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Pierre_Henri

A second MS 1936 Farthing discovered (and graded)

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Quoting FACTS from Heritage's records

 

Hi Georg

 

Why are you always so aggressive? All I am doing is quoting direct from the Heritage website which states - against this listing:

 

Item Activity: 1 Internet/mail/phone bidders 454 page views

Anyone who is a Heritage Member can view the link above and see this for themselves. If there was a bid from the floor it is not noted on this listing.

 

The jury is still out on whether it is a great investment - it certainly wasn't for the last buyer who paid ZAR100,000 for it.

 

Perhaps you can tell us what the seller got for his coin in RANDS AFTER Heritage's fees - that might help followers of this forum to accurately assess the past investment history of this controversial coin.

 

As a matter of interest an 1896 Pond sold for US$23,000 (with Buyer's Premium) at this auction: South Africa: Republic gold Pond 1896,... South Africa - nearly twice the price of the "business strike" farthing! According to Heritage it had SIX BIDS despite getting just a third of the page views of the farthing. (The Farthing was a featured coin in this auction). Heritage notes KRAUSE: for the 1896 Pond: $300 in VF, $575 in EF, $1050 in UNC

 

Now that's a great investment for the seller and possibly the buyer!

 

PS Done my own research on Heritage regarding fees on the 1936 "business strike" farthing (these figures should be close to the mark). Heritage charge 15% buyers premium - ie US$1650 on US$12650 - suggesting the coin sold for US$11,000. If we work on a seller commission of 10% we arrive at the figure of about US$10,000 to the seller of the coin - or well under ZAR70,000 as I suggested in my post above. If my figures are right the buyer of this coin slabbed by NGC has lost about a third of the money he paid out for the coin last year.

Comments Georg?

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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geejay50

Hi Scott,

Please dont get personal with me (note Cuan) and there is nothing aggressive in my reply. I am telling you that there were two bids on this coin, one that was well before internet bids closed that started the bidding at $10,000 in other words $11,500 with buyers premium and that bid was raised during the live session to $11,000 which translated to the final selling price with 15% Buyers Premium of $12,650. It needed two bids to get there, not one.Those are the bare facts and the collector's community should not be under the impression that there was only one bid.

Truth be told

Geejay

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ALJADA

Hello Fellow numismatists & collectors,

 

I have been underground for some time now due to the massive workload that needed completion for the upcoming website COINGUIDESA. Fortunately my end is pretty much complete save for certain manageable items which will be completed in the next week. I therefore have not had the time to reply to this thread nor did I know it existed until today.

 

In the past I have written many explanations regarding similar issues, all of which were backed up by hard facts, only to see such explanations being watered down by subsequent replies filled with useless innuendo designed to distract the readers from the significance of my explanations. I am at the best of times not a people person and I have often found it difficult to continue writing as I have due to these replies. I deal with matters of dispute with a fist not a keyboard or pen and rather than drive myself to the point of madness I chose to selectively reply to some issues and to ignore others completely regardless of how inflammatory they may be to me personally. Fortunately not all is lost because all my work to date plus my current work will be available on the website for the benefit of all who wish to have access to it. For now, however, I feel I must offer my opinion on the subject of this thread but without breaching my contractual obligations to the website and at the risk of being labeled one of the "petty gallery of uninformed so called experts"!

 

The entire thread lacks what I perceive as being the most important content namely factual evidence or information regarding the validity of a claim that any 1936 business strike farthings were struck or factual evidence to the contrary. There are a plethora (I learnt this word in the movie "THE THREE AMIGOS" many years ago from its bad ass character "EL GUAPO" and use it extensively ever since, more often when I drink tequila) of aspects in numismatics that can be considered subjective but in this case there can be no possible inclusion of subjectivity. Either some 1936 farthings were struck with non proof dies or they were not. Here is my opinion on this question:

 

POINT 1:

 

What is the origin of the claim that 3 1936 farthings were struck with non proof dies?/What is the origin of the claim that 3 1936 business strike farthings were struck?

