Ken Potter -
February 28, 2000
Collectors of Canadian coins should check their 1979 uncirculated Mint sets for varieties. The 1979 50 cents coins found in these sets (commonly referred to by collectors as proof-like sets) can be found with both the standard obverse used in 1978 and a newer modified obverse introduced in 1979. Jerry Kennison of Vancouver, WA sent a set of the varieties to share with readers.
The varieties have been listed in the Variety Coin Register® as follows:
Canada 1979 PL 50c VCR#1/ DMO#1 Variety-2/Obverse of ‘78 "Pointed Bust." This variety depicts the standard obverse design as continued from the previous year. Among other easily discernible differences between this and the Variety-2, the rim beads are smaller; the leading jewel assembly in the tiara is comprised of three small jewels connected by "bars" in a triangular arrangement topped with one large jewel; the rear jewel is smaller than on Variety-2; there is less detail in the hair, the "E" of ELIZABETH is closer to the bust and the "V" of the bust is pointed. Such varieties are often erroneously referred to as "mules"(implying that the mating of a set of dies involving an "older" obverse was done in error) but more probably represent the deliberate use of dies left over from a previous year.
Canada 1979 PL 50c VCR#2/ DMO#2 Variety-2/Obverse of ‘80 "Rounded Bust." This variety depicts the standard obverse design first used in 1979 and used exclusively in 1980 (and possibly later years). Among other easily discernible differences between this and the Variety- 1, the rim beads are larger; the leading jewel assembly in the tiara is comprised of two large jewels, one atop the other; the rear jewel is larger than on Variety-1; there is more detail in the hair, the "E" of ELIZABETH is further from the bust and the "V" of the bust is well rounded.
Kennison said he ordered 40 1979 government issued "Uncirculated Sets" from various dealers without finding a single example of the scarcer Variety-1. Then he gave it a final try and ordered five sets from another dealer and found that all five were Variety-1/"Pointed Bust" specimens. He also found one of the Variety-1 specimens in a "Double Dollar Set."
Readers are encouraged to report how may PL sets they have to search before one of the "Pointed Bust" specimens is found. Other denominations may also contain similar varieties and should be examined as well.
Ken Potter is the official attributor of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling. He also privately lists other collectable variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register.
Variety-2 'Pointed' Bust