George V, Proof Pattern Halfcrown struck in gold, 1927
Item Reference: AFPL198
George V (1910-1936) Proof Pattern Halfcrown struck in gold, 1927, bare head left, rev. shield dividing crowned interlinked (S4032; W&R-426 (R6)). By Bertram MacKennal.
Superb, as struck, of the highest rarity. (Encapsulated by NGC as PF 64).
According to records, a 1927 gold halfcrown was examined by the Royal Mint Assay Department in the autumn of 1966. The RM decided it was made of 22 carat gold, with silver and copper in the alloy. At the time, however, the Royal Mint was reluctant to confirm that they had produced this coin. In 1984, 2 more gold halfcrowns of 1927 were submitted to the Mint by a major dealer and then, a further specimen, soon after. This brought the total to 4 specimens! Between 1966 and 1984 there had been a huge improvement in the Royal Mint’s facilities for X-ray s spectrometry, and a much more accurate analysis of the exact composition of these coins would now be possible. It was determined that all 3 of the 1984-submitted specimens came from the same pair dies as the specimen of 1966. Each showed the same slight lack of definition on a part of the edge of the coin, and this seemed consistent with the gold blanks having been fitted loosely in the collar during production. The milling count was also matching that on pattern halfcrowns of 1927 held in the RM collection. It is interesting that the 3 gold 1927 halfcrowns were actually made from differing gold compositions. There was a slight variation in the proportion of silver and copper contained in the coin blanks’ mix, alongside the 90% gold content. The Royal Mint stock accounts show that the RM gold stock, on 31st March 1928, included ‘turnings and specimen coins in .900 gold weighing 3.779 ozs.’ Later checking of records confirms that the gold 1927 halfcrowns were indeed part of this grouping. In the Royal Mint’s Annual Report of 1927, the Chief Assayer does state that experimentation had taken place in the Mint to produce slightly differing colours of gold coinage. The experimentation may have been in relation to production of gold coins for some Commonwealth or other nations, but what is certain is that this superb gold 1927 halfcrown is the product of a very limited Royal Mint experiment around 91 years ago.
Mark Rasmussen and Alex Wilson in their book ‘English Pattern Trial And Proof Coins In Gold’ p.487 refer to the gold 1927 halfcrown as one of very few trial gold coins produced in the reign of George V. One is illustrated, as part of the group of 4 noted specimens and its weight is listed as 19.89 grams. The weights of the other 3 known specimens are 17.91 gr, 17.79gr and 17.44gr. Each piece is therefore unique in its own weight.