 

The following are the only pre 1973 references I can offer:

 

"The Coins of South Africa" Alec Kaplan 1972; page 25; Third Reverse Suid - 1/4D. -; Coin no. 224 1936..............RRRR; Quantity minted 43; UNC R (BLANK)

 

"THE SOUTH AFRICAN COIN COLLECTORS' HANDBOOK" Allen Jaffe 1970/71; page 63; 1/4d; Date 1936; Mintage 43 (PROOF); UNC (BLANK)

 

"The Coins of South Africa" Alec Kaplan 1969; page 27; Third Reverse Suid - 1/4D. -; Coin no. 224 1936..............RRRR; Quantity minted 43; UNC R (BLANK)

 

"The Coins of South Africa" Alec Kaplan 1964; page 30; Third Reverse Suid - 1/4D. -; Coin no. 411 1936..............RRRR; Quantity minted 43; UNC R (+)

 

The origin seems to me to have come from the layout of catalogues in more recent years where the proof sets mintage has been included in the same line as the total mintage and without explaining the obvious. This in turn has resulted in the obvious becoming something totally different & now contentious, whereas 40 years ago it was not even discussed. Take a look at the layout of the above catalogues and compare it to a later one such as HERN 1991:

 

 

357741_110201092532_CATS_1THRU4.jpg

 

Note how in each of the preceding catalogues there is no info/value under the UNC column & in JAFFE the mintage is clearly marked as being all proofs. Then in Hern 91 the introduction of the proof set quantity is included but labelled as being the proof mintage.

 

POINT 2:

 

J.T. Becklake was the last Deputy Master of the Royal Mint Pretoria & the First Director of the South African Mint. The year 1936 was during his tenure as deputy master and therefore it is safe to assume his knowledge regarding this particular year would be more than sufficient to offer possible evidence re the thread issue. Therefore the following should be of significance:

 

"FROM REAL TO RAND" J.T. Becklake ND (1963); page 42; Chapter VII Gold, silver and bronze coinages of the Union of South Africa; 1936. No farthings struck except for the specimen sets.

357741_110201070323_becklake_rtr.jpg

 

Could the mint have struck 43 proofs but then on inspection decided to only make up 40 sets leaving 3 proof coins, which perhaps were substandard, for us to argue about?

 

POINT 3:

 

The manufacture of dies is very specific and a proof die cannot all of sudden become a business strike die. Furthermore a defective planchet struck with proof dies would inevitably yield a substandard proof coin but such coin can never be deemed as being a business strike. It is an impaired proof and always will be an impaired proof because it was struck using proof dies.

 

The die register for farthings in 1936 shows only one reverse die as being sunk and therefore it follows that only one die could have struck all the 1936 farthings, which in turn suggests that they are either all proof struck farthings (with perhaps some impaired specimens) or they are all business strikes, no exceptions. The question then remains whether such die was of proof quality or not?

 

POINT 4:

 

All the proof farthings pre 1937 that exist today and which I have had the pleasure of inspecting, have one characteristic feature that is common to all of them, namely that each & every one of them were not shellacked or blackened as some call it. Whilst this is 100% in accordance with records from the time as well, the same is not true for business strikes from the same period. All business strikes were shellacked post 1924 and such shellacking was black in colour. There are some specimens that clearly do not have any shellacking but these are very seldom seen and their authenticity is more often than not, questionable in so far as how the lack of shellacking came to be. The following pictures are of several obverses and reverses of proof & business struck farthings from the time and should support the statement that proof coins were clear lacquered & business struck coins were shellacked black. Therefore the appearance of a 1936 business struck farthing would be far more plausible if it were shellacked.

