I thought it would be interesting to write an article that covers World Samples Slabs, as a change of pace, instead just US Coin Sample Slabs. As far as my knowledge, all the reputable Coin Grading Services have issued World Sample Slabs, but are too numerous to cover them all in just one article. However, what we can cover is a very interesting myriad of samples and the World Coins they contain.
World Samples Slabs first appeared in early 1990 and are an important part of sample slab history, in both, the slabs issued and the types of coins they chose to encase, and all are a part of what makes this such fascinating hobby.
What I find interesting is why a certain coin was used but another wasn‘t, and what was the reason behind the decision to use a certain coin? I know a penny would make sense as far as cost’s go but why choose one particular country or denomination, over another, is what I find most intriguing.
These are just a few of the many unanswered questions, when talking about World Sample Slabs. I like to call them Sample Slab mysteries and we all love to learn, and think about, the mysteries involving our favorite hobbies.
In this article, I decided not only to cover the World Sample Slabs of various grading services, but some history of each coin inside as well. I think it’s interesting to learn more about the coins in the World Sample slabs, as well as the coins the TPGS‘s decide to use. You may remember a few of these samples from past articles, but this time we will look into their individual history.
So let’s start with ANACS, this sample was given out in 2003, and houses a 1965 Jamaica 1 Penny. What made them decide on this coin? I can’t answer that question and I doubt, after all this time, ANACS couldn’t answer this question either.
It does not say sample on the slab but was handed out freely. From what I know this is the real grade, and is not just for show. (It should be noted that one definition of a Sample Slab is that it must be given away by the TPGS that created it). Jamaica 1 Penny is graded MS64 and until 1969, this penny was made from copper. Then in 1970 the composition was changed to Bronze, but in 1974 it was changed to aluminum.
Now, we skip ahead a several years, and this new ANACS slab shows up. In this sample slab they have decided to use a 1967 British ½ penny. This particular ANACS Sample was handed out at the 2006 Whitman Expo. October 2006. The history of the coin is even more interesting. This coin was first made as a pattern in 1937, but never made it into circulation.
The reason for this is that it was patterned for King Edward the VIII, but he decided give up the thrown to marry outside of the ‘Royals‘. After that, his story becomes too complicated to write in detail.
Now at this time they where still using the halfpenny, with the same Britannia reverse designed used since 1672. This new design was first minted in 1937; the first Monarch to be on the halfpenny obverse was now George VI. The ship’s reverse design of the halfpenny was Inspired by the adventures of one of Great Britain’s favorite heroes, Sir Francis Drake and his ship the “Golden Hind”.
Then in 1952 Queen Elizabeth II took the thrown, after the passing of George VI The coin was then changed to show Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse. The coin stayed in production until 1970 before being replaced. It was taken out of circulation in July of 1969.
Then it was minted one last time in 1970 but only in a proof set. This coin lasted from (1937 to 1970), compared to the first one, it seems a very short run. What I found very interesting is that, George VI always faced left when looking at the coin wile Queen Elizabeth II always faces to the right. Now this is a perfect example of how a sample slab can be used to teach such an important historical part of numismatics.
Next, is an ANACS Sample Slab issued for celebration of 34 years in business. Also the fact that they moved their operations to Austin, Texas. Here they also use a 1965 Jamaican 1 cent coin. Now why this coin again? The reason is a mystery when they could have used any World Coin for this sample and, they certainly had dozens to choose from. So why use the same coin in two different sample slabs so many years apart?
I know it’s not unusual to use the same coin in various sample slabs, but world samples do not come out very often, so I would think they would change the coin.
Next, is the Enjoy The World Of Collecting sample with a 10 Centavo coin from Brazil and it was given out as part of the Young Numismatist Program. This is just a beautiful coin, and should encourage any young collector to strive to better themselves through studying and researching. For young collectors a sample like this would, I am sure, be a very exciting. Can you imagine when you where young, collecting circulated Nicole’s, and someone gave you this sample slab?
Furthermore, Brazil has an interesting history when it comes to coinage. From what I understand, in my research, I found out that there coinage was divided into three parts:
First, the Cruzeiro (Cruzeiro “Antigo”) 1942-1967 then the first Centavo is issued in 1942 and continued until 1967. The Centavo was first made from cupro-nickel, then in 1943 it was changed to aluminum-bronze. In 1964, the “centavo” coins where taken out of circulation.
Second, Cruzeiro (Cruzeiro Novo) 1967-1986 and in 1967 The Centavo was one again put back into circulation. With the 1, 2 and 5 centavos made from stainless steel and the higher denominational coins were made from cupro-nickel or nickel, and then replaced with stainless steel in 1974 and 1975.
Third, Cruzeiro from 1990-1993 with The 1, 5, 10 and 50 Centavos were issued in 1989. Brazil continued minting this issue even after the Cruzeiro was introduced. Now in 1990 the Cruzeiro coins were introduced, in 1, 5, 10 and 50 Cruzeiros and made from stainless-steel planchets.
