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Question: How To Estimate Surviving Population Of Old World Coin?

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 Posted 08/01/2020  09:15 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add thegrendel to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I just bought an 1892 South Africa penny on eBay. Mintage is 83,000, so I guess it's pretty rare in the general scheme of things. I'm wondering how many of these babies have actually survived. I don't imagine too many were saved back in the day, so I guess an off the cuff estimate might be maybe 10%, or 8,000 or so, which would make them pretty rare. Am I way off base? What say ye?
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 Posted 08/01/2020  11:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I will be interested to hear others' views on your question.
Or even whether there have been attempts to do these kinds of estimates/calculations.

But here's my take:
- A quick look at the NGC census shows 1,243 examples have been graded, another 239 at PCGS, for 1.8% of the total mintage graded.
- An eBay sold items search shows 14 examples sold in the last 90 days, 13 raw and 1 slabbed (13:1 ratio).
- Coin archives shows a 6:1 ratio, but of course the population in that database would be skewed toward slabbed coins

I think it's more likely that upwards of 20% of these have survived.






Edited by tdziemia
08/01/2020 11:34 am
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 Posted 08/01/2020  10:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Numister to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply



We'll need a Coin Cerebro.
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 Posted 08/02/2020  07:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Guessing survival rates of any coin is difficult. Guessing survival rates of coins issued by an extinct country is even harder. Many of the ZAR coins would have been actively withdrawn and destroyed by the British after they won the Boer Wars. I doubt that any specific records of the destruction would have been kept. Many of the surviving coins were turned into "Shawl pennies", the ZAR equivalent of "hobo nickels". Silver and gold coins suffered a similar fate, probably to an even more extreme degree as precious metals are far more readily recycled into new coin than bronze. The ZAR veld pond, for example: more than 50% of the known surviving examples are either mounted as jewellery, or ex-mount damaged.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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 Posted 08/02/2020  08:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thegrendel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
An interesting and informative response, Sap.
Sounds like a topic for a PhD research paper.
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 Posted 08/02/2020  08:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
We'll need a Coin Cerebro.

Not gonna try to claim that title, but what I did was take the ratio of raw coins to slabbed coins in one known population (13:1), then apply it to the known total slabbed population to get an estimate of the surviving population. That makes one big assumption, namely that the eBay sold items population over a narrow time window is "representative" of the population of surviving coins. I would feel better about that assumption if there were something like 100 or 1,000 coins, not 14.


Quote:
Many of the ZAR coins would have been actively withdrawn and destroyed by the British after they won the Boer Wars.

I had that same thought, but I also wondered if some might have been saved for nostalgic purposes by the non-British population. Though I suppose it would have made more sense to save silver.


Quote:
Sounds like a topic for a PhD research paper.

Already done for non-obsolete series: https://www.researchgate.net/public...oins_Carried
The trick would be how to adapt these results to a case with a discontinuity like this.
Edited by tdziemia
08/02/2020 08:51 am
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 Posted 08/02/2020  12:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For non-obsolete coins, the CCF may have some excellent information-just go to the roll hunting forums. Based on what is found in circulation, what % have been lost/ hoarded after a certain number of years.
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 Posted 08/03/2020  12:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thegrendel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
>> The trick would be how to adapt these results to a case with a discontinuity like this. <<

It's an interesting article, but I'm not sure it applies to the original question. Phenomena with large sample sizes do tend to more or less be described by a power law or inverse power law -- a mathematical curve. But if you're dealing with a mintage of a few tens of thousands then it is indeed correct to describe it as discontinuous, or at least somewhat unpredictable. What it pretty much comes down to is "my guess is as good as yours."

I've learned a lot from this thread, and I thank all who took the time to respond.
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 Posted 08/03/2020  2:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
By discontinuity I meant that the series was discontinued over 100 years ago. The research paper was written for coins that are still in circulation. SO, you could have applied it to the number of surviving coins in 1898, but then as pointed out by @Sap, you would have had that coinage replaced by the British coinage. That's not a circumstance that's modelled in the paper.

I agree with your final conclusion ... but there is evidence it's higher than 10%.
Edited by tdziemia
08/03/2020 2:42 pm
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 Posted 04/19/2021  08:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ryneveld to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What a really interesting topic. I have the full collection of bronze/silver ZAR coins between 1890 and 1898, specifically focusing on the 1894 Penny. My view is a survival rate of 20% plus, although some will have had holes drilled in them others with trench art. Over the past 5 years or so there have been about 20-30 for sale at any time on (EBay and Bid &Buy). I agree the British would have destroyed ZAR coins post 1902, I also think that Boer people would have melted coins for their silver value as they were very poor rather then keeping them for sentimental value. This is only a personal view though.
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 Posted 04/19/2021  2:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add newguy22 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is a very interesting topic and I enjoyed reading all of your responses . I was asking myself a similar question when I posted a topic earlier on a Danish West Indies 40 cent piece that sold for much higher than catalog prices.

