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1918 Half Sovereign: No Mintmark?

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 Posted 06/09/2021  3:05 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add gerardmatt to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Hi members:

I am writing in connection with finding out how this coin exists as it is not supposed to according to records, and what it is likely to be worth to a collector. It was given to my friend by her grandad when she was born, around 35 years ago. I am pretty sure it is genuine as he was a coin collector.

I have carefully examined the coin, which definitely is a half sovereign and appears to have no mintmark in comparison with other photos of similar coins, which all have a small 'P' above the date. Based on what I have read there were only around 300 of these coins minted in Perth and dated 1918, apparently they are not known to have been minted anywhere else.

I would be grateful for any help you can give us in researching this.
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 06/09/2021  3:51 pm  Show Profile   Check PaddyB's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add PaddyB to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

It is probably a jeweller's copy, despite coming from a coin collector. These were made in large quantities, mostly in the Middle East in the 1920s and 1930s. (Often called "Beirut copies".)
It is probably still gold, but may be a lower carat than 22.
Edited by PaddyB
06/09/2021 4:01 pm
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 06/09/2021  4:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gerardmatt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the input. Very interesting to hear that there are potentially many fakes going around of this coin, even still made from gold. Makes you wonder how anything can be reliably authenticated in this day and age. Surely, however, if they were faking this coin they would have included the 'P' mintmark?
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 Posted 06/09/2021  8:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It is indeed a "jewllery copy"; the design details are much cruder compared with a genuine half sovereign. There are a lot of details missing, such as the "B.P." designer's initials.

They were not faking these coins to try to fool anybody into thinking they had a rare or valuable coin. They were simply putting their gold into a form that was convenient and readily accepted and traded. At the time, both buyer and seller would be aware that the coins were likely to be replicas, it simply didn't matter to them - they were buying and selling the gold, not the coin. And if a foreign tourist came in to buy, then no need to explain to them that the "coins" were not real coins - they were real gold, and that was all that mattered in the deal.

The people who made these coins usually made a slight profit, either by making their coins have slightly less gold in them (21K instead of 22K), or they used 22K gold but made the coins slightly less heavy.

They still make and sell "coins" like these, in the gold market in Dubai. The law in Dubai allows counterfeit/replica gold coins, so long as actual gold is used, and the manufacturer of the replica places a mark of fineness somewhere on the coin. So if you see a small number "21" or "22", written in either Western or Arabic numerals, somewhere on the coin, then it is a modern Dubai replica. If there's no mark, but it's still fake, then it makes it more likely to be an earlier Lebanese copy.
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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