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Ball Test Tokens - Charlton Catalogue Error?

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1677 Posts
 Posted 05/07/2021  4:36 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Smallcentguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have had a brass Ball test token for a while (TT1.15). It is on the left in the pictures below. I recently bought the "TT1.15" in the George Bell auction. I had a hunch from the photo that perhaps ICCS had made a mistake on the cert and this was really TT1.14.

Well the coin came today (cut out of the flip in the photo on the right) and I had two surprises. First, my old TT1.15 weighs 2.65g, which does not match the Charlton catalogue listed weight of 3g. Second, my new copper one comes in at 3.24g, which does not match the Charlton catalogue weight of 2.5g. These are both a bit esoteric so there are not many around to check. But I would be curious if others have coins they could weigh. I suspect Charlton is incorrect.

Sorry for the lousy photos.

Edited by Smallcentguy
05/07/2021 4:37 pm
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 Posted 05/07/2021  5:32 pm  Show Profile   Check SPP-Ottawa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SPP-Ottawa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know the weight of my brass 'Ball' token, it is now in a PCGS holder.
"Discovery follows discovery, each both raising and answering questions, each ending a long search, and each providing the new instruments for a new search." -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

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 Posted 05/22/2021  09:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t_y to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Test token are exactly that: test tokens.

Through time the Mint used this denomination and standard dies to experiment with different metals/alloys, sizes, machines, pressures and dies. These pieces were also used to test counting and vending machines - that is the origin of the most common pieces we normally see, as many tokens were not returned to the Mint.

Note that test tokens were (and still are) used to experiment not only for Canadian coinage but also for Mint customers: foreign coinage and medals/souvenirs.

Later the Mint released some "test tokens" as souvenir pieces. Those should not be considered real test tokens, and should have received a different catalog number. Take for example the twoonie test tokens from 1995-6 (rare!), the souvenir tokens from 1996 (common), and the 2006 version (abundant). Although with the same devices, it is easy to differentiate one from the other. Charlton however considers them the same. Another example of "not really test tokens" are the 25c and $1 sets that come in pliofilm strips - these were sets issued for the Mint sales representatives, never intended to inform new coinage.

Charlton (very outdated) information is based on a limited number of documents published by the Mint and the input of some collectors. The documents describe the plans, not the reality of the shop, as a result, the catalog lists tokens that were planned but never struck such as the tri-metallic twoonie and ignores tokes that resulted from tweaks in the production. Collectors (as I was in the past) amass pieces from various origins, most of them coming from market tests.

I have a number of test tokens unlisted in Charlton. Years ago I did not got them listed because those pieces were not in the Mint documentation although they were on my hand. They all came from the Mint after the coinage tests were over.

Re-writing the test token section of the catalog would be an Herculean task, not only to gather the information but also because it will chatter many pre-conceived opinions.

... and I am not even mentioning the salesmen tokens and other catalogued souvenir pieces ... all that is on my 'good grief' files.

(Edited for additional information)
Edited by t_y
05/22/2021 10:51 am
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