ICG is next on my list of world samples. It includes a wonderful coin from Ireland, and is a very special sample slab, as it was made exclusively for the website sampleslabs.com. I don’t think there’s a collector of samples or coins, who does not know about this web site.
There were only 150 made and all I can say is that anyone who owns one knows how very special this sample is. This coin was chosen because it was said to bring good luck when given as a gift, at the end of a business transaction. The owner of this site never sold one of these samples, rather he gave them away, after they purchased a sample slab from him. The Irish, “Good Luck” Penny, itself was minted from 1928-1968 and 1968 is the year of the coin in the holder.
ICG produced a series called “Coins Of The World” that covered the coinage issues of several countries but just how many is not known. As I have said before no records are kept for most sample slab‘s production. Nevertheless they’re a very nice series of World Samples, and could be collected as a set.
The fun and challenge, for a collector, would be to find all the samples slabs in this series. In the below ICG Sample is a, a British 1P or One Penny, that I remember using when I was a child in England. I suppose that’s why this and the half ½ penny are my favorites. The history of this coin goes far back in history, so I will just touch on the high-lights.
So let’s start at the time of Edward VIII, this One Penny was produced, and had the date of 1937 on the coin. However, none of these coins were issued to the public, as George VIII was abdicated from his throne for marrying outside of “Royals”. This particular coin had a lighthouse as part of the reverse design and only 5 proof copies of this coin are known and two of these are in private collections.
After Edward VIII was abdicated, George VI took the throne, during his reign the pennies where popular with the public. Then in 1940 the demand was greatly reduced, because of the popularity of the new nickel and brass Three Pence coin. Between 1941 and 1943 any penny that needed to be struck kept the date of 1940.
The coins where put back into production in 1944 and where made with a low tin and bronze mixture. Then in 1945 the penny went back to the earlier alloy, but the coins began to tarnish and had a pinkish shade so the coins made from 1944 to 1946 had to be darkened artificially.
Now, let’s skip, to when Queen Elizabeth II took the thrown in 1952. At this time, the demand for the Large One Penny was low and you could only get circulation quality (business strike) ‘Pennies” in a set that had been made for her Coronation. These sets where often broken up by collectors and the 1953 pennies where sometimes found in change.
One reason for this could be that the 1953 coin was known to have a toothed border, caused by die trial runs, on the reverse like the one on the George VI penny. So people spent this coin, not realizing its rarity or type because of the edge resemblance to common dates.
The following year all the denominations were redesigned they where given more of a deep-cut portrait and revised inscription. They did strike a few 1954 pennies to test the dies. All the test pennies should have been melted down, but a single copy has unofficially survived. From what I have read and it’s been reported, that this coin showed up in circulation.
In 1961 the striking of pennies restarted, they where produced in enormous numbers until 1967. The alloy they used was the same as in 1944, a low tin alloy. The date 1967 was used even after the year had passed as the demand was still very high. The reverse design was very much like that of George VI, to the left of Britannia was a lighthouse and they used the round beads rather than teeth at the edge.
The last issue of the penny before decimalization was a proof version dated 1970. The old large pennies where taken out of service on 31st of August 1971.
Next, we have a very interesting coin from Israel; the coin is a 1949 1 Prutah The word Prutah means a “coin of very small value”. This coin was introduced just after the establishment of Israel as a State. The fascinating thing about this coin, is that it is only 1000th of an Israeli Pound.
The Pruta stopped being minted in 1960, when the Israeli government decided to change the subdivision of the Israeli pound into 100 Agorot this was a necessary thing to do with the constant devaluation of the Israeli pound, rendering coins smaller than 10 Prutot useless.
I find the color very interesting, you don’t see a gray toned coin very often, and this stands out more than other coins because of this fact. It’s a very simple coin, yet it has a very interesting design.
Here’s another ICG Sample with an interesting Mexican 1963 20 Centavos, and what an interesting coin from Mexico! Both obverses and the reverse of the coin are filled with a beautiful design. This is what I enjoy about coins from Mexico. They never disappoint when ever a new coin is minted.
The skill of Mexican coin engravers is really something to admire. This coin was first minted in Mexico City from 1943 to 1974. It was one of the longest series of coins to be minted in twentieth century Mexico. But by the end of 1971, inflation had so damaged the coin’s value, that it was worth more in copper than in face value. These coins where eventually smuggled into the United States to be sold off for their copper value. A sad ending to such a beautiful coin.
Yet, another ICG Sample that I find interesting, since it has a 1921 1C from East Africa, and because I find “holed” coins extremely eye appealing. Even with the hole the engravers are still able to make a beautiful coin. It must take great skill to engrave such a coin as this.