From reading what all of you have said, I think a 10%-20% survival rate is a fairly good estimate, although I wonder if specific events in a country's history can greatly affect the survival rate. For example, say a country experienced a war, invasion, severe economic downturn, or abrupt changes in authority and power in the years after those coins were made. Wouldn't the survival numbers of those coins be considerably smaller than a coin of the same age minted by a relatively stable country?

Here are a few examples that come to my mind when asking this question:


Italian Eritrea 1 Lira ; Apparently, roughly 4 million of these coins were pulled from circulation by the Italians, immediately decreasing the survival rate to less than 10% back in the day.


Free City of Danzig 5 Gulden ; From looking over the coinage this city produced in the years after 1927, crowns like these became significantly more valuable than their face value was willing to pay, so I think it would be safe to assume that many were melted even before the Nazi invasion and further destruction of many of these coins.


Mombasa Imperial British East African Company 1/4 rupee ; Just an incredibly hard coin to find online, perhaps due to high circulation velocity given it's smaller denomination and valuable metal content.

Comparing the survival rate of these coins to a Barber quarter from 1890, a Peace dollar from 1923, and a Barber dime from 1890, and I think it's apparent that historical events in a country's / region's history can play a significant role in the survival rate of any coin. Mintage numbers are also extremely important I think.

Something that frustrates me about collecting world coins is the general lack of easily-available information on how these coins were used and what people did with them over the years. Obviously people used coins to buy things and trade goods. But how common were people in these communities melting their coins because of inflation or government mandate? Did a coin from the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek find itself in Kenya, Congo, or Nigeria after the Boer diaspora that resulted from the Dutch losing their wars with Great Britain, and were these coins acceptable in daily commerce? Answers can generally be found in Research Journals, but not in great detail. If only money could talk
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 Posted 04/19/2021  3:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For 19th century French coins I use the estimates that are published in Le Franc. These are undoubtedly low.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
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 Posted 04/24/2021  06:03 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ryneveld to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
At the end of the Anglo Boer war in 1902, no further ZAR coinage was minted, although they remained in circulation till 1923. The South African Union was established in 1910 and a branch of The Royal Mint was established in Pretoria in 1919 (Mint Act 1919). The first Union of South Africa pound and coinage was minted in 1923 and from then on was the only coinage used. In my view many ZAR coins were then retained for sentimental reasons as they no further use. Does anyone know if there was a policy of melting down old ZAR coins after 1923?
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 Posted 04/24/2021  06:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ryneveld to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The following ZAR coinage was withdrawn and melted down. 10/- one third; 5/- nil; 2/6 and 2/- about one half; 1/- about one third; 6d, 3D and 1d negligible amounts. A correction on my previous message, during 1923-1937, Kruger silver coinage was withdrawn, not in 1923 as previously stated. My reference is 'Catalogue Of The Coins Of South Africa - Stan Kaplan F.R.N.S
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 Posted 04/24/2021  8:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wizened to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This can be an interesting topic for specific coins that are valuable despite seemingly high production. I believe that there was nearly a whole 8 reales mintage that was sunk at sea on the way to China (China would arrange to buy 8 reales from the Mexican mints).

Another is the Australian 1925 penny: Krause catalogues list mintage of 1,639,000. The Australian Coin Chart 1965-1966 though lists mintage of 117,240. I believe the story is that most of the coins were never released, but instead were melted. You can bet almost all old standard silver coins held in a mint were melted when a new standard was emplaced (say when British coins went from Sterling to 50% silver).

There are many possible ways that a mintage could be shrunk without an explanation being commonly available. Also a mintage can be expanded, as when a bank vault containing an overlooked bag of pristine Silver Dollars from a less common year is discovered and released.

As to the original question, presumably most surviving 1892 Pennies are held by numismatists now. Numista gives a mintage of 27,862, collector frequency number 25% for the 1892; Numista gives a mintage of 54,781, frequency number 4% for the 1893; Numista gives a mintage of 10,769, frequency number 14% for the 1894; Numista gives a mintage of 262,830, frequency number 81% for the 1898. NGC gives vastly different numbers for mintage. And it was not even so long ago! It would appear that NGC has the better mintage numbers based on trading value. Numista collector frequency seems to correlate to NGC mintage numbers.

Your guess of 10% surviving may be about right. But that still leaves a lot in proportion to the numismatists who collect those coins. If it were an American coin it would be much in demand. Given that 1893 pennies sell for $300-400 in high grade, and given that mintage was apparently only 11,000, and few collectors on Numista report having one, that is the very rare coin of the series.


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