Dear PCGS – About the 1920 No Dot Penny
While I’ve admired the relative consistency in grading services, it has come to my attention that attribution of Australian bronze varieties is increasingly questionable. I am no expert; I like to think of myself as a student of numismatics. That means I make mistakes and happily admit to them; in fact a collector of 45 years experience just brought my attention to another attribution error in my stock from PCGS. This 1952 Pointed Serif 2 is in fact the regular London serif. A quick sorting of 150 odd reference coins accompanied by the literature from Holland and some new hi-res photos permitted me to correct my lack of knowledge. I subsequently withdrew that product from stock. The correct attribution is image No. 3.
About the 1920 No Dot Penny
I’ve spent the last two years identifying and purchasing high grade 1920 No Dot coins for the numismatic market (see https://www.pcgs.com/cert/45354405 and https://www.pcgs.com/cert/43634927 ). However, the unidentifiable outlier in that one-die-only estimate caused me consternation. It is visible below and is graded finest in BN.
The 1920 No Dot Penny – Die Markers
Die variety No. 1 – Blob before date and date die cracks
Die Markers are a MUST in correctly attributing the 1920 no dot penny. In the case of the two examples linked to above, the die crack UNDER date is the primary die identification marker at late stage die usage. The one die that can be definitively traced through its evolution is https://www.pcgs.com/cert/30649878
Philatelics is auctioning the finest 1920 No Dot of die markers previously mentioned that this author has ever seen (below). The crack and blob are clearly visible. Click on the image to see the coin’s listing on the auction website.
Dear PCGS – Maybe Not a 1920 No Dot Penny?
Die variety No. 2 – Filled 2 in date and dot before Y
For the outlier coin https://www.pcgs.com/cert/30566434 I scoured Ebay until a similar filled 2 in the date was put up for sale. I had originally thought the 2 a different serif, but can now confirm it has become filled with grease. No dot above or below the scroll is visible. The precautionary principle suggests the likelihood that striking through grease could well erase the dot from the coin; reason to avoid such a variety attribution without further evidence.
The critical die marker is the blob just to the left of Y in PENNY, very visible in this image. I then confirmed that https://www.pcgs.com/cert/30566434 (imaged below), also has that blob next to Y:
Heritage Auctions sold a similar dot Y/filled 2 reverse in 2015 for nearly $1500AUD – this coin (below) is an NGC attribution. Note the die characteristics and the faint pimple above the scroll. That may well be the dot over bottom scroll (DOBS), making this a particularly well struck Sydney Mint coin or possibly a Perth Mint strike made in 1921. Further examples are required to confirm.
Here’s the auction listing below. At least you haven’t made the same mistake as NGC and attribute a No Dot to Sydney Mint. That is not confirmed; I believe Melbourne Mint produced the PR Plain Penny, making Melbourne Mint the likely source of the single die correctly attributed as a No Dot.
Dear PCGS – Definitely Not a 1920 No Dot Penny!
The Image featuring at the beginning of this blog has arrows pointing to the dot – a dot above bottoms scroll (DOBS) variety. Click on the image below to see the PCGS certificate (opens in new tab)
Dear PCGS – A Suggested Course of Action
- All important varieties could be graded with high resolution images for appropriate online viewing and authentication.
- Please provide this author with all certificates relating to 1920 No Dot pennies to assist in research and potentially cancel erroneously attributed coins.
- Continue to issue PCGS blog posts that assist collectors, being mindful of who you reference. Suggested authors with loads of info available include Mark and Kath of The Purple Penny, Eric Eigner of Drake Sterling, Andrew Crellin of Sterling and Currency, Fred Lever, Neal Effendi and Dr David Briggs.
- Hire an Aussie numismatist who can assist with attribution as an aid in quality control.
About the 1920 No Dot Penny – TBC
This post will be updated with further evidence that supports or negates 1920 No Dot attributions as the evidence is located, verified and uploaded. The blog post will then be updated to date of newest edition. Checking the principle page of https://topendcoins.com.au/ will show an updated post at the top of the reading list. Updates will also be posted to https://www.facebook.com/topendcoins.
Feedback welcome in comments below.