2000 50 Cent MIllennium Incuse Flag PCGS MS 63
Obverse: Ian-Rank Broadley portrait of Elizabeth II to right, legend around.
Reverse: Australian national flag with denomination and legend.
This is a mint-state example of a popular and enigmatic decimal variety coin.
In the middle of 2006, a dedicated collector of Australian decimal coins noticed that there were 2 different varieties of the "Millennium Flag" 50 cent coin released by the Royal Australian Mint across 2000. The centre of the flag on a small number of these coins was clearly lower than it was on the majority of the coins seen - they were recessed or "incuse".
Other dedicated collectors contacted the Royal Australian Mint to find out how this variety may have come about - there was some thought initially that it may have something to do with the coloured coins that were included in the proof coin sets of that year.
An official response from the Royal Australian Mint put that theory to bed, as their explanation advised that they had initially intended to include a 50¢ with an incuse flag in the Uncirculated (Mint) coin sets for that year and that a single reverse die with that characteristic was prepared. Shortly after that, the Mint chose not to go ahead with this variation in design for the coins in the Uncirculated Mint coin sets.
Interestingly, the die was not defaced or discarded but was presumably added to the batch of standard dies that had already been prepared to strike coins for circulation.
It is believed that approximately 200,000 coins were struck from that single die, which is a tiny fraction of the overall mintage figure of 16,600,000 coins.
Statistically, this means a collector has an 83 to 1 chance of finding one of these coins in their change!
That ratio is surely far higher now that the variety has been identified, and many examples have been removed from circulation and added to collections.
This particular example shows original surfaces, an absence of wear on the high points of the design, and minimal bagging in the fields either side.
It is a wonderful memento of what was an exciting chapter in Australia's decimal numismatic history.
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