By Jesse Robitaille
This is the first story in a two-part series.
A second example of the 1858 “Large A over Small A” variety on that year’s 20-cent coin has been found and certified by Canadian Coin Certification Service (CCCS).
Brent Hancock, of Regina, Sask., found the first example of the previously unreported variety in late 2021 (“Regina collector finds new 1858 variety,” CCN Vol. 59 #26, March 29, 2022). Following the publication of his discovery, another collector brought what he believed to be the second example to the Regina Coin Club (RCC) show in April.
“The owner allowed me to submit the piece to CCCS for him, and in due course, the coin was returned with the ‘A/A’ designation,” said Hancock, who has since acquired the second example. “I won’t disclose the price as I don’t want to influence costs and continue to hope this will organically happen with a listing once a couple more surface.”
CCCS certified the latest discovery as Very Fine-30, “a better example than my original Fine-12, allowing a clearer look at the small offset ‘A’ appearing partially beside the corrected proper size ‘A,’” Hancock said.
“The surfacing of a second example, and having it verified by the third-party grading company, provides a mix of feelings,” he added, referencing the “accomplishment that the research is beginning to pay off and the relief that the first find is not alone.”
LOOK FOR A ‘BLUNDERED I’
With the two examples side by side, Hancock has found a “tell” on the reverse die to help identify the “A/A” variety.
“The ‘I’ in ‘GRATIA’ is over-engraved,” he said. “Both coins have it.”
Hancock has many examples of the 1858-dated 20-cent coin, with and without the documented “Blundered I” varieties, but none of them have the “specific anomaly” found on the “A/A” varieties except for those two coins.
“Charlton included the ‘Blundered I’ listings in 2011 for the 20 cents and included similar but different ‘die marker’ in the 1858 10 cents. More recently, the ‘I’ in ‘DEI’ is occasionally found ‘blundered’ in the five cents but is not yet listed in Charlton.”
After contacting the Royal Mint Museum, Hancock received an explanation about the various anomalies numismatists call varieties.