Insane Incuse Investigation!

The following was penned by Downies employee Jimmy…

On Saturday last week, I ventured to the shops to buy a coffee. Upon receiving my change, I instinctively started to sort through the coins, looking for anything interesting. This is a relatively new habit of mine, only picked up since I started working at Downies last October. Even then, ‘checking my change’ – and provoking worried looks from shop assistants thinking they had over-charged me – is something I have only started doing consistently since flipping through a McDonald’s Guide to Australian Coins & Banknotes.

‘Maccas’, as it is known, reveals the wealth of Australian coin types that one might find in change, and I started to keep a mental list of things I wanted to look for – from rare Errors such as the 2000 $1 Mule, to the odd varieties such as the 1966 Wavy 20c, to commemoratives such as the 2000 Millennium 50c. Indeed, it was the Millennium 50c that was staring at me when I got my change that particular Saturday – but not just any Millennium 50c. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be an ‘Incused Millennium 50c’!

Incused Millennium 50c

Incused Millennium 50c

Distinguished by a recessed Union Jack and larger star, the Incused Millennium 50c is the rarer of the two Millennium 50c types. Approximately 16,630,000 Millennium Flag 50c coins were struck by the Royal Australian Mint, with the rare incuse type accounting for only 1-2% of the overall mintage! Seldom found in change, this unique type is naturally highly sought after by collectors.

I had been keeping my eyes open for the 2000 Millennium 50c in the days before my trip to the coffee shop, as I had only just learned of the existence of the 2000 Incused Millennium 50c. I had spotted two examples of the Millennium 50c, but, alas, both were standard types. I resigned myself to the fact that the Incuse Millennium 50c was going to be a tough one to find, and my hopes of finding one would probably have to be filed with my ambitious dreams of finding a 1966 Wavy 20c and 2000 Mule $1. Amazingly, it was just a few days later that I had one in my hands!

This was my first real experience with finding an unusual, potentially valuable coin in my change, and let me tell you, it sparked my interest enormously! I now have quite a large pile of commemorative coins at home, and am always searching through my change to find something interesting that others may have overlooked. I feel that this is just the beginning…

Which brings up the question: Have you found any interesting coins in your change?
Let us know below in the comments 🙂

At The Block: What treasures will be found in Downies coin Auction 314?

The second sale in Downies Australian Coin Auctions’ 50th anniversary year is ramping up. Viewings commenced on Tuesday the 3rd of July and are currently underway, with Sale 314 itself running from July 9th to 11th. Interest is obviously high thanks to the ongoing anniversary celebrations, but there is another reason. In the first sale of the year, Sale 313, two extremely rare, if not unique, previously undiscovered  mules* were found – an numismatists around the globe wait with bated breath to see if a similar discovery will be made in Sale 314.

The first of the two mules in question was a halfpenny mule with a British obverse partnered with a New Zealand reverse, dated 1965 and graded brown EF, is pictured below:

Halfpenny 1965 muled with British Halfpenny obverse

The second, truly astonishing, mule was an Australian 50c piece with the appropriate 1977 Elizabeth II obverse, but the standard Stuart Devlin coat of arms reverse. Every 1977 50c piece was intended to bear a special commemorative design to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Queen and the coin in question simply should not exist – and there are no records in standard collecting guides of it doing so prior to Sale 313 this year.

Fifty Cents 1977 coat-of-arms reverse instead of the normal silver jubilee reverse (weight 15.41gms)

Esteemed numismatic writer Dr. Kerry Rodgers recently wrote an excellent article on the matter – published on Numismaster.com here.

As for Sale 314 – what will it bring? Could Australian numismatics be lucky enough to discover yet more heretofore unknown rarities? Let us know what you think in the comments.

*For those who are wondering, in numismatics a ‘mule’ is a coin “whose obverse die is not matched with its official or regular reverse die” (take from McDonald’s Coin guide).

Australia Remembers…

Marking the 70th Anniversary of the first wartime attack on Australian Soil, February 19 1942 saw 242 Japanese Planes launch the first of their 64 attacks on Darwin. An initial siege that lasted a mere 40 minutes, devastatingly stole the lives of more than 243 people – February 19 2012 marks beginning of the war on Australia.

Forced to leave the side of our Mother Country, 41 years after federation, Australia strengthened its alliance with the United States to combat what has now been described as Australia’s Pearl Harbour. With much focus protecting the northern border of Australia, on May 31 1942, three Japanese midget submarines, five large mother submarines and two sea planes attempted to invade Sydney Harbour. An attack that was of limited success with only one of the submarines firing its torpedoes, missing the intended target and instead hitting the depot ship, HMAS Kuttabul – fear began to penetrate the once believed invincible Australian culture.

Issued to mark the 70th Anniversary of the start of these attacks, the Royal Australian Mint has issued three unique Australian legal tender releases commemorating those who lost their lives protecting our borders.

Never to be issued into circulation, to secure the 2012 50c and 20c Shores Under Siege trio – head on over to Downies.com today!