Article by:

Scott Wren

On the Edge of a Major Discovery

The 1999 changeover of the prosperous island territory of Hong Kong back to Chinese control after its century-long lease by the United Kingdom, can be somewhat embodied—in a numismatic sense that is—by a series of comparable errors that occurred on Hong Kong’s coinage between the years of 1950 through to 1960. With a particular focus on that group of Hong Kong errors struck in the UK by either the Heaton Mint or King’s Norton Mint. They are identified examples, and have been catalogued as such in the Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins, and all of them share the common Krause denominator of falling under the heading/designation of: Error: Reeded, w/o security edge. The following is the Krause catalogue references for the aforementioned errors that are the primary focal point of this article:

KM#29.2 1958H and 1960 5 cents
KM#25a 1950 10c
KM#28.2 1956H and 1963 10c
KM#27.2 1951 Hong Kong 50c
KM#30.2 1958H Hong Kong 50c
KM#31.2 1960H $1

This previous list of Hong Kong errors, all are categorised by the fact that instead of having the customary S1-Security 1 edge (source: Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins; 23rd Edition[1996], definitions—page 30), they exhibit a G-Grained edge variety to them, or simply put, they have a reeded/milled edge instead.

It is my earnest belief that Krause hasn’t quite explained fully, the true set of circumstances that illustrates just why these non-security/reeded edge Hong Kong coins actually exist. In essence, the designation/title of Error: Reeded, w/o security edge assigned to the aforementioned Hong Kong error coins, doesn’t allude to the actuality that they are in fact bona-fide “Wrong Planchet Strike” mint errors; and not a matter of an unintentional-cum-mint error, edge variety. With the underlining reality that these Hong Kong coins have actually been struck on UK coinage planchets with a customary UK reeded/milled edge, and not the S1 security edge, which would be the case if they were struck on the intended Hong Kong planchets that exhibit this kind of security edge.

I determined this to be the most likely explanation of these Hong Kong edge variety/error coins, based predominantly on a diametrically opposed, 1958 UK One Shilling (1/-) error coin (Krause ref#: KM#904). This particular 1958 UK 1/- exhibits an anomalous edge to it—a very typically Hong Kong S1 edge variety (source: Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins; page 30) to be precise; instead of the Grained edge variety, or reeded/milled edge of the customary UK coinage!

Therefore, it seems apposite to conclude—based on this 1958 UK One Shilling with a Hong Kongesque S1 security edge—that it was equally likely that if a UK 1958 1/-, struck at the Heaton Mint, Birmingham managed to have accidentally been struck on a 1958H Hong Kong 50c planchet which were also struck at the Heaton Mint, then maybe this “Wrong Planchet Strike” theory underpinned the existence of these Hong Kong edge anomaly error coins referred to under the Krause heading of Error: Reeded, w/o security edge examples as stated in the introduction of this article?

Sounds like something that is quite conceivably, very plausible…given the extraordinary nature of some of the errors which have surfaced to date?

Therefore, in light of this self-evidently—not to mention self-affirmed at that—apposite hypothesis I’d arrived at; I weighed the 1958 UK 1/- with the S1 security edge, and was ecstatic to find out that it weighed 5.0g instead of the obligatory 5.6g of a standard UK 1958H Shilling—with 5.0g fortunately being the weight of a standard KM#30.1, Hong Kong 50c coin! Evidence enough in essence; but just to make certain beyond any doubt that I was on to something, I personally contacted the Heaton Mint, Birmingham, by email and then telephone, and was elated to find out that although no official records had been kept regarding such matters, it was a known fact that these Hong Kong edge error coins were the result of a mistake at the Heaton Mint where just such an occurrence had taken place—and it wasn’t an isolated occurrence might I add, as attested to by the fact that the King’s Norton Mint also made the same bungle in numerous years in the decade of 1950-60! At the conclusion of this conversation, I hadn’t managed to ascertain with any degree of certainty, that this particular 1958 UK Shilling with the S1 security edge error to it, wasn’t the only error example of its kind to have been identified…but I did find out that a couple of other identical UK coins existed—albeit of different denominations—had been struck on Hong Kong security edged planchets!

So there you have it my fellow error/variety enthusiasts—a totally credible, and not to mention officially ratified to a certain degree, explanation for why these six Krause-identified and catalogued examples of Hong Kong coins of differing denominations, that fall under the Krause heading of Error: Reeded, w/o security edge are most likely mis-attributed “Wrong Planchet Strikes”. The fact that they were all auspiciously struck in the UK at either the Heaton or King’s Norton mints and have all been erroneously struck on the Grained edge UK-type planchets, instead of the traditional S1 security edged planchets typical of conventional Hong Kong coinage; it leads me to ponder the notion that these particular edge variety errors are actually something bigger in terms of their significance than Krause—or for that matter the wider numismatic error/variety enthusiasts—actually give them credit for.

I don’t doubt that there are some evident flaws in this theory owing to conclusions I have drawn based on only the one reviewed and assessed example of a 1958 UK Shilling which exhibits the identical weight and the identical S1 security edge of a Hong Kong 50c coin—but isn’t this kind of self-evident and equally relevant evidence, at the very heart of all prudent theories with which to build on?

I would like to see a little more in-depth research conducted into this UK/Hong Kong “Wrong Planchet Strike” supposition—and to put things beyond reproach; perhaps this in-depth research could be carried out by one of the “Big Three” of US grading and certification services, so that the results—once they have been ascertained—could be certified as bona-fide, and these spectacular UK/Hong Kong “Wrong Planchet Strikes” can live out the rest of their numismatic days, comforted in knowing that their true attribution has been acknowledged!


Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins; 23rd Edition[1996], “Edge Variety” definitions—pg 30; & Selected Pages.

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