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1936 Edward VIII Silver Fantasy Crown by Hearn Choice Uncirculated

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1936 Edward VIII Silver Fantasy Crown by Hearn Choice Uncirculated

A hugely popular collectible back in the boom days of the 60's.

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1936 Edward VII Silver Fantasy Crown by Geoffrey Hearn Choice Uncirculated

Reference - KM-X# M1a

Weight - 28.30g

Thickness - 3.20mm

Diameter -38.30mm

A hugely popular collectible back in the numismatic boom days of the 60's.

King Edward VIII was not featured on any (genuine) Australian coins, however that hasn't stopped several private minting companies from striking unofficial or "fantasy" crowns featuring his obverse and an Australian-themed reverse design.

The first of these were struck by Geoffrey Hearn, a coin dealer based in London, throughout 1954 and 1955. Published information on these fantasy crowns is quite disparate, however it seems that Hearn struck 1,000 proof and 1,500 prooflike crowns.

The fantasy crowns struck by Hearn in the 1950's feature a deep relief to the kangaroo and the king's portrait, and have a toothed border around the edge either side. The relief of these crowns has a satin appearance.

They are quite popular with collectors around the world - collectors of Edward VIII coinage, as well as other collectors that are solely interested in fantasy coins.

They were featured in an article in the Australian Coin Review magazine back in the 1960's .

Australian 1936 Fantasy Edward VIII Crown

Hearn's dies are thought to have been re-used by John Pinches / Franklin Mint to strike more crowns in the mid 1960's. I haven't yet come across any credible published information that advises how to tell the difference between one of Hearn's 1954 strikes, and the restrikes of the 1960's.

To further complicate things, Richard Lobel at Coincraft (another London coin dealer) apparently bought the dies from the Franklin Mint in the 1990's, and used them to restrike more fantasy crowns in larger numbers.

Those crowns can be distinguished from Hearn's earlier strikes by their larger planchet and a shallower relief. The beading around the rim either side is pelleted, and sits further in from the rim. The relief of these restrikes is more frosted and granular than on the earlier crowns.

Hearn's early fantasy crowns are a reminder of an energetic time in Australian numismatics, when collectors were so keen to see a commemorative crown struck, they actually made their own.