Proof set years (1826-1970)

Started by UK Decimal +, July 19, 2010, 01:49:19 PM

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UK Decimal +

Whilst preparing lists of coins issued so that I can record those that I have and how much they cost, also what I still need, the question of proofs has raised its ugly head.   I must add that I do not collect (pre-decimal) proofs (other than the occasional Maundy coin).

Working from SCWC, it appears that proofs were issued in many years, an example being (British) sixpences of  1881, 1885, 1886, 1887 (three types), 1888, 1889, 1890, 1893.   Whereas I can accept 1887 when new designs were introduced for the Golden Jubilee, the other years seem questionable.   Some years show 'satin proofs, one or two'.

How often are these found?   I suggest that they are very few and far between and although I accept that they should be shown in SCWC because they exist, how often is the everyday collector likely to find them?   Probably never.

So, which years can we accept as legitimate ones when proofs were issued to the general public?   Perhaps 1887 for the Golden Jubilee, 1902 Edward VII, 1911 George V, 1937 George VI, 1953 Elizabeth II, 1970 last £sd (before decimalisation).   These are just examples, and you will note that I am not referring to the present day when the mint will produce anything that they might be able to sell at a profit.   I agree that SCWC should record them 'because they exist', although there is nothing to say whether they were issued as individual coins or only in sets.

So, what are your views on 'acceptable' years for Britain?

Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.


Proof sets were issued in the following years,
1826, 1831, 1839, 1853, 1887, 1893, 1902, 1911, 1927, 1937, 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1970

Any proofs found outside these dates I think were specimen coins, certainly not for issue to the general public, but I'm not sure exactly why they were issued.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....


Your question gave rise to another question in my mind. I some countries (e.g. France, Belgium and the Netherlands), "mint visit" medals were struck. This was basically a very polite security measure. VIP guests, like the king and a gaggle of ministers and courtiers, would come to inspect the mint and there was just no way to tell anyone not to touch the coins or give them back. Therefore, the area to be visited was cleaned of coins and instead, perfectly harmless medals were struck with the same size as the coins, but with different reverse dies. Gold copies were for the guest of honour, silver for the highest ranking followers and anyone else in the room would get the copper/bronze variant.

I can't imagine British kings never visiting the mint, but I am not aware of any British "mint visit" medals. Could it be, that a couple of regular coin were struck in the royal presence, but slower and with more force? This would neatly explain the existence of "proofs" that do not fit in sets...

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

UK Decimal +

Thank you, that confirms my suspicions.   I think that I can add a bit to the list of sets issued (details from Coin Yearbook 2010):-

George IV
1826   £5 - farthing (11 coins)   FDC £25,000

William IV
1831   Coronation   £2 - farthing (14 coins)   FDC £22,000

1839   "Una and the Lion"   £5 - farthing (15 coins)   FDC £40,000
1853   Sovereign - quarter farthing, including "Gothic" crown   FDC £32,500
1887   Golden Jubilee   £5 - 3d (11 coins)   FDC 10,000
1887   Golden Jubilee   Crown - 3d (7 coins)   FDC £2,000
1893   £5 - 3d (10 coins)   FDC £12,000
1893   Crown - 3d (6 coins)   FDC £3,000

Edward VII
1902   Coronation   £5 -Maundy penny matt proofs (10 coins)   FDC £2,500
1902   Coronation   Sovereign - Maundy penny matt proofs (11 coins)   FDC £1,500

George V
1911   Coronation   £5 - Maundy penny (12 coins)   FDC £3,500
1911   Coronation   Sovereign - Maundy penny (10 coins)   FDC £1,500
1911   Coronation   Halfcrown - Maundy penny (8 coins)   FDC £750
1927   New types   Crown - 3d (6 coins)   FDC £500

George VI
1937   Coronation   £5 - half sovereign (4 coins)   FDC £2,750
1937   Coronation   Crown - farthing including Maundy money (15 coins)   FDC £350
1950   Mid-century   Halfcrown - farthing (9 coins)   FDC £150
1951   Festival of Britain   Crown - farthing (10 coins)   FDC £175

Elizabeth II
1953   Coronation   Crown - farthing (10 coins)   FDC £75
1970   Last £sd coins (issued 1972)   Halfcrown - halfpenny (8 coins)   FDC £20

All others listed are decimal types.

One other set that might be mentioned, remembering that it is uncirculated not proof, is:-
1953   Coronation   Halfcrown - farthing (9 coins)   £15

I have always thought that the other years were suspect and that they might be more correctly referred to as specimens.

I think that I will delete all proofs from my lists and just add them in if and when I get them, such as a few odd Maundy coins and 1970.   Better still, now that I've nearly completed the lists, I will save them under another name when complete and delete proofs etc. from the copy that I use every day - good, less gaps to fill!

Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

We've looked at the years in which Proofs were issued 'to the public', but I must admit that I am not happy with the other years (perhaps just a few Proofs for invited personages) being shown the same way in SCWC as I think that it can cause confusion.   Whereas I agree that they should be listed (because some were produced), as they were not intended for the public, I think that they need to be identified as such.

I am not referring to just Numismaster but mainly the listings on paper/disc that are produced by SCWC.   Any suggestions on how they should be shown?   Bear in mind that the KM# remains the same as they are to the same design.

Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.