Rare Mirror Brockage from Egypt

This is a remarkably clear and dramatic brockage error 5 Piastres from the Sultanate of Egypt. It shows an incused, mirrored image of the obverse in place of the reverse. Though the AH1333 date appears twice, the obverse design is absent, and consequently it is not known whether this error was struck in 1916 or 1917. According to Wikipedia:

Brockage errors are caused when an already minted coin sticks to the coin die and impresses onto another coin that hasn’t been struck yet, pressing a mirror image of the other coin into the blank coin. Brockages are relatively rare among modern coins of industrialised countries where mints exercise a strict production control and somewhat less rare among the modern coins of some developing countries which operate their own mint; in good condition, coins with clear brockage are a collector’s item and can sell for substantial amounts of money.

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What makes this particular error so interesting is that when this error was discovered, it got enough attention to be featured on the front page of La Bourse Egyptienne (December 7, 1929 issue). The coin is illustrated, with a caption describing the “great interest” numismatists have given this coin where “the reverse is written in reverse.”



Retrograde Dates and Denominations

As stated in this blog in the past (see here and here), there is a number of Arab coins that have errors as part of the die used to create the coin. This is due to an error in design or engraving. A particularly fascinating form is when part of the legend appears in retrograde.

The coins of Muscat & Oman, which were also briefly discussed in this blog, contain a few varieties of retrograde Hijra dates. Specifically, some of the many varieties of the 1/4 Anna coin dated AH1315, have the date in retrograde, with one variety where the characters are also in reverse order. Both varieties are illustrated below.

Retrograde date with characters in correct order:

Retrograde date with characters in reverse order:

Another example that is worthy of mentioning is the Egypt 5 Piastres of AH 1277, regnal year 4. In this case, the character “4” designating the regnal year is the one that was retrograde (actually, upside down but with a retrograde effect). Both examples of a normal and a retrograde 4 are illustrated below.

Example of normal 4:

Example of retrograde 4:

Iraq Kingdom 20 Fils of 1932

One of the key coins in the Iraq Kingdom series is the 20 Fils of 1933, which is also dated 1252 Hijra. The correct date is 1352, but a small quantity was made with error dies and is now highly sought after. As scarce as it is, this coin is even rarer when collectors factor in grade, as this coin is very seldom available in anything better than VF.

Below is an example of a the 20 Fils, one with the correct Hijra date and the other with the error variety:

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The NGC census shows 6 examples graded with the error date. The breakdown is as follows:

  • F – 2 examples;
  • VF – 2 examples;
  • AU53 – 1 example; and
  • AU58 – 1 example, which is currently in our collection.

Incidentally, we handled most if not all of the above examples. PCGS lists none in their population report.


Notorious Blunders

On more than one occasion, and in more than one country, a coin was minted in production quantity after passing all QC measures, only to be returned to the drawing board due to mistakes in the wording. Today, I will present three examples of this.

The first takes us back to 1949, when Jordan first issued coins. The Jordanian Dinar consisted of 1000 Fils and the coins included 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Fils. The interesting part is that the coin designer, W. M. Gardner, must have thought that the singular was “Fil” while the plural was “Fils”. In fact, that was not the case and the correct Arabic singular was “Fils”. The coin, nonetheless, was made as a “Fil” and fixed some time later.

The second is a Saudi 25 Halala coin dating back to sometime around 1972 (1392 on the Hijra calendar). In Arabic, the word for “twenty five” changes form depending on its placement in the sentence and the gender of what it describes. Mistakenly, the wrong form of the word was used by writing خمسة وعشرون instead of خمس وعشرون. This was later corrected, naturally.

The third is an Iraqi 500 Fils coin dating back to 1982. Again, the wrong form of the word “Fils” was used and had to be corrected later upon discovery. The initial, incorrect form was “فلسا” and it was changed to “فلس”.