On his web site Andrew Crellin of Sterling & Currency in Fremantle, Western Australia published an article about an interesting 1966
Australian VIP Uncirculated coin set discovered in South Africa. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article; it's an
interesting modern research story. -Editor
Australia's switch to a decimal currency in 1966 was a cause for widespread celebration - not only did the nation now have coins and
notes that featured uniquely Australian designs, the government had successfully planned and executed one of the largest national infrastructure
projects undertaken since the Second World War.
One of the ways Commonwealth Government officials demonstrated their pride was by presenting sets of the new coins as diplomatic gifts to
influential dignitaries that were either visiting Australia or were being visited overseas.
1,000 special "VIP" wallets were produced by Admiral Plastics solely for this purpose - the colour of the vinyl used for the outer sleeve was
different to those that were sold to collectors; the printed text on the front of the wallet was also different, as was the configuration of the
clear plastic sleeve that contained the coins. The wallets were stored in a locked cupboard within the Mint, access to them was restricted to only
the most senior RAM staff.
RAM records show that only 520 of the 1,000 wallets prepared were actually issued, the remaining 480 (empty) wallets were destroyed under
A former RAM staff member who was responsible for the preparation of the VIP sets advised that when a VIP set was required, RAM staff removed
coins from one of the standard green and white "poly-pack" carded mint sets, and inserted the coins into one of the empty VIP wallets.
The above description of this process indicates that officially, only standard circulation-strike coins were ever included in the VIP presentation
Characteristics That Set Them Apart
A detailed physical examination of the coins in the VIP set ex South Africa indicates that several of them exhibit characteristics that set them
apart from known proof and circulation strikes.
Based on the above characteristics, it appears these coins could have been struck as specimens, rather than as proofs or circulation strikes.
Although it's frustrating not to have definitive answers about the attribution of the coins in this set yet, it is proving to be an
interesting avenue of research. All future results will be added as they become available, if you have any additional information that might be
useful, I'll be happy to add it to the data we already have.
To read the complete article, see:
A Non-Binary 1966 VIP
Uncirculated Coin Set - Specimen Strikes Included
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