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1936 farthing revisited

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We all remember the 1936 farthing sold in January on Heritage Auctions for 12.650 dollars. There was a lot of controversy surrounding that coin, with some collectors thinking it was an authentic business strike, while others believed it to be an impaired proof. In my view Alex Urizzi made a convincing case for the coin being an impaired proof with the lacquer removed. See this thread on BoB.


It is obvious that there is no way of turning a business strike into a proof coin by tampering with it. But quite the opposite seems to be true of turning a proof into a business strike. My question now is whether there is any way of finding out whether a coin used to be a proof but was turned into a business strike, perhaps because the business strikes for the coin in question are worth much more than the corresponding proof coins? The case made by Mr. Urizzi on the 1936 farthing was so convincing because he showed that probably no business strikes at all were made in 1936.


But there are other cases where you'll find the proof coins offered far more often than the business strikes. So the scarcity of the business strikes by far outweighs that of the proofs. Take for example this 1947 florin on ebay. Not in great shape. But could it be that someone tampered with a proof to get a nice business strike and ended up with this less than perfect business strike look-alike? Is there any way of telling whether a coin used to be a proof or not? What do the experts say?




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"My question now is whether there is any way of finding out whether a coin used to be a proof but was turned into a business strike"


My answer to your question is no because it is the strike which determines whether a coin is a proof or a circulation issue. What you are describing is simply an "impaired" proof or one which by US standards has a grade below 60.


But as with this coin, that does not mean that it will be recognized as a proof. I bought a partial 1947 proof set and the 2/6 came back NGC MS-63. This coin was not particularly attractive and did not have a mirror finish. Later, I sent it back in for conservation and regrade and it came back (correctly) as a PR-63.


In the example you gave, I suppose that someone could create wear on a coin such as that one, but given that a circulated 1947 2/ is not worth that much more than a proof, I would consider it pointless. The effort would far outweigh the benefit. (I also consider the current bid of $172 for that eBay coin absurd. An equally scarce 1946 NGC XF-45 2/6 sold on Heritage about a month ago for less than $100.) ) This is going to be true for practically every South Africa coin because the market currently penalizes any coin below MS disproportionately. Assuming someone could get away with it, the 1931 silver are among the few (and maybe only) coins where it would be worthwhile financially.

Edited by jwither

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The Proof is in the Pudding ...


I am glad some have been convinced, but I am still waiting ...



Originally Posted by


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.


So, as Alex has promised that "all will be revealed" in his and Invinci's long awaited catalogue regarding the dies, I for one will be first in line to order their catalogue.



Pierre .


Ps : As a contributor to their catalogue supplying them with all my records regarding
coin prices realized, it was however a shock to be called names (Professor of all things) as a thank you for all my efforts in helping them.

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