 

 

357741_110201093222_BOB_F_MSPF.jpg

POINT 5:

 

The proof farthings were all clear lacquered during this period and this was done to protect the surfaces as well as to improve the appeal of such coins. Removal of this form of coating would result in disastrous surface preservation damage no matter how such was done and the expected smooth, undisturbed & lustrous surfaces exhibited by proof coins would not be there. The thing with lacquering is that it attaches itself to the microscopic top layer of a coin and when you remove it it takes that layer with it and perhaps more because that layer is attached to layer below it! Such a coin would be dull and have an uneven texture to its surfaces as well as exhibiting none of its original prooflike surfaces. In actual fact there is a method I know of to change the proof like surface of a copper coin to something resembling a business strike. It is done by simply applying lacquer or nail varnish to the coins' surfaces and to remove it after it has been left to dry and take hold. Dangerous & futile in my opinion but it works if you have the patience to wait a few years for the coin to naturally tone back as any other artificial toning would not yield any worthy result except to show that its surfaces have been altered.

 

 

CLEAR LACQUERED SPECIMEN:

 

357741_110201093807_LACQ_1.jpg

 

 

 

LACQUERING REMOVED:

 

 

357741_110201093914_LACQ_REMOV_1.jpg

 

 

The above coin with title "lacquering removed" is one of the NGC graded MS specimens and up until the recent online auction no one would or could supply me with a decent picture to inspect its claim to being a MS coin. I needed all of a few seconds to recognize the characteristics of a coin that has had its lacquer removed. This is unequivocally one such coin.

 

I have no doubt that the 1936 farthings that are said to be business strikes are nothing but impaired proofs woefully graded by the NGC.

 

Alex Urizzi

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dennrein

Excellent research!

 

Dear Mr. Urizzi,

 

I am truly impressed by your research. Keep it up! Like everyone else I'm looking forward to seeing it come to life on your new web site. One point I'd like clarified is how Hern arrives at 40 proofs and 3 business strikes. You seem to indicate that this derives from the fact that there were 40 proof sets and 3 substandard proof strikes. Where does this information come from? It's the only part of the argument that isn't clarified by you, though I believe it to be the crucial one.

 

On the excerpt from Becklake: is it only me or does he make a mistake with 1944. I own each of the coins he mentions for this year. They certainly aren't proofs. Seems like Becklake (as opposed to Hern, see catalogue) makes a mistake here.

 

Regards

dennrein

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ALJADA

Hi dennrein,

 

Thank you for your support. Becklake is incorrect when he makes the statement that only proof specimens were struck for the denominations florin, shilling & sixpence bearing the date 1944. Through my research I have discovered that the 1944 proof coins were actually struck in 1946 with 1944 proof dies. Furthermore the business struck 1944 florins, shillings & sixpences were actually struck in 1945. The subsequent confusion is made clear when one understands that the mint financial year end was at the end of February each year and in order to comply with the coinage act no coins could be struck with the new year prior to the start of the new financial year. This meant that if coinage was required during January & February of a particular year, such coinage would be struck with the previous year date and unless you knew first hand when coins were struck you could make the error of assuming they were struck in the new year & therefore should have the new date. This was the case in January & February 1945 where coinage was required and dutifully struck but it had to be struck with 1944 dies as the financial year end had not yet passed. Becklake was no longer at the mint and possibly never made the effort to ascertain when certain coins were struck in 1945 and therefore he must have assumed that all the 1945 strikes were in the new financial year & thus bearing the new date 1945. As we know now this was incorrect .

 

With regard to the 1936 farthing issue, I suggested that the only plausible reason for the assumption of three business strikes was due to such strikes being possibly substandard proof strikes & therefore perceived as being business strikes. The truth of the matter is they were never business strikes and the only reason for the existence of claims that 3 business strikes exist was purely due to negligence on the part of later cataloguers who did not pay attention to the finer details surrounding the striking of coins and their mintages in specific years. I have found another reference to these 43 proof coins. This reference is the oldest I have to date and dates back to 1947 and it is an excerpt from a short article written by Becklake, and in which he unequivocally states that all the 1936 farthings were proof struck:

 

357741_110202000908_sa_numis_cover_1947.JPG

357741_110202000958_sa_numis_cover_1947_001.JPG

This should be sufficient to satisfy all sceptics.

 

Cheers

Alex

Edited by ALJADA

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Algreco

And the crowd goes wild...

