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Royal Mint Trial Die


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I know I read about these some years back, probably in World Coins, but I've forgotten everything I might have known. Can anyone enlighten me on what this might be? The obverse features Britannia ready to hand strike a coin. The legend reads Britannia Moneta with a dolphin. Clear reference to the classical art of coin production, The reverse features a 6 pointed star with the date 1957. The legend reads Royal Mint Trial Die. I've seen these advertised in various metals including aluminum (as is the one pictured here). They seem to run about $25. Were they produced by the Royal Mint and why? I'm assuming they were sold to collectors. Were they produced by another company hoping to win a Royal Mint contract? Are they outright fantasies? Or are they something else, such as a mint souvenier? Any help would be appreciated.







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