Sunday, November 17, 2013

A circulated brockage from Nepal

As a child error coins fascinated me. I had off-center cents and 5 cent pieces and a tattered copy of Alan Herbert's 1974 book The Official Guide to Mint Errors. The book had an entire chapter on brockages. I had never seen a brockage.

Brick-and-mortar coin shops didn't have brockages, at least not in Michigan. Even at a really big coin show it was rare to see one.

When I started collecting ancient coins I was surprised to discover ancient brockages are not exceedingly rare. Sixty-eight ancient examples are offered for sale right now on an ancient coin sale web site, as compared to a single modern brockage. (The site has twice as many total ancient coins as modern coins, so a better comparison would be 68:2.)

Would ancient users of coins even notice anything unusual when spending a brockage? It seems hard not to notice a brockage, yet we don't see any evidence that ancient brockages were put aside. They appear alongside regular coins in hoards.

I was surprised to find a modern, circulated brockage recently at a coin show. Even more surprising, it wasn't in a fancy holder. It was in a junk box among similar coins from the region. This coin, a Nepalese one paisa from 1947, somehow managed to circulate in Nepal during the 20th century. It then made its way to the United States and a dealer's try without anyone noticing anything unusual. This suggests that brockages do not "jump out" to the average user or even to a casual coin dealer. Perhaps it really takes a trained eye to "see" brockages?

I would be curious to know of other modern circulated brockages. Does anyone collect them?


Cultural Property Observer said...

Virtually all brockages I've seen on ancient coins are on silver denarii. I'd suggest they circulated despite the defects due to their intrinsic value as silver.

Ed Snible said...

Yet of the brockages on offer on VCoins a mere 25% are silver.

This could be a statistical anomaly but there is no reason it must be an anomaly.