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AardHawk

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2P Articles and Chronology

The first report of 2p varieties occurs in David Sealy’s Coin Varieties column, COINS, July 1971.

Amazingly enough it has taken until now for anyone to come up with any variation in the new decimal 'coppers'. first generally released in February. J. C. Thompson writes from Berwick-­upon-Tweed that there are two varieties of the 2p now in circulation, both common, which differ from the coins included in the sets issued earlier. Rev. A (as issued in the 1968 sets): Within those parts of the three crosses which join them to the band of the coronet, incuse lines follow their respective curves, forming tri­angles. There are also two incuse lines, above and below the five jewels on the band. Rev. B (as issued on D Day); Similar, but the triangles are much reduced in size and less clear, and there are no lines above and below the jewels. Rev. C (as issued on D Day): Similar, but there have been retouches to the turned-over tops of the plumes in the form of incuse lines, especially on the left, where the tip of the quill is now represented by two incuse lines which do not meet-this has the effect of making it point almost vertically downwards instead of slightly to the left. A is scarce and seems to be confined to the sets; in circulation C is perhaps a little commoner than B.”

The next report also in COINS, October 1973, and also in David Sealy’s Coin Varieties column.

Another very interesting item, for which I am also indebted to Mr Sturgess, is in the current 1971-dated 2p. It will be re­membered that in July 1971 (p. 18: see also 1973 Coins Market Values, p. 85) we des­cribed three varieties of this coin discovered by J. C. Thompson. We now have a fourth (Reverse D), most closely resembling Reverse C, but in which the incuse lines on the turned-over ends of the central and left plumes are quite different. In Reverse C the fourth and fifth incuse lines from the right on the top of the left plume meet; in Reverse D they do not, and further to their left an incuse line runs more-or-less vertically right across the tip (see illustra­tion). The type seems to be rare: Mr Sturgess only found the one specimen, in circulation. “

The next entry of interest from the December 1973 issue of COINS is an advert from the Royal Mint for the new 1971 Proof Set of 1971 Decimal coins. “Our first decimal coins­ the complete 1971 proof set for £3·25.”

The next detail of note is the announcement of a series of proof sets for 1972 through to 1976. This appeared in the March 1976 edition of Coins and Medals and also in the March 1976 edition of Coin Monthly. “Prices for the sets, inclusive of postage and packing, are £6.75 for the 1972 set and £5.25 each for the 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 sets. The 1972 through to 1975 sets were available immediately and the 1976 later in the year.” 

A letter to the editor from E.B Mackenzie in Coin Monthly July 1978

I bought two Proof sets of 1972 decimals for some reason-though only one set of each of the others. I found that, on comparing the two '72 sets, all the' coins except the crowns and the .02 pennies had different reverses. So, every 1972 Proof coin, except crown and .02 penny, has two different reverse types. Interesting.”

A follow up letter to the editor from E.B Mackenzie in Coin Monthly January 1979 referring back to his earlier letter.

I had an interesting letter of explanation from the Royal Mint, referring to the 1972 Proofs, and I presume that the same explanation could account for the different reverses of the. other years in question. It was pointed out that, 'during the course of production of the 1972 sets, new reverse tools were made for all denominations except the 25p. In the case of the 2p, the new tools were available so early that it may be that all tbe 2p Proofs were the same type.' The new reverse tools referred to were punches and matrices, from which new dies were sunk.”

A further letter to the editor from E.B Mackenzie in Coin Monthly March 1979 expounds on all the coins in the proof sets. With regard to 2 pence coins:

Twopence

1971            the upright of E of NEW points to a space between border beads

1972           the upright of E of NEW points to a border bead

1973-75    both types

1976-78    the upright of E of NEW points to a border bead”

And

The only coin out of pattern is the 1972 2 pence. I have not found the reverse with the upright of E of NEW pointing to a space between border beads, but I feel it MUST exist. The Royal Mint has said that 'new reverse tools were made during the production of 1972 Proofs, but in the case of the TWO PENCE the new tools were available so early it may be that all the two pence Proofs were of the same type'. But why then revert to the old type dies in 1973 to 1975, when both types were produced?”

The first major article on two pence varieties was E B Mackenzie published in COIN on the 30th November 1979, The Plumes on your Pence. This follows on from his earlier letters and describes seven reverse varieties and four different obverses. Reverses A-D are the same as those posted earlier in COINS, July ’71 and Oct ’73. Reverses A-E and G are all minor varieties relating to changes in the left and central plumes and details on the coronet (and in the final article by Ron Stafford published in September 1987 are all referred to as Reverse A). Reverse F is the only other major reverse variety and is later referred to as reverse B.

The 25 Jan-7 Feb 1980 edition of COIN (formerly Coin Monthly) has an article “Decimal Bronze ½, 1 & 2 Pence Varieties 1971-79” by Iain W P Dracott, K B Wiles and Ron Stafford. This expands on the previous article by E B Mackenzie adding slightly more detail. A Correction and addendum to this article from Iain Dracott was made in the 7 Mar-20 Mar 1980 Coin.

