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VickySilver

Panama Rarity: 1982 FM One Balboa (U) “Ley 0.500”

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Posted (edited)

Mintage: reported 11 pieces

This coin is of ordinary design but considered a mule as the reverse has the indicator “Ley 0.500”, which is Spanish for 0.500 silver. This coin is obviously copper nickel and not proof and was not issued in any specimen sets; this coin looks to have been in a bag with bag marks, but how big could a bag of 11 pieces be? LOL

There are other 1982FM one balboa coins known but without the “Ley 0.500” reverse. They are also of uncirculated (U) quality but seem to all be from sets issued by Panama itself and not the FM. Mintage of these coins and sets appear to be 500, so they are scarce in their own right. 
 

The other Ley mule coins are:

one Balboa:

- 1975 and 1976 uncirculated “Ley 0.925” - no FM mark, issued by Royal Canadian mint 10k pieces in sets and singly

five Balboas:

- 1975 and 1976 uncirculated “Ley 0.925” sans FM mark, issued by RCM mint 10k pieces in sets and singly

- 1982FM uncirculated (U) “Ley 0.500” in Bank of Panama sets, Mintage probably 200.

- 1982FM Proof “Ley 0.925” issued in FM proof sets, in both 8 and 9 coin sets. IMO in my experience these are of about equal appearance and therefore likely similar Mintage to the ordinary “Ley 0.500” coins. Actual fineness of silver coins in all proof sets was 0.500.

 

- Then there is the pattern 1983FM Proof 1/4 Balboa “Ley 0.500” that is seemingly unique and struck in copper nickel. This may have been a pattern for an 80th Anniversary of country founding that for whatever reason was never struck

I am unable to download pictures so may ask again for assistance  

 

Edited by VickySilver
Clarify

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Again, for 11 pieces, why bother?

Is this a coin for which the dies were mysteriously sold off or was that another Panamanian coin?

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Posted (edited)

I believe it was actually FM struck with supposed mintage of 11 as stated from the FM source. Don't know if I believe that or not.

Interesting that you bring up the point as was discussing just this with another forum member. A certain dealer in the mid-Atlantic USA (initials LH) got hold of dies from the US mint and the FM (somehow). He may have been the source of a number of OMS strike Panama coins like the somewhat famous 1947 [150] Balboas gold coin and the 1953 and later silver and gold struck coins. Also the (in)famous 1982 piefort 0.400 fine gold strikes

Also, even I got from his widow some US Mint and FM dies that were NOT cancelled (and some that were) which I have tried to save as well as possible. Some have blush of different colours in the device areas that look rather gold to my eyes. We were wondering if he had these struck...I would imagine quite a bit of money may have been made. It would be conspiracy talk but am of the belief that the late collector Richard Stuart may have known (LOL) something of this but he is now gone.

Edited by VickySilver

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Hm, the plot thickens.

Was the Franklin Mint source published in one of those early catalogues?

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No. That is a puzzler as in all my years have not seen any other instances of FM dies getting outside of that mint. Again, not first hand, but the probably secondary source (LH) somehow got hold of these as well as the US Mint sourced dies - I may have said that I know of the whereabouts of some FM and US mint dies. Much obviously is speculative given that the key protagonists have passed away - the collector Richard Stuart and dealer LH. Because of the intrigue, I want to query my friend again about some more information. I don't think LH's widow would be forthcoming, but I may see if I might ask some innocent questions (if possible!).

I want to find someone in the area with XRF to test the possible residual metal in the referred 1/4 Balboa US mint dies as if there is trace gold that would tend to be a "smoking gun". That still does not answer as to how in the world the FM dies were obtained. In any case, certainly a bit of intrigue....

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I don't know the history of the Franklin Mint but I thought it went out of business or similar and continues to exist in name only. Not outside the realm of possibility that staff kept or sold old dies.

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Would be good to know...

The "Classes" FM struck coins through 1985 but struck coins after that under much different management, examples being the BVI commems in 1992-93 and the Papua New Guinea 1995 100 Kina -  I have never seen any writeup as to what was going in later stages, or what became of their collection of dies.

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