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1942 die cracks

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Hi all

I see this topic was brought up before my time in 2011 but didn't garner much discussion. 

What are your thoughts on the die cracks on 1942 silver coins, most notably shillings and half crowns? 


The previous discussion mentioned crack dies are from "last coins issued" before dies were due for replacement, commonly accepted by many. This doesn't explain the prevalence of die cracks 1942 though. Was there a sudden laps in quality control that year? 

The mintages for this period might offer a clue as we see for the first time six pence, shillings and half crowns being struck in excess of 3million. Up until that point about 2 million (with the odd exception) would have been the highest numbers struck for these coins.

So if high mintages are to blame, what about the shillings and half crowns of the next year? 1943 shares similar mintages but offer less prevalent die cracks.

My thoughts are this ramp up in production could undoubtedly been due to the ongoing WW2 efforts.

For example shillings saw and average mintage of about 900 000 (with exceptions) over the 1920's and 30's, but production increased rapidly 1940 (1.36mil), 1941(1.8mil) to 1942 (3.86mil). With such a rapid increase, the mint would have been (in my opinion) in uncharted waters in 42.

If an established number of dies were used prior for a million mintage, this was well exceeded in a short period. And where imperfections in past would have warranted die change, they were probably regarded as acceptable at the time due to the high demand for coinage.

By 1943 the mint would have learned out of the previous year's experience and have prepared more dies for the expected demand. 


Of course this is just my observations on mintages. There could have been other factors involved.

regards Robert



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