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Varieties of the Brass coins of 1403/1983

In June of 2001, someone told me (based on information he had received from another collector) that I ought to look out for large and small dates varieties on the 1403/1983 dated examples of each of the Brass coins of Tunisia, i.e. the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Millim. At the time I just had one of each the 20, 50 and 100 Millim dated 1403/1983 and no 10 Millim. I could see no clues of varieties on these pieces, neither on the reverse (the dated side) nor on the obverse. Over the space of about 2 years I began to put an accumulation of 1983 dated Brass pieces together and gave up with it around two months ago. I got a total of 26 extra pieces. Even with these new acquisitions I was still without a 10 Millim 1403/1983 - has anyone seen any ?

Looking at my 26 pieces I could see two date varieties for each of the denominations 20, 50 and 100 Millim. For each of these types there were some with larger date numerals "1983   1403" and some with relatively small date numerals "1983   1403". In fact the "large dates" pieces all had date numeral style, sizing and positioning that was the same irrespective of denomination, likewise for the "small dates" pieces. There were no "in-between" varieties to be seen - all 26 pieces were one or the other of these two varieties.

Dating varieties on 1403/1983 Brass coins of Tunisia
The date varieties as seen on the 100 Millim (and as also appear on the 20 Millim and 50 Millim pieces of this date).
"Large dates" above and "Small dates" below. Note - digit sizes and also relative positions of the "1" in "1403" and the stroke above it.

As for relevative numbers of each varieties...

      I got 8 pieces of 20 Millim 1403/1983 - 3 with large dates and 5 with small dates.

      I got 8 pieces of 50 Millim 1403/1983 - 2 with large dates and 6 with small dates.

      I got 10 pieces of 100 Millim 1403/1983 - 5 with large dates and 5 with small dates.

      I got 26 pieces in total with 1403/1983 dating - 10 with large dates and 16 with small dates (overall a 38%/62% split)

So generally speaking for these types, the pieces with small dates are a bit more available than those with large dates.

As for the pieces I had already - I got those in 1990 and each of them (one of each of 20, 50 and 100 Millim) is of the "small dates" variety.

Something else became obvious to me whilst looking through this group of 26 pieces. I noticed that nearly all of the bright pieces in the group had small dates and most of the pieces with small dates were bright ones. (By bright I mean with traces of lustre and of grade approximately "Extremely Fine").

Dating varieties on 1403/1983 Brass coins of Tunisia - Non-bright and Bright
The reverse of a 100 Millim with large dates and typical circulated (non-bright) appearance
and an example with small dates and bright appearance.

Looking at relative abundance of the difference combinations date size and "brightness".....

  a) For my 20 Millim - of the 3 large dates pieces 1 is bright and of the 5 small dates pieces 3 are bright...
      or another way - of the 4 non-bright pieces 2 have large dates and of the 4 bright pieces 3 have small dates
  b) For my 50 Millim - of the 2 large dates pieces none are bright and of the 6 small dates pieces 5 are bright.
      or another way - of the 3 non-bright pieces 2 have large dates and of the 5 bright pieces all 5 have small dates
  c) For my 100 Millim - of the 5 large dates pieces none are bright and of the 5 small dates pieces 2 are bright.
      or another way - of the 8 non-bright pieces 5 have large dates and of the 2 bright pieces all 2 have small dates

So in summary of (a), (b) and (c)...

Of my total 26 recently acquired pieces - of the 10 large dates pieces 1 is bright and of the 16 small dates pieces 10 are bright.
or another way - of the 15 non-bright pieces 9 have large dates and of the 11 bright pieces 10 have small dates

Looking at combinations...
10% (a definite minority) of large dates pieces are bright, 63% (a narrow majority) of small dates pieces are bright.
60% (a narrow majority) of non-bright pieces have large dates, 91% (a definite majority) of bright pieces have small dates.

Let's estimate the relative abundances of the different varieties stated above, to be at least similar for those coins of 1403/1983 that have been in circulation in the last few years. Let's us assume that the "bright" pieces are "bright" due to having been made more recently than the "non-bright" pieces - i.e. sometime in-between the 1983 (when the first 1403/1983 pieces were likely minted) and 1993 (when the first pieces of the next date, "1414/1993", were likely minted). This points towards the possibility of the large dates pieces having been made by one mint and the small dates pieces having been made by a second mint. Furthermore the German published world coin catalogue "Weltmünzkatalog" (by Günter Schön, 20th Century issues edition of 1996/97, published by Battenberg) does not detail the minter of these particular Brass coins, but it does detail several mints as having been involved with the production of the Tunisia 1/2 Dinar and 1 Dinar issues dated 1976, 1981, 1988 and 1990. Will the full facts ever be published for the Brass coins ? Who knows ?
 
 

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The background image for this page is the olive tree as found on the 1, 2 and 5 Millim coins of Tunisia. The olive tree is a symbol of Tunisian agriculture. The image was made from an image of a coin.





This page with "Varieties of the Brass coins of 1403/1983" first added at February 2004.