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Queen Victoria Penny 1855

Started by Henk, October 28, 2023, 03:23:39 PM

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I found this Queen Victoria Copper Penny with date 1855. What is interesting is that two different type "5" are used in the date. This is strange as I assume that the same punch would have been used for both digits. Probably the difference was caused by a filled die. Please let me know what you think!


In those days, dates on dies were left unfinished. The last one or two numbers were added only when the die was put into use. This was a cost saving measure.

The industrial revolution had made it possible to strike coins with steam driven presses, which added the risk of mechanical failure to existing risks. In addition, with (unevenly) increasing wealth, December's Christmas shopping became more important but also - depending on growth and employment - more unpredictable. With these two factors in mind, having a couple of dies ready just in case and being able to use them in the following year also was just good governance.

The missing numbers were added manually on the die with punches. Therefore, there are often very slight or not so slight alignment issues. Not on your coin, though. I think a new punch was used on a die from a worn master die, which would explain the difference in thickness of the two fives. In addition, the missing ball on the first 5 may well be due to a filled die. The 8 may be affected at 5 o'clock also. If so, you may be able to see a light shadow when enlarging the general area of the date.

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