The October 1984 issue of COIN MONTHLY (formerly COIN) sees Iain WP Dracott’s “Addendum to Decimal Bronze”. This article formalises and reclassifies the various Obverses and Reverses giving die pairing for both circulation and proof coins and mention is made of the BU specimen sets that were introduced in 1982.

The final major article on UK decimal coinage is Ron Stafford’s “Coin Varieties: Latest Discoveries” in the July through October 1987 editions of Coin Monthly. This series summarises and in some cases reclassifies all previous published data and truly forms the basis for all future studies. It is his Sept 1987 article which forms the basis of my own studies. I have retained his classifications for dates up to 1986 and extended them with my own data through to the final “Ironside”  2 pence (type 13E, plume 9) in 2008.

The last article of any kind is Patrick MacKenzies’s The 1990 UK Circulation Coinage in the April 191 edition of Coin Monthly, wherein he discusses the then new trend of the Royal Mint issuing coins in sets with slight differences to those in circulation!

One final point that needs noting is the size of the boarder beads varies some what  with those in the sets being generally smaller and further from the rim than the circulation issues.  Its very easy to convince yourself that there are variations in bead size and position on the circulation issues, but I believe its an illusion and I can never see them the following morning!

Decimal 2 pence Obverses and Reverses

Obverse 1

  • (1) 139 bb.
  • (2) 1 in 19 lt bb.
  • (3) A in ELIZA to sp.
  • (4) E in ELIZ to sp.

Obverse 2

  • (1)  139 bb.
  • (2)  1 in 19 to bb.
  • (3)  A in ELIZA to bb.
  • (4)  E in ELIZ to bb.
  •  

Obverse 3

  • (1)     135 bb.
  • (2)     1 in 19 lt bb.
  • (3)     A in ELIZA to bb.
  • (4)     E in ELIZ to sp.

Obverse 4

  • (1) 136 bb.
  • (2) 1 in 19 lt bb.
  • (3) A of ELIZABETH to sp.
  • (4) E in ELIZ to sp.

Obverse 5

  • (1) 136 bb
  • (2) 1 in 19 rt bb.
  •  (3) As obverse 4 except that the date has been moved

Obverse 6

  •   (1) 136 bb.
  •   (2) D to bb
  •   (3) R to sp
  •   (4) 1 of 19 lt bb.
  •   (5) I in ELIZ rt bb
  •   (6) A to sp
  •   (7) 1st I of II to bb.

Obverse 7

  •   (1) 135 bb.
  •   (2) D rt bb
  •   (3) R to bb
  •   (4) 1 of 19 to bb.
  •   (5) I in ELIZ to bb
  •   (6) A rt bb
  •   (7) 1st I of II rt bb.

Obverse 8

  •  (1) 135 bb.
  •  (2) D lt bb
  •  (3) R rt bb
  •  (4) 1 of 19 rt bb.
  •  (5) I in ELIZ to sp
  •  (6) A to sp
  •  (7) 1st I of II sl bb.

Obverse 9

  • (1) 136 bb.
  • (2) D to sp
  • (3) R rt bb
  • (4) 1 of 19 rt bb.
  • (5) I in ELIZ to bb
  • (6) A rt bb
  • (7) 1st I of II lt bb.

Obverse 10

  • (1) 135 bb.
  • (2) D sr bb
  • (3) R sl bb
  • (4) 1 of 19 to bb.
  • (5) I in ELIZ rt bb
  • (6) A to sp
  • (7) 1st I of II lt bb.

Obverse 11

  • (1) 135 bb.
  • (2) D lt bb
  • (3) R sr bb
  • (4) 1 of 19 sr bb.
  • (5) I in ELIZ sl bb
  • (6) A to bb
  • (7) 1st I of II to bb.
  •  

Obverse 12

  • (1) 133 bb.
  • (2) R to bb
  • (3) F to bb
  • (4) 1 of 19 to bb.
  • (5) I in ELIZ sr bb
  • (6) E to bb
  • (7) 1st I of II sl bb.

Obverse 13

  • (1) 132 bb.
  • (2) R to sp
  • (3) F lt bb
  • (4) D sr bb.
  • (5) I in ELIZ lt bb
  • (6) E lt bb
  • (7) 1st I of II sr bb
  •  

 Reverse A

  •   (1) 142 bb.
  •   (2) L Leg of N in PENCE to bb.
  •   (3) E in NCE to bb.
  •  

Reverse B

  •   (1) 139 bb.
  •   (2) L Leg of N in PENCE to sp.
  •   (3) E in NCE to sp.
  •  

Reverse C

  •   (1) 135 bb.
  •   (2) P in PENCE to sp.
  •   (3) 1st leg of N lt bb
  •   (4) E sr bb
  •   (5) T sr bb
  •   (6) W to sp.
  • (7) Legend reads TWO PENCE

Reverse D

  •   (1) 135 bb.
  •   (2) P in PENCE rt bb.
  •   (3) 1st leg of N to sp
  •   (4) E to bb
  •   (5) T sr bb
  •   (6) W rt bb.

