Among the controversial dates of the United States and Philippine coinage, 1944 and 1945 are two of the years that became one of the exciting periods of Philippine numismatic history. First, these are the years the second world war. The United States had concentrated its resources to the production of war machines, which became known as the U.S. War Effort. One of the policies implemented by the U.S. government was the discontinuation of the used of nickel and copper vital for the production of ammunition in the United States which had resulted to the one year 1943 One Penny zinc coated steel and the series of Jefferson Wartime nickels that are actually made out of silver.
During that same year, the Philippines was under the rule of the Japanese Empire. The Philippines had plunged into a monetary crisis after the Japanese paper money did not make an impact to sustain the local economy, which had resulted into a massive inflation. Though the U.S. government had produced coins for the Philippines during that two consecutive years. These coins were never released into circulation and remained in the hoard of the Commonwealth government due to the ongoing conflict.
Early numismatists were thrilled to start their numismatic adventures when the war ended due to the diversity in the Philippine monetary system during the time of war. The relaxation of the flow of military information brought several discoveries into the numismatic world. The public became suddenly aware that there existed Guerilla scripts or war scