So called 'Proof' British Sumatra coin sold by Baldwin

Started by sinial, September 07, 2016, 07:19:16 PM

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The piece was sold by Baldwin last month.
It was listed as following:
COINS. INDONESIA - SUMATRA: EIC, Sumatra: Proof Copper 2-Kepings, 1787 / AH 1202, oblique milling (KM 258).


I presume your "quibble" is that it doesn't look proof. I think you are right. I am too tired to check, but I seem to remember there were proofs struck of this type. At the time, this was normal: circulations strikes struck in (mainly) Birmingham went to India. Proof strikes were sent to well-known shops in London for sale to collectors. Often, these were available even before the circulation coins reached India, because they were struck with unapproved dies, differing slightly from the circulation strikes.

So this may be the explanation: the proofs are known to be slightly different and therefore, it can be deduced that this coin was a proof strike. Fair enough. But even so, it doesn't look like a proof. Now, proof is a term that describes a technique: striking with reduced speed and extra pressure on polished blanks. It is not a grade. It follows that a proof coin needs not be unc. However, it is good practice to describe such coins as "impaired proof" or "ef proof". Now that this is not done, it leaves a bitter taste of commercialism winning once again of fairness, honesty and good taste.

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


I agree that proof is a method of manufacture...however I see coins that are described as proof like.
I think that may be a condition description instead. I don't particularly like poof like as a description.
To me it is another example of advertising/commercialism or a way to sell something relatively normal for a higher price.

Never miss an opportunity to create a market or to fleece the the public.



I have one of these of the same date although mine is a 1 Kepping and it's more correctly described as a pattern, see where they were struck and described in detail here here


As you said, with modern 'proof' refers to the method of manufacture, 'proof' (maybe exactly specimen) of early Soho Mint coins are separately manufactured using completely different dies. As shown in the following images, known 1787 2 kepings proof pieces, including the gilt pieces, is struck by the specified dies with a die crack in 8 o'clock of the obverse.


These last two coins are struck from different dies. There are more subtle differences, but a quick way to see it is the V in the heart and the downward point of the heart just above it. On the first coin, the downward point ends between the serifs of the V. On the last two coins, the downward point is well above the V.

So is your point that it wasn't struck with the dies used for the proofs? If so, please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that all proofs were struck with the same dies, especially since the crack you pointed out may have widened or the die may have broken. Yet, since there is no evidence I know of that proofs were struck with the dies used for the coin in the first post, there is one more reason to think that the description is careless.

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


Yes Soho Mint left no records of its early products die variety, but that does not mean we can not depart from the exist pieces and probability to make some judgments. I can not imagine why specimen of the first die variety never appeared on the market at the same time the second die variety pieces appeared several times a year. Taking into account the total number of such specimens are not too much, I would say that such a description is very unlikely to be correct.