Reverse E

  •    (1) 134 bb.
  •    (2) P in PENCE lt bb.
  •    (3) 1st leg of N rt bb
  •    (4) E to bb
  •    (5) T to sp
  •    (6) W to bb.

The Plumes on your Two Pence

E.B.Mackenzie gave each Reverse with a different plume/coronet a unique letter and he also gave each plume a unique number as follows:

Reverse  Plume

  • A        1
  • B        1
  • C        2
  • D        3
  • E        4
  • F        5
  • G        1
  • H        6
  • I        7

Reverses H and I were added by Iain WP Dracott and I allocated them plume numbers

Please note that from 1987 onwards, Reverses A-E and G-H become Rev A, Reverse F becomes B and Reverse I becomes C.

Summary of Die Combernations

Nb; The lower case letter or number following the Reverse letter is the old pre ’87 reverse or later plume number that I have allocated.

Circulation 

  •     1971      - 1Aa,b,c,d
  •     1972-1974 - None minted
  •     1975      - 1Ad and 1Bf scarce
  •     1976      - 1lAe and 1Bf fairly scarce
  •     1977      - 2Ae,g
  •     1978      - 4Ag
  •     1979      - 4Ag,h      
  •      1980      - 4Ae,g,h and 4Bf very scarce
  •      1981      - 4Ag,h
  •      1982-1984 - None minted
  •      1985      - 6Ci
  •      1986-1988 - 8Ci
  •      1989      - 10Ci
  •      1990-1991 - 8Ci
  •      1992      - 8Ci and 8D10   
  •      1993      - 10Ci and 10D10 and 11Ci
  •      1994      - 8D12
  •      1995-1996 - 10D12
  •      1997      - 8D12
  •      1998      - 12D12 Bronze and Cps
  •      1999      - 12D12
  •      2000-2001 - 13D12
  •      2001-2008 - 13D10             

Bfdc set     

  •  1971        1Aa

BU sets  

  •      1982-1983 - 4Ci
  •      1984          - 5Ci
  •      1985          - 6Ci
  •      1986          - 7Ci
  •      1987          - 8Ci
  •      1988          - 9Ci
  •      1989-1990 - 10C8
  •      1991-1992 - 10D9
  •      1993-1994 - 10D11
  •      1995          - 10D9
  •      1996          - 10D11
  •      1997          - 10D9
  •      1998-1999 – 12D9
  •      2000-2003 – 13D9
  •      2004-2008 – 13E9     

Proof sets  

  •      1971          - 1Ad
  •      1972-1975 - 1Ae and 1Bf
  •      1976          - 1Bf
  •      1977          - 3Bf
  •      1978          - 3Bf, scarcer, and 4Bf
  •      1979-1981 - 4Bf
  •      1982-1983 - 4Ci
  •      1984          - 5Ci
  •      1985          - 6Ci
  •      1986          - 7Ci
  •      1987          - 8Ci
  •      1988          - 9Ci
  •      1989          - 10Ci
  •      1990-1992 - 10D9
  •      1993-1994 - 10D11
  •      1995-1997 - 10D9
  •      1998-1999 – 12D9
  •      2000-2003 – 13D9
  •      2004-2008 – 13E9     

 

 

 

Edited by AardHawk
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Coins 728x90

 

The Plumes on your Two Pence

These are MacKenzies and the later 1980 and 84 updates descriptions. 

Rev          Usage                                                     Plume         Description

Aa Bfdc set, Curr.71.  1   Has an incuse line above and below the jewels in the crown band. The triangles at the bases of the crosses and lis, just above the crown band, are quite distinctly cut.
Issued in speciman sets, incuse lines to the middle of the crown. 2nd upright of N points slightly right of a bead.
Ab Curr.71. 1   Does not have any incuse lines, and the triangles are only faintly discernible.
Ac Curr.71.  2   Has recut plumes, which do not seem to have been repeated, so far, in other coins.
Large triangles on top of crown.
Ad Curr.71,75 Proof 71. 3   Again has had the plumes recut, with the central one particularly noticeable.
More numerous and straighter lines on left plume with central line directly throught it.
Ae Curr.75,76,77,80 Proof 72-75.  4   Similar to reverse D but thicker raised lines on left plume curving more to the left. This was probably the result of using old dies.
Once again has had the plumes recut, with the central one is especially recognisable.
Left plume has no central line through it and thicker raised lines curving more to the left, also used for some of thr proof two pences.
Ag Curr.77,78,79,80,81.  1   Similar to Rev B, but has a scalloped ledge between beads and rim.
Similar ro reverse B but with thicker and fewer lines to left plume and curving even more to the left. Second upright of N of NEW points to the right of a bead.
Ah Circ 79, 80 and 81  6   Similar to Reverse D but with the left plume being of flatter appearance, and the thin raised lines curving more to the left. The central line running through the plume reappears.
Bf Curr.75,76,80 Proof 72-81.  5   Also has recut plumes, and a distict central one.
Ci BU set, 82-84 7   This most resembles 1971 reverse B and 1977-80 rever4se G in style regarding left plume. The 1982 date only found in specimen sets issued to the public.
Edited by AardHawk

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