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1974 Fiji pattern 1 cent

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From 1977 to 1982 the Fiji 1c was struck with a special FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation - part of the UN) reverse with the legend GROW MORE FOOD. What is less well-known is that an apparent pattern Fiji 1c dated 1974 was struck, though it remains unclear why it was struck.

The pattern coin in question bears no denomination though is apparently a 1c (likely based on its size), though unlike a regular Fiji 1c it reportedly has a reeded edge. The obverse is similar to that of a regular Fiji 1c but the legend is in a more curved font, and the Queen's hair appears flatter but more deeply cut. The reverse bears the legend OPERATION FEED YOURSELF SELF RELIANCE and shows a farmer with a hoe and what could be a sugar cane plant.

Whether the coin is a true pattern is unclear - an example has been verified by NGC but no history or details are offered. The use of a new obverse is perhaps not unexpected for a commemorative, but is not necessarily expected either. The reverse is the same as was used on the 1975 Ghana two pound medal struck at the Royal Mint, which suggests that the coin is indeed a trial or pattern, though it is unclear to what end. It may have been struck as a trial for the 1975 Ghana two pounds but it would be unusual for the trial to be struck in a reduced size (17.5mm diameter compare to the 28.4mm Ghana two pounds). It may also have been struck as a trial for Fiji using the most relevant reverse design available in the absence of a bespoke design (the reverse legend is not typical of an FAO coin - the legend on such coins was typically FOOD FOR ALL or GROW MORE FOOD (p7, Armiento, FAO Coins International Catalog, 2013). The apparent use of a reeded edge is puzzling too as all other Fiij 1c pieces have a plain edge. While more research is required it seems probable that it was struck at the Royal Mint using two obviously mismatched dies.

An example was sold by Stephen Album Auctions on 20th September 2014 in Sale 20 as lot number 2962 for $440. An example was also sold in Heritage Auction's 25th April 2019 Weekly World and Ancient Coin Auction 231917 as lot number 64217 for $420 USD. A cupronickel example was sold by Noble Numismatics in November 1995 in Sale 49 as lot 1034 for $350 AUD.