 

In my "view", Alex Urizzi is the leading authority when it comes to Union coins. This numismatist has done thousands of hours of research, and has published a handful of journals detailing his findings. The unfortunate part is that Alex has explained the reasoning behind why the coin in question is an impaired proof and not a true uncirculated specimen (and quite comprehesively I might add).

 

 

I would just like to reiterate my point, based on Alex's most recent posts.

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Guest Guest

Negligence could be the word

 

Alex says

 

With regard to the 1936 farthing issue, I suggested that the only plausible reason for the assumption of three business strikes was due to such strikes being possibly substandard proof strikes & therefore perceived as being business strikes. The truth of the matter is they were never business strikes and the only reason for the existence of claims that 3 business strikes exist was purely due to negligence on the part of later cataloguers who did not pay attention to the finer details surrounding the striking of coins and their mintages in specific years. I have found another reference to these 43 proof coins. This reference is the oldest I have to date and dates back to 1947 and it is an excerpt from a short article written by Becklake, and in which he unequivocally states that all the 1936 farthings were proof struck
What Alex is saying above is so critical to many aspects of South African numismatics that have become a minefield.

 

Just because someone has published a coin catalogue he is not necessarily an expert in everything he covers.

 

So much of the work carried in coin books is simply parroted in a different form but who's origins can be traced back to an earlier FLAWED publication. In my view Hern's catalogues simply collate what the author sees to be as widely accepted viewpoints but reflect no independent research on crucial subjects at a personal level by the author.

 

The KEY when it comes to credibility is to look at their source - if disclosed. If not disclosed then we are dealing in less than credible information based ONLY on the author's publication. With Hern my personal experience has been that the author has no interest in even looking at research (regardless of its relevance) if it contradicts what he has published.

 

This same argument of doing your own research applies to all areas of our hobby - the reason I always tell collectors to establish a specific area of interest, do your own research, and be open minded when knowledgeable collectors challenge the "establishment view" - especially when they can support their claims with facts.

 

The buyer of this coin on BoB a year ago most probably bought an impaired proof incorrectly graded as a business strike. http://coins.ha.com/common/view_item.php?Sale_No=3012&Lot_No=25535&Lot_Id_No=75001. That is the danger of accepting everything you read in coin catalogues which do NOT provide sources.

 

I am in total agreement with Alex's posts and look forward to the launch of the new website.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Pierre_Henri

What about the 1933 and 1934 dates?

 

So even if no business strikes were issued in 1936, why did the mint indeed struck a few dozen business strike farthings for 1933 and 1934? And if nobody knows the answer to this, why would one question the 1936 date but not the other two dates?

 

Maybe Alex can comment on the above...

 

Kind regards

 

Pierre

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dennrein

What does Hern say?

 

Perhaps Anthony Govender could ascertain how Hern arrives at his figures of 40 proof and 3 business strikes. I seem to remember him being amiably acquainted with Brian Hern - it would be interesting to hear his version seeing as all this research does point in a different direction.

 

Regards

dennrein

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EWAAN Galleries

Hi

 

No Author Including Brian Hern can be 100% correct with mintage figures - and nobody on this forum can prove true mintage figures.... But now all of a sudden NGC and Heritage are wrong....

 

And here everyone making their own conclusions....

 

Sad how when we happy with NGC and Heritage then we back them up and when we disagree then we run them down.....

Edited by EWAAN Galleries

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Guest Guest

Integrity

 

Hi Mohammed

 

You say

No Author Including Brian Hern can be 100% correct with mintage figures - and nobody on this forum can prove true mintage figures.... But now all of a sudden NGC and Heritage are wrong....
Open debate on facts relating to our hobby is healthy and good. As you would know I have always welcomed it on this forum in my specific area of expertise. We all learn and grow in our knowledge from this debate.

 

What is not good is when those publishing books on coins refuse to even check the sources openly supplied by those who KNOW MORE than they do in specific areas of South African coins when it challenges what they have previously published.

 

As I said before publication by most coin publishers is 99% of the time based on simply drawing from what others have said in the past regardless of the true facts.