In the Year 1921, East Africa minted holed coins with 5 and 10 cents and silver 50 cents and 1 shilling. Now the holed 1 Cent would follow in 1922, and was made of bronze. In 1948 silver planchets were replaced by cupro-nickel. In 1964 the last of the coins where struck in the name of East Africa. During this time-frame the colonies of East Africa had gained it’s independence.
I find this NGC World Sample Slab to be one of the most interesting sample slabs ever made that includes a Mongolia 100 Tugrik. The 100T coin has a very interesting history, and was the first of several Mongolia coins issued for circulation after the end of their Communist rule in 1992.
The obverses of this coin and other coins, in the 1994 set, pictures the Soyombo and is the national emblem of Mongolia. The Soyombo was forbidden until the downfall of Communism in 1992. The Soyombo includes a lot of the symbols associated with Lamaistic Buddhism, which had been practiced for many years in Mongolia before Communist publicly banned it.
This national symbol can be found on their flag and coat of arms, it can also be found on many official documents. It’s also on the 200T but with different buildings on the reverse. I would think, considering the importance of this coin because of the National Mongolia Symbol, that NGC chose this coin for that reason. But whatever the reason it was a good choice.
Next up, is an NGC “Fatty” Sample Slab, called so for it’s thickness and weight, and is an old NGC holder. I included this U.S. Morgan Silver Dollar because of its popularity and importance in U.S. Numismatics and world-wide appeal as a collector’s coin.
Also it’s one of the most famous North American Coin and makes a valuable Sample Slab. Very few samples where made with a coin of this value, and they where only given to dealers. I am sure most coin collectors know the history of the Morgan Silver Dollar. So I will only briefly explain the details.
Most of the Morgan Silver Dollars where produced because of the so-called “infamous deal” struck between the Nevada based Comstock Lode, and the U.S. Congress. Comstock had plenty of silver, and America had an unemployment problem and economical issues, this led to the Bland-Allison act of 1878. This act of Congress was the birth of the famous Morgan silver dollar.
Unfortunately, far too many Morgan’s where produced for every day use and U.S. Citizens didn‘t care for the large silver dollar. It was mostly circulated in Western United States and was popularly used in casinos, but most languished in U.S. Mint storage vaults as backing for the paper Silver Certificates.
After 1905, their production ceased and after years of costly storage, and WWI, congress passed legislation called the Pittman Act of 1918. It called for the melting of at least 350 million silver dollars, with no records to be kept and complete disregard for mintmarks or dates. However, all this melted silver eventually resulted in the production of another silver dollar, called the Peace Dollar, to commemorate the “peace” after WWI, in 1921.
The most common Morgan Dollar date and mint is, in fact, 1921 without a mint mark (Philadelphia Mint). However, regardless of the mintages, there’s a very large market for pristine examples, and low mintage dates and mint mark combinations command even larger premiums.
Next, is the first world coin ever slabbed by PCGS; it was produced in the early 90’s I have tried to contact many TPGS’s to discover which coin grading service was first to slab a world coin, let’s just say I am still waiting. The is a mint state coin, dated 1967-B, and the amazing aspect about this coin is that it has retained the same design as examples minted as far back as 1879!
On the reverse of the coin is Helvetia, she is the female national personification of Switzerland. She is typically pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear in one hand, and a shield in the other. The shield is emblazoned with the Swiss flag. Something I find really fascinating is that even the oldest Swiss coins dating back to 1879 are still valid today, and are also among the oldest coins still valid worldwide.
Up until 1967 the circulating coins with a face value of ½ Franc, 1 franc and 5 francs where made of a silver alloy. But they were withdrawn because the silver alloy was worth more the face value of the coin.
And having one myself, I can tell you it is a very nice coin, and they are difficult to find. I have seen only one come up for auction in the past year or so. I just recently met with a man in England who sent me a picture of his sample so, as of now, I have seen just four total of this sample slab.
This next sample was produced around the same time period, and is also a mint condition coin. As I stated, in my previous article, it’s a very rare sample, and a beautiful coin. I have seen only one for sale in the past year.
It was originally given out by PCGS at the Tokyo International Coin Convention in 1989, in 2009 PCGS returned with a formal booth, at the annual show. Some people who had attended the original show, in 1989, when PCGS first handed out this sample, brought their original sample back to the PCGS booth. So it was considered a very important gift at the time, and that could be the reason why it has been such an elusive sample slab. I don’t know if any examples were given out in North America, but I doubt it.
In conclusion, I feel very strongly about the value of world sample slabs to the collector. Not just as a collector’s hobby, but also as a part of numismatic history. They also bring a wonderful addition to the world of sample slab collecting, as well as, a collection.
I attempted to cover as many World Samples as I deemed important in this article, there are just so many and it would not be possible to cover them all. I hope, at least, that I’ve sparked new, or created more, interest in this particular subject.
When it comes to coins, buy the coin not the slab.
When it comes to sample slabs, buy the slab not the coin.
All the best Alan Canavan