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GROOVIE MOVIES

Proof vs business strikes

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GROOVIE MOVIES

Good day all

I was reading through the previous topics in this forum and stumbled across a question on business strike 1936 farthings. See link below.

My question is, were separate dies used for proofs and business strikes prior 1990s?

It is well noted that modern proof dies are specially treated to emphasize the frosted device or fields on reverse proofs.  However I've always been of the opinion that pre-1990 proofs and business strikes were struck from the same dies... 

A polished die would be used until the die was no longer usable and would degrade in various stage. First stage the mirror fields would wear away resulting in a proof like matte field, after which coins were no longer double struck. The single struck coin that then follows portrays no frosting resulting in a business strike, and after imperfections such as cracked dies etc would present itself if the die continued to be used.

This process would explain the low mintage on business strikes for certain years such as 1931 tickey, 1936 farthing and 1988 Silver rand. It could very well be that the SA mint put an immediate halt to striking circulation tickeys in 1931 at an early stage resulting in 66 business strikes. Or that there might never have been an intention to strike circulation farthings in 1936 due to the adequate mintage the previous year, and that the few business strikes that followed were just the last run offs of the proof striking process. This certainly explains why there are low mintage business strike silver rands throughout the 1980s as silver rands for circulation purposes had stopped being minted after 1976 and any circulation strikes that followed would have been over face value and designated for the numismatic/silver bullion market.

I would be interested to know how many coins can be struck from a single die before it no longer produces a proof coin. We see coins bordering proof/unc all the time from the 80s. The 1986 Johannesburg rand is a classic example with very weak frosting, but still slight mirror fields on a few specimens doing the rounds on the open market.

regards Robert 

 

 

 

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jwither
On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 8:00 AM, GROOVIE MOVIES said:

I would be interested to know how many coins can be struck from a single die before it no longer produces a proof coin. We see coins bordering proof/unc all the time from the 80s. The 1986 Johannesburg rand is a classic example with very weak frosting, but still slight mirror fields on a few specimens doing the rounds on the open market.

regards Robert 

 

 

 

I don't know the details of the striking of proof coins.  However, in reading others (mostly on the NGC and PCGS forums) who know a lot more about this than I do, striking more than "X" number of coins (past the life of the die) does not suddenly produce a business strike coin instead of a proof.  If the die is used past its useful life, the quality of the coinage will deteriorate and eventually, the die will break.  The distinction between a proof and a circulation/business strike is the method of manufacture.

On the 1936 farthings, I don't believe any of the coins currently labeled by NGC as "MS" are really circulation strikes.  I have posted in these topics and it makes more sense to classify these coins as "specimens" per one of the Heritage auction descriptions.  I haven't inspected the coins directly and it probably wouldn't make any difference if I did, but it makes more sense to me that the coins are actually impaired proofs.  The recorded mintage for the 1936 proof set is 40, so maybe these were just extras that were inferior though I have zero evidence of it.

But regardless, it's evident that the consensus doesn't consider these coins to be proofs either, or else the prices would be much higher.

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