 

ie they are not independent experts who have done their own research on South African coins, they are just plagiarists by way of replicating previously published technical information as well as commonly held beliefs regardless of their authenticity. This is what Alex appears to be explaining when it comes to the 1936 1/4 and his reference to misreading of earlier catalogues.

 

In my view numismatists who have spent years studying very specialised aspects or areas of our hobby have a tremendous amount to offer (I know of many who fit this label) but they are often scared to speak out because the "mainstream view" will try to shut them up.

 

PS It is somewhat surprising that some modern coin catalogues have no reference to websites which provide related information. One would think that that would be a natural extension to broadening the readers understanding of related areas.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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ALJADA
Hi

 

No Author Including Brian Hern can be 100% correct with mintage figures - and nobody on this forum can prove true mintage figures.... But now all of a sudden NGC and Heritage are wrong....

 

And here everyone making their own conclusions....

 

Sad how when we happy with NGC and Heritage then we back them up and when we disagree then we run them down.....

 

Firstly, I do not draw my own conclusions nor do state that anyone is wrong! Secondly, from what I have written one does not have to draw ones' own conclusions because the evidence is self explanatory and proven, so your comment that nobody can prove mintage figures is complete trash because I have proved exactly what the mintage figures are. Unless you have some other documented proof proving otherwise your comments are, in my opinion, unfounded and should be ignored.

Alex

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eZethu Coins

 

Sad how when we happy with NGC and Heritage then we back them up and when we disagree then we run them down.....

 

I don't think it is necessary to pick to support them or not - just to realize that they do also make mistakes from time to time - like is evident in some of the gradings from NGC on odd occasions or incorrect slabbing. Overall they are still credible.

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qball

Please keep the debate on topic and do not argue with other posters... argue the post not the poster.

 

Thank you

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Pierre_Henri

Only 66 non-proof 1931 Tickeys were minted: WHY ???

 

. I have found another reference to these 43 proof coins. This reference is the oldest I have to date and dates back to 1947 and it is an excerpt from a short article written by Becklake, and in which he unequivocally states that all the 1936 farthings were proof struck:

 

357741_110202000908_sa_numis_cover_1947.JPG

 

357741_110202000958_sa_numis_cover_1947_001.JPG

 

This should be sufficient to satisfy all sceptics.

 

Cheers

Alex

 

This is VERY interesting...

 

What Becklake is saying is that 31 x Proof 1933 Farthings, 26 x 1934 Proof Farthings, and 43 x 1936 Proof Farthings were struck.

 

What we all know - and there is absolutely NO DOUBT about it, is that the following number of proof sets were struck for these years : 1933 (20), 1934 (24) and 1936 (40).

 

So if we follow the above source, we have a BIG DILLEMA in that Becklake "misses" some rather serious coins here ...

 

Farthings for 1933 (Becklake states 31 but ONLY 20 minted so 11 unaccounted for) 1934 (Becklake states 26 but ONLY 24 minted so 2 unaccounted for) and then the 1936 date (ONLY 40 minted so 3 unaccounted for)

 

I fully understand that there is a possibility that the 16 "lost" farthings (11 + 2 + 3) could have been rejected proofs or trials or whatever - never intended as business strikes.

 

But Becklake cuts a lone figure in these numbers as Engelbrecht, Krause, Bickels, Hern, van Rensburg et al, have serious differences, as according to ALL of them, the missing figure grows from sixteen (16) to eighty-seven (87) being 56 + 28 + 3. So now the missing number grows from 16 "lost" farthings to 87.

 

But, as a last question that would make me VERY HAPPY, if anyone could answer it, is the following ...

 

Of the 1931 Tickey, 128 were minted of which 62 were proofs, - - NOBODY disputes this as far as I know....

 

So here is my question: Why were 66 of the 1931 Tickeys minted as NON-proofs : - certainly they were NOT meant for actual circulation - so if 66 could be struck in MS, why on earth could the same VERY LOW numbers not be struck for the farthings we are discussing?

 

If the South African Mint could mint 66 non-proof 1931 Tickies (obviously never intended for circulation), then CERTAINLY the Mint could do the same 2 and 3 and 5 years later to any other coin : in this instance the Farthings we are talking about?

