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New Zealand 1956 Strapless Penny

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The first obverse die used to strike Queen Elizabeth II New Zealand pennies was found to be unsatisfactory as the portrait was of too high relief causing the shoulder strap on the Queen's clothing to appear indistinct or missing as a result (p72, Pepping, New Zealand History Coined, 2017). A second obverse die with a clearer shoulder strap was prepared and used on the coinage of Great Britain from 1954 onwards but was not deployed for the striking of New Zealand coins until 1956. The 1956 penny was struck using both the old 'no shoulder strap' and new 'shoulder strap' obverse dies (p73, Pepping, New Zealand History Coined, 2017). The 'no shoulder strap' pennies can be identified by the second stroke of the U in QUEEN pointing between rim denticles while the shoulder strap pennies can be identified by the second stroke of the U in QUEEN pointing at a rim denticle.

A total of 3,600,000 1956-dated pennies were struck but it is not known how many were struck using the old 'no shoulder strap' dies. It is estimated that just 50,000 coins were produced using the old design (p7, Mitchell, The New Zealand Coin & Banknote Catalogue, 2007) making it a scarce variety.