One coin, six different mints!



How is that possible?

I recently acquired this 1977FM 50 Piso coin on eBay for a very reasonable price. With a mintage of 6,704 pieces, proof specimens are not rare, but with only two certified by NGC this one seemed too good to pass up.

I find this commemorative coin particularly interesting in that it is directly or indirectly associated with no less than six different mints.

1. The obverse inscription "INAUGURATION OF THE SECURITY PRINTING PLANT AND MINT COMPLEX" refers to the 1977 opening of the new coin minting facility in Mania.

2. The coin was actually minted by the Franklin Mint in Philadelphia.

The devices on the obverse include the designs by Melecio Figueroa for the coins issued during the periods of 1903-1935 when The Philippines was an insular Territory of the United States and 1936-1945 when it became The Commonwealth of the Philippines. These coins were minted by:

3. The Philadelphia Mint (third building) from 1903-1908 and again in 1944.

4. The old San Francisco Mint from 1903-1920 and again in 1944 and 1945.

5. The Denver Mint in 1944 and 1945.

6. The old Manila Mint in the Intendencia from 1920 until the beginning of world War II in 1941.

1977FM 50 Piso Proof coins were originally issued as individual proofs, as part of a two coin proof set and as part of the full Proof Set which contained examples of all eight denominations minted by the Franklin Mint. These 50 Piso coins were also issued by the Central Bank in fully brilliant proof like condition as part of the eight coin "Brilliant Uncirculated Specimen Set" also minted at the Franklin Mint. Only 354 specimen sets were issued, so examples of this set are quite rare.

A mintage of 10,000 matte finish coins are also listed in the Krause catalog, but I have yet to see even one which appears to have a true matte finish. Based on the availability of fully brilliant specimens, I suspect that these 10,000 coins were actually minted for circulation from proof like dies, and appear fully brilliant. This makes a true specimen set example extremely difficult to identify once it's been removed from the original Franklin Mint packaging. I've been trying to get resolution on this issue for several years, but have yet to find any other explanation as to why there are so many fully brilliant specimens available and apparently no true matte finish specimens to be had. I would love to hear from anyone who could shed some additional light on the subject.

This particular coin is a beautiful, well preserved proof. It is a bit hazy tough due to the deterioration of the original packaging used by the Franklin Mint in the 1970's and 1980s'. This is typical of these coins and very few specimens do not exhibit this hazing. It is one of only two graded by NGC, with the other graded PF69UC.

I leave you with a picture of my latest acquisition.


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