It has been determined that the entire mintage of 1922 ‘Indian’ obverse pennies were struck by the Perth Mint, but what has not been widely acknowledged is that there are two distinct varieties of this type.
The ‘Indian’ obverse dies that were used had been sent directly to the Perth Mint from Sydney and these were coupled with reverse dies sent from the Melbourne Mint.
In January 1922, the Melbourne Mint had received new Birmingham reverse master-hubs from London dated ‘192_ ‘, and had produced master dies bearing the new ‘1922’ date. From the master dies, working dies were produced, and in March the Melbourne Mint sent through ten ‘1922-dated’ dies to the Perth Mint.
However, only about 30% of the Perth-struck 1922 pennies have the unaltered Birmingham reverse which is typified by the ‘flat-based’ lettering in the legend. The Melbourne Mint was clearly still enamoured with its emergency 1919 //. reverse master-die that it had back-engineered from a ‘Birmingham’ working-die it had received from London, and which is distinguished by a slightly modified legend, and the majority of ‘1922’ reverse dies supplied to Perth can be attributed to this source. Thus approximately 70% of the ‘Indian’ obverse pennies struck by Perth show evidence of ‘serifying’ on the base of the letters.
Both varieties are rare in grade but the ‘flat-based’ version is doubly so. PCGS does not distinguish between the two varieties in its census but the ‘Benchmark’ 1922 Penny with ‘flat-based’ lettering still tops the register with a grade of PCGS MS64BN. The coin was originally owned by Jerome Remick who co-authored the ground-breaking “Guidebook and Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins”.
This extremely rare coin will be offered for sale by Smalls Auctions on 2nd September.
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