1945-Y Penny Double Sided - Tails good VF
Obverse: Bust of George VI to left, legend around
Reverse: Denomination above date, legend around
Alloy: Copper | Diameter: 30.80mm | Weight: 9.288g
This is one of only 2 genuine double-sided Australian predecimal coins known.
Double-sided coins are among the most incredible error coins that are available to collectors. Because most normal people only ever look at one side of a coin at a time, error coins like this can bounce around in circulation for years at a time, only to be finally discovered by an eagle-eyed member of the general public.
This particular coin is one of only two known genuine double-headed Australian coins struck before 1966.
It first appeared in an article in the Australian Coin Review magazine in December 1967, where it attracted some understandably spirited commentary from the editor.
So unusual is it to see a coin with the same designs on both sides we shouldn't be surprised that the editor stated "This is an exceptional piece, and ... it must certainly be a fabrication..."
He went on to say that "If by some chance someone played games at the Perth Branch Mint, by making both obverse and reverse dies the same, this would be an exceedingly rare and interesting piece. It could happen, but the likelihood is extremely remote."
As the ACR editor stated back in December 1967, "...there is no evidence to the eye that two pieces have been joined."
On that basis, even though the likelihood of this coin existing is without doubt "extremely remote", we conclude that it is a genuine product of the Perth Mint.
We have examined the edge and the outer rims of the coin under very high magnification, and can see no evidence at all of the coin is either the result of two machined halves being joined together or of two coins being machined with one inner section inserted into another.
As the magazine article indicates, this coin is off-set at one o'clock. The original owner stated that he found it in change in Newcastle (New South Wales) and that it had been "... shown on our local TV station and they arranged to have tests made by metallurgists at the BHP steelworks. They made several tests with other 1945 pennies and they all appeared the same including the weight and as far as they could tell it appeared genuine."
So extreme would the mistake have to be for a coin like this to come about by accident, it's clear that it is likely to have been struck intentionally during some downtime during production.
A romantic explanation for the existence of this incredible coin is that there was some "sport" at the Perth in the dying days of the Second World War.
Some of the minting staff perhaps decided they'd celebrate the end of their wartime service by striking a memento of their time.
It'd probably be a shame to put it to the purpose it was most likely struck for - to win a two-up game, but as it's had an active life to date, a few more years of service probably won't harm the condition much at all.
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