Perth Mint KGV Bronze – An Identifiable Obverse Characteristic?


Image 1 – 1920 dot over bottom scroll left; 1919 dot under bottom scroll right.

It was remarks from Peter Andrews following the 1st edition of Independent Coin News that has had me looking through dozens of obverses in KGV bronze. Peter said that because the ultra-rare 1920 dot above bottom scroll penny continue to show up in WA collections that it is suspected that Perth Mint pressed them. I saw that unusually curved obverse rim that isn’t fully struck (left image, courtesy of PCGS) and started looking for similar obverses.

1919 dot below bottom scroll (right, author’s image) is one potential candidate. Sydney Mint had 3 unused Birmingham obverse 1919 die sets, because Melbourne supplied 1920 Calcutta dies just in time for Sydney to publicly start their first ever run of bronze. The obverse rims share some similarities and I will create close comparison shots when time permits. 

PCGS Cert 34520715 UNC "Cleaned"

Image 2 – PCGS Cert 34520715 UNC “Cleaned”

It was the hairlines on (Image 2 & 3) that got me started. I realised the cleaning might be metal brush striations from cleaning up a rusty die. The question I had is “who was pressing coins with (presumably old) rusty dies?” In email correspondence, Mike Diamond of suggested I needed to prove the die was rusty by finding multiple examples, since individual coins can also suffer rust pitting.

34520715 rust pitting

Image 3 – Cert 34520715

As a side note, the limits to inspecting coins by image (as opposed to having on hand) is well known. The first time I wrote to Mike Diamond suggesting rust pitting using Image 3 above, he said he couldn’t see any evidence. Subsequently, I took an axial image of the reverse (Image 4) and resubmitted the question. The rust pitting is much clearer in the type of image create below than the normal light used to image coins. Both the pitting and the “cleaning” are much easier to ascertain in Image 4 than Image 3. This author suggests that this “cleaned” surface is the transfer from the die to the metal of not only the rust pitting, but also the rust cleaning that was conducted on the die.

1919 47877001 Axial Image detail

Image 4 – Cert No. 47877001 Axial Image detail

The obverse in Image 1 is matched to the reverse in Image 5 below – and it is the 2nd separate reverse die – confirmed by the different placement of the dot – with evidence of rust on it (albeit not as bad as Cert 34520715). 

1919 47877001

Image 5 – Cert no. 47877001

The next step will be to crack open some higher grade 1922 Indian Obverse pennies as we know that Perth Mint inherited those hand me downs as well. I’d be wanting to see similar characteristics on that date as well. I’ll also need to revise the literature as not a great deal is said of the minting of early KGV in WA. As the weekend draws to a close I’ll continue this post when time is available.