Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Satin finish ?


QUESTION: A British 1965 cupro-nickel Crown (Five Shillings)(Elizabeth II)(Churchill Commemorative), uncirculated and in absolute mint condition could fetch up to £2 GBP. If it has been circulated, not much.

A British 1965 cupro-nickel Crown (Five Shillings)(Elizabeth II)(Churchill Commemorative - Satin finish "VIP" Specimen), uncirculated and in absolute mint condition could fetch up to £1250 GBP (latest 2012 Spink value)

How would I know if the one I have is Normal or Satin....Is there an obvious difference and is what I found online (above) true ?

ANSWER: Hello,
I'm sorry but your question can be answered better by someone with a good knowledge of modern and contemporary coinage (which is not my field). I'll try to give you a starting point anyway.

You are talking about machine-struck coins, which have special grading system/s. Exactly because they were machine struck, generally in enormous amounts, any difference of dies, any peculiar flaw of design and of course any exceptional quality deserves a premium because raises that one coin above the mass of identical coins having the same origin. But these features are apparent only to a trained collector/dealer with good experience in this field.

For older coins (such as early modern, medieval or ancient), such fine features aren't generally valued in the same manner as on modern and contemporary coins, and they tend to appear mainly by chance not as an original intention of the die sinkers etc.

I can however tell you that the second coin you mention was (probably) struck in very limited amounts, mainly for collectors or as presentation pieces, with dies worked in a different way than the dies used for the coin #1 which is the 'circulating coin' (i.e. meant to be used as currency by everybody). The Satin finish means that the dies were polished in a special way as to achieve a certain type of luster, which was then imparted to the coins struck with those dies (a kind of satin-like shine). Also such dies (or better said the models of the dies) are normally worked with greater care and the coins struck with these are usually placed in plastic holders and sold as collector coins, most of them never to be taken out of their capsules/holders. That's because the original quality of the freshly struck coins is preserved only if the coins are not handled but protected inside proper packaging. This Satin finish also doesn't survive any regular handling, so I'd very much doubt you'll find a coin with Satin finish among the coins extracted from circulation (even if some collector is crazy enough to throw such a special coin into circulation!). And even if you find, it will be so full of scratches that it will be worth only a fraction of the price fetched by the properly preserved (i.e. ~untouched by hands) coin.

I hope this will help you.
Best regards!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Satin finish
Satin finish  
QUESTION: Photo attached I found online . . . Is the one on the left satin finish ?

Sorry I can't tell from that photo.
If you think you have such a coin you could make some photos as clear as possible, in natural light if possible, and send them to an expert in US or British modern coins. There are a good number of such experts on this site as well, and I'm sure they're willing to help.
Good luck!

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Bogdan C.


I can answer questions regarding certain Eastern European medieval coins, especially coins issued in Wallachia / Walachei/ Transalpina / Tara Romaneasca, Moldavia / Moldawien / Moldau / Moldova, Transylvania / Siebenbürgen / Transilvania for which I can usually make rough estimates of value based on past public sales. Medieval coinage of Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary is also a field of interest but I usually can provide only identification, not evaluation, because of insufficient bibliography. Questions about coins of the Ottoman Empire and of the Golden Horde might get answer if you allow double of the usual time of 2 days. I cannot answer questions about medieval coins of Western European states or any Russian coins except Sadagura issues (1771-1774), nor questions about ancient or modern coins. NOTE: I will need to see at least a decent picture or a scan of any specific coin you ask about (with both sides, obverse and reverse). Please do not ask what a coin is worth without sending clear images of it along with your question.


Over 20 years of coin collecting as a hobby (ended, switching to study of other public and private collections), access to good numismatic libraries and various online and offline resources.

Member of Romanian Numismatic Society.

Cercetari Numismatice (Bucuresti)/ Numismatic Research (Bucharest).

Biochemistry graduate, History undergraduate.

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