Diagnostic die cracking on front

  • In July 1923, the Melbourne Mint received an order to produce £1,000 of halfpennies and in September of that year three pairs of dies were prepared. This was the first time that the Melbourne Mint had struck halfpennies and the dies were obviously of a poor standard as one pair of dies was immediately returned to the workshop. The two remaining pairs that were used deteriorated so quickly that the vast majority of 1923 halfpennies exhibit diagnostic die cracks particularly in the obverse legend. Another tell-tale marker of the 1923 Halfpenny also relates to the obverse. Two of the high-grade coins that have been observed have grainy or porous services on the obverse which indicates that at least one of the obverse dies that was used was rusty indicating prior use, thus raising the prospect that they were redundant dies recalled from the Sydney Mint. Only a small number of coins were struck before the dies ultimately failed making this one of the rarest halfpennies and so open to forgery. The most common 1923 Halfpenny forgery found in old collections involved removing parts of the left side of the '8' in the date of the 1928 Halfpenny to approximate a '3'. Besides the shape of the resultant '3' being thinner in form, the centre divide is also straight rather than tilted down as occurs on the 1923 Halfpenny. The legend on the reverse of the 1923 Halfpenny is also straight based when compared to that of the 1928 Halfpenny which is slightly curved. Another commonly found forgery involved replacing the first '3' in the date of a 1933 Halfpenny with a '2', as most people are inclined to look at the last digit when determining whether a 1923 Halfpenny is genuine. Even if you can't pick the altered date you should look to the legend, as the 1933 Halfpenny has strong curvature to the base of the letters on the reverse when compared to the straight based letters found on the 1923 Halfpenny.
  • Condition:
  • 7th & 8th pearls are visible but fused

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November 7, 2021 12:00 PM AEDT
Paddington, Sydney, Australia

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