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How To Pick A Fake 1930 Penny

      You have the latest Renniks Price Guide in your hand, the inheritance from your Great Aunt in your bank account and you are off to a coin fair to buy the 1930 penny you've always dreamed of owning. So what else do you need?
      For a start, you need enough knowlege to pick the difference between a fake 1930 penny and the genuine article. Due to its high catalogue price, the 1930 penny has been a favourite target for forgers. These forgeries range from the obvious to excellent examples that have even fooled some dealers (for a short time anyway). In this discussion, we will concentrate on pennies where the date has been altered.
      There were two reverse hubs used for the George V pennies during the 1930s, the London and Birmingham dies (for a discussion on all the different obverse and reverse hubs used for Australia's predecimal bronze coinage see Jon Saxton's website). One easy way to differentiate between the two dies is to examine where the letters ALIA are relative to the denticles. For the London reverse A and L align with denticles, I and A are between. For the Birmingham reverse, A and L are between denticles, I and A align with denticles (see the image below). Now the London reverse was used for all 1930 pennies and the 1931 "dropped 1" pennies; the Birmingham reverse was used for the 1931 "aligned 1" pennies and all 1932 to 1936 pennies. This means that only an altered date 1931 "dropped 1 penny" will have the correct reverse.


      Two obverses were used for George V pennies, the English and Indian. Some of the differences between the two are shown below. The traditional manner is to look at where the second downstroke of the 'N' of OMN points - at a bead is Indian and between beads is English. Other things to look at are the shape of the R in BRITT and how the final colon is aligned. Now, the 1930 pennies were struck with the Indian obverse die. Although two or three specimens with English obverse have been authenticated by the Royal Australian Mint and the Royal Mint, for our purposes we can assume that any 1930 penny with an English obverse that you come across is almost certainly a forgery.
      Given our criteria above, the only coin apart from the 1930 penny with the London reverse and Indian obverse is the 1931 dropped 1 Indian obverse penny - which, with somewhere between 20 and 50 known, is far rarer than the 1930 penny. It is sad to say that I have seen a fake 1930 penny which began life as a 1931 dropped 1 Indian obverse penny.


      In spite of the reverses of the 1930 and 1920 pennies being derived from different hubs, it is worthwhile examining the date areas. As you can see, the zero on the 1930 penny is much more oval than that of the 1920 penny. Although these scans do not show it clearly, the zero is also thinner at 1 o'clock than at 7 o'clock.


      So finally, what do we need besides the latest Renniks and a healthy wad of cash? We need a strong magnifier (10 x preferably) and to know that the N in OMN lines up with a bead and the ALIA is at, at, between, between the beads.


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