 

Kind regards

 

Pierre

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Guest Guest

1931 Tickey

 

Hi Pierre

 

When I met with Dr Frank Mitchell at his home in Cape Town in 1978 I asked him what his most prized South African piece was. He told me an UNC 1931 tickey.

 

He went to his safe and brought the coin out, held simply between his thumb and forefinger. He put it on the soft fabric covering the table we were sitting around. I looked at the coin and he said "Pick it up and have a look"... I held it carefully between my fingers and looked at this extraordinarily rare coin which was in absolute mint condition.

 

I asked him how we had found it and he explained that every day, in the 1930s, he used to buy bag fulls of tickeys and go through them one at a time. This was his finest find - in a bag full of tickeys from the bank!

 

I often wonder where that very special coin is today!

 

PS You can see a letter Frank Mitchell wrote to me in 1978 where he refers to my visit (still have it!): http://www.tokencoins.com/letters/mitchell1.jpg

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Pierre_Henri

That EXACTLY proves my point ..

 

When I met with Dr Frank Mitchell at his home in Cape Town in 1978 I asked him what his most prized South African piece was. He told me an UNC 1931 tickey. (...) I asked him how we had found it and he explained that every day, in the 1930s, he used to buy bag fulls of tickeys and go through them one at a time. This was his finest find - in a bag full of tickeys from the bank! Scott Balson

O my word - that EXACTLY proves my point. Thank you for that info Scott.

 

I was wrong in thinking that the few dozen 1931 unc tickies were never intended for circulation - see my last post above yours - BUT if Dr Frank got that tickey from the bank, then it was indeed (with the other 65) meant for circulation.

 

Sooo - that leaves us with my original question that NOBODY suddenly seems to have an answer for ...

 

If a few dozen tickies could be minted for general circulation (proven by the one found by Dr Mitchell as reported by Scott) in 1931 WHY ON EARTH could the same not be true of farthings minted two, three and six years later?

 

Pierre

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ALJADA

Because professor, unlike the 1931 threepence, which had several reverse dies sunk (which suggests that both proof & business strike dies were sunk & therefore both types of strikes would exist), the 1933, 1934 and 1936 farthings only had one reverse die sunk for each corresponding year, which means that either a proof die was sunk for each of these years or a business strike die was sunk for each of these years. Since we know for certain that proof farthings were definitely struck for these years we then can deduce that the die that was sunk for each of these years was in fact a proof die and hence no business strikes could be struck and hence none could exist today!! Capisc??!! This surely cannot be that difficult to grasp?

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Pierre_Henri

The Proof is in the Pudding ...

 

Because professor, unlike the 1931 threepence, which had several reverse dies sunk (which suggests that both proof & business strike dies were sunk & therefore both types of strikes would exist), the 1933, 1934 and 1936 farthings only had one reverse die sunk for each corresponding year, which means that either a proof die was sunk for each of these years or a business strike die was sunk for each of these years. Since we know for certain that proof farthings were definitely struck for these years we then can deduce that the die that was sunk for each of these years was in fact a proof die and hence no business strikes could be struck and hence none could exist today!! Capisc??!! This surely cannot be that difficult to grasp?

 

No, it is not difficult to grasp if you could please give us some proof of this. And also compare it against the information you have on the number of reverse dies sunk for say the 1935 and 1937 Farthings (compared against the 1933, 1934 and 1936 dates)

 

Kind regards

 

Pierre

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ALJADA

Hi Pierre, unfortunately some things I cannot show on the BOB forum because I would be in breach of my contract with the website COINGUIDESA but all of this information including the proof you seek will be available on the website. Another reason for my reluctance to provide such proof is that it would be futile to do so because someone would inevitably come up with some post diverting the attention from such proof as has happened many times with my work on the forum and therefore the best place for it is on a platform where its importance cannot be watered down by somewhat useless and irrelevant innuendo. Also, its amazing what happens to information/knowledge when one has to pay for it as opposed to acquiring it for free!

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Pierre_Henri

I am in doubt and you knocked me out.

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