for a 30 mm piece made after 1997.

In terms of fakes of UK coins and trial pieces, on this planet there are 3 experts in that area none of which work for the Royal Mint, one of which is myself. This piece was certainly not made at one of the private mints in China. The quality of it is simply too good.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2019, 06:34:39 PM »
The only expert in the area of UK trial strikes and trial pieces, Michael Beeston, has never seen this piece before nor anything like it.

I am in indirect contact with the person who bought the piece and will also discuss it with the mint. This will take time.

Offline Deeman

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2019, 07:41:22 PM »
I contacted the seller of the trial 50p for further information and received this reply:

“The coin was handed down to me with others from my family who collected them over the years. Most of them are standard old coins.
I researched this one with no joy, so put it on eBay, and it very quickly had a lot of interest. What I did not realise was I had set it up wrong on the settings and it automatically accepted the offer of £250.
After discussing with family, we think it could have come from a family member who was working at a bank at the time of decimalisation but do not know for sure, and would put this coin pre 1969 before the release of the old 50p.”

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2019, 08:03:27 PM »
I have been shown images of a wide range of pre-1969 trial strikes made for the large size 50p, they all bear the same design and look nothing like this one.

Offline Alan71

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2019, 08:58:32 PM »
They didn’t have the technology for bimetallic coins in the 1960s or 1970s did they?  If this really does date from the 1960s, why would they then not introduce a bimetallic coin until 1997?  The Royal Mint had produced such coins for other countries during the 1990s.

Worldwide, does anyone know when the first bi-metal coin was introduced anywhere?

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2019, 09:01:17 PM »
They didn’t have the technology for bimetallic coins in the 1960s or 1970s did they?  If this really does date from the 1960s, why would they then not introduce a bimetallic coin until 1997?  The Royal Mint had produced such coins for other countries during the 1990s.

Worldwide, does anyone know when the first bi-metal coin was introduced anywhere?

I don't think so either. It looks much more modern. 500 lire Italy 1982 was the first circulating bimetallic coin.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2019, 09:10:21 PM »
It is also important to note that it is unusual that the core is the same shape as the piece itself. Usually coins that aren't round themselves have a round core.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2019, 09:35:47 PM »
Worldwide, does anyone know when the first bi-metal coin was introduced anywhere?

The Romans knew a technique of making bi-metallic medals. I thought they were featured in WoC, but a search didn't bring them up. It did point to a French bi-metallic token. We also show a UK 1848 token In short, it was long known how to make bimetallic medals and tokens. It's just that nobody thought of making bimetallic coins for a long time.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2019, 12:38:26 PM »
It turns out that a good friend of mine bought the piece. It has a weight of 11.5 grams which is precisely 2 grams less than a large size 50p. Its diameter is 30mm. Although there is still being looked into it, it appears it may indeed have been made around 1994.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 10:13:54 PM by eurocoin »

Offline Alan71

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2019, 01:53:05 PM »
... but still 3.5g heavier than the current 50p and only 0.5g lighter than the £2.

The chances of this replacing the current coin must be extremely low to non-existent.  Apart from the new £1, coins are generally re-sized to make them smaller.  Even the new £1 is lighter than its predecessor, though that wasn’t the primary reason for replacing the old one.

I’m not sure I’d be interested in a coin like that, no matter how rare or genuine.  I’d like to see the 1994 trials “in the flesh”, particularly the round version.  They were the only Britannia-design 50p struck with that date.  The D-Day commemorative appeared alone in sets that year.

Offline Alan71

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2019, 08:54:14 PM »
The Royal Mint logo on the coin is certainly consistent with 1994.  However, the other two trials (round and smaller heptagonal, as eventually chosen) both had the normal Britannia design with a small “Royal Mint Trial” incorporated. Crucially the “Fifty Pence” and “50” were both present.  This one is inconsistent as it doesn’t have Britannia, is clearly larger and has “coin” included in the legend but no indication of the denomination.

Even in 1994 this would have been very unlikely - why replace one of the same diameter with one that’s just 2g lighter?

It will be interesting to find out what this trial was for, but I somehow doubt it was for a 50p coin.



Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2019, 10:10:04 PM »
The Royal Mint in fact used that logo (consisting of the crest, rosette and Tower Mint mark) up until 2007. Documentation of around 1991 has now proven that The Royal Mint was at least considering the introduction of a bimetallic 50p. Contact with the previous owner has shown that they already had it for at least a decade.

According to Royal Mint documents:

"The range of United Kingdom coins in the early 1990's remained one of the heaviest in Western Europe. The 50p was the largest and heaviest and in 1991 the Treasury and Civil Service Committee of the House of Commons recommended that effective market research be carried out to establish whether a 50p coin is required within the present system of coins and if so, whether it would be appropriate to issue a new, lighter and smaller 50p to follow the changes currently planned".

That recommendation was accepted by the government and in 1994 the Royal Mint was asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to conduct a review of the United Kingdom coinage. This review was to focus on the future of the 50p and also on the possible introduction of a £2 coin for general circulation."


[...]

"In considering options for a smaller 50p, however, various possibilities have had to be discarded. A nickel-brass (yellow) coin would be undesirable, because in order to distinguish it from the nickel-brass £1 coin, the new coin would have to be larger. This could negate any weight-saving compared with the present coin and might be confusing to users as a coin larger than the £1 but with a lower denomination. A bi-metal (two coloured) coin has also been rejected for the 50p denomination, as it would usually be reserved for a coin of higher value in view of its technical sophistication and consequent cost"
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 10:37:26 PM by eurocoin »

Offline Alan71

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2019, 10:16:14 PM »
Ah, it was 2007 was it?  I couldn’t remember.  The logo was introduced in that style in 1990 so had a 17-year run.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Unknown Royal Mint trial piece
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2019, 11:11:44 PM »
There haven’t been any reports of forgeries in circulation

There are certainly fake 50p coins in circulation, although the quantity is relatively low. The 2 pounds coin is currently by far the most counterfeited denomination.