Varieties abound on the Gibraltar Bi-metallic 2 Pound coins of the
"Labours of Hercules" series.
(The following is based on three items of mine from the WBCC Newsmails during August 2000)

Varieties of Gibraltar 2 Pounds 1997 KM-755 "The Nemean Lion"

Click for larger image.
Photo.1. "The Nemean Lion"

  A few weeks ago I got a new piece of the Gibraltar bi-metallic 2 Pounds coin of 1997, type KM-755. Straight away I noticed there was something different with this piece as compared to any other examples of this type I had seen. This first and most obvious difference was that this new piece was without the stylised "AA" dieletters. I had expected to find these a little upwards from the "P" in "POUNDS" on the reverse. There were no dieletters to be found anywhere on this new piece. Soon I began to notice a few other odd things about this piece. This week, at last, I got around to creating some nice images of a KM-755 with "AA" and this new one without "AA". This helped me to understand these differences a little.

Click for larger image.
Photo.2. "The Nemean Lion" without and with the "AA".

  This first image shows the normal position of the "AA" and this same area on the piece without the "AA" as already mentioned. In this image, it can also be seen that the design on the centre "moves" relative to the ring of pellets close to the join between the ring and the centre. This movement is also clear on a second image.

Larger image not available - for this image only.
Photo.3. Positioning variations.

  This, the second close-up image, compares the distances between the man's head and the ring of pellets near the word "OF". I analysed enlarged and clearer images of the two pieces (whole coins) as printed onto paper. This about convinced me that from one variety to the other there is a definite vertical shift of the centre part's main design. I also noticed that from one piece to another there were pointing variations relative to the ring of pellets. Pointing variations (differences such as a letter "I" pointing to either a border bead or the space between two adjacent border beads) usually occur when the number of beads in a border or in this case "pellets in a ring" varies from one variety to another. However although the pointings vary between these two varieties relative to the ring of pellets, I found that this was not because of a difference in the number of pellets. So the pointings must be different due to a small rotation (of literally just 1 or 2 degrees) of the pellets relative to the main legends. To see this, look at the pellet below the "S" in the image that compares the head positions.
  To summarise:- The "normal" piece is with "AA" and with the man's head close to the ring of pellets. By comparison, the less often seen piece is without "AA", has the man's head further from the ring of pellets, the whole of the main central design is lower down on the coin, the ring of pellets is slightly rotated relative to the main legends, the edge has around 33% more reedings (an image was even done of this), the ring of pellets & the beaded border also seem to vary in diameter such that the gap between them is about 20% wider on this variety than on the normal variety. The obverses of the two do seem to be the same.

Click for larger image.
Photo.4. The edge milling on the seldom seen variety is finer.

  It is quite possible that the explanation for this "without AA" variety of KM-755 (Gibraltar's first bi-metallic 2 Pounds coin) is that the reverse die used was that for the "silver-proof" version of the type. Similarly, the standard issue of Gibraltar's first Christmas 50 Pence coin (KM-19, dated 1988) was mistakenly made using a proof die, hence is without the "AA" that would have been expected. This does not mean that these 50 Pence coins are proofs though, since the blanks used were those as normal for circulation coins. This Gibraltar 50 Pence coin could be seen as a bit of a "mule" though.

The comment given by the Pobjoy Mint on the subject of the above two varieties of KM-755 was...

"Re: The ring movement. This must have been one of the trial pieces because when the original die was made, it did not fit the design well so we made a new die which did and we also changed the rimming on the coin."
 
 

Varieties of Gibraltar 2 Pounds 1998 KM-758 "Hercules Capturing the Erymanthian Boar"

  Over a year ago I noticed a variety for the Gibraltar 2 Pounds KM-758. The piece illustrated in an issue of "World Coin News" was different to the pieces that WBCC member Fabio Guerrieri had. Other people had pieces like Fabio's at the time too, but no one had pieces exactly like that shown in "World Coin News". A couple of months ago, I managed to get hold of a piece like that shown in "World Coin News". Now, at last, I have done some images of the two varieties.

Click for larger image.
Photo.5. Dieletter/Mintmark positioning varieties on "THE ERYMANTHIAN BOAR".

  The apparently commoner variety of KM-758 has the mintmark "PM" above the "P" in "POUNDS" on the reverse and stylised dieletters "AA" above the "S" in "POUNDS". This "PM", on closer inspection, appears to have been re-engraved or perhaps even "blundered". An image of just this mintmark can be seen below. I know of no other Gibraltar bi-metallic 2 Pounds types with the "PM" and "AA" this way around.

Click for larger image.
Photo.6. The blundered "PM" on the commoner variety of "THE ERYMANTHIAN BOAR".

  The apparently scarcer variety of KM-758 has stylised dieletters "AA" above the "P" in "POUNDS" on the reverse and mintmark "PM" above the "S" in "POUNDS". This arrangement seems to be normal for all of the other similar (1998 to 2000) types of the "The Labours of Hercules" series. (Remember that the 1997 piece of this series does not have "PM" on the reverse, since that type (KM-755) has the previous portrait of the Queen on the obverse, this portrait does not have designer's initials below it and so the mintmark "PM" has a place there.)
  I do know of other distinct "PM" position variations on Pobjoy Mint coins of 1998. These though are just on Isle of Man coins (mainly lower denominations) and not on Gibraltar coins. I must say though, that I have seen a lot more 1998 examples for the Isle of Man than for Gibraltar. The last 2 of the 12 pieces of this series of bi-metallic 2 Pounds are yet to be issued, expect them to appear one in September 2000 and the other in December 2000.

The comment given by the Pobjoy Mint on the subject of the above two varieties of KM-758 was...

"RE: PM mintmark and AA in different places - Once again this was a sample which was changed around when the die was improved."
 
 

Mintmark variations in the bi-metallic Gibraltar 2 Pounds

  Since completing my collection of this series, (or rather the 10 pieces that have been issued up to now) I have noticed that during the series the appearance of the mintmark "PM" has changed. It seems that there are four different guises of this mintmark, plus the "blundered" one, mentioned above which appears only on one of the varieties of KM-758.

Click for larger image.
Photo.7. The four versions of "PM" to be found on the series, with the exception of the blundered "PM" already shown.

  The image above shows these four styles. The first style is small and thin and can be seen on KM-755 (obverse), 756, 757 and 761. The second style has letters of the same shape as on the first style, only a little thicker. This second style can be seen on KM-758 (variety with "PM" above the "S" in "POUNDS") and KM-759. The third style is generally larger and thicker, with the "M" seeming to have been significantly stretched horizontally. The third style can be seen only on KM-760. The fourth style has letters of similar shapes to the third style, but these letters are thinner and a little smaller. This fourth style can be seen on KM-762, 763, 764, 765 and 766.

The comment given by the Pobjoy Mint on the subject of the change in "PM" style discussed above was...

"We are however surprised at the change of the PM mark as this is always the same and can only put it down to the die having slightly stretched which makes it look different. "
 
 


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NOTE: Slight corrections, a little update, links to larger images, plus changes to "photo" titles done at the end of December 2001.