Coin Curiosity

Exploring Old and New Coins of the British Commonwealth

1999 Australian Two Dollar Varieties

Posted on 07 September 2018

The introduction of a new obverse design for Australian circulating coinage in 1999 saw small adjustments to the obverse dies for a number of a denominations part-way through the production of 1999-dated coins. The reason for these adjustments have not been stated but it is likely that the changes were to optimise production of coins with the newly introduced obverse design.

Although the 1999 two dollar coin is reported to have two different varieties - an obverse legend close to and rim and obverse legend far from rim (p204, McDonald, Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes, 2017) - there are no varieties. A careful examination of the alleged varieties shows that the legend is the same distance to the rim on both. The difference appears to be due to variable strike quality of the 1999 two dollar coins - many show rims that taper into obverse field rather dropping straight down, or double rims around part of the obverse due to slightly off-centre double strikes. These different strike attributes contribute to the appearance of a wider gap between the legend and the rim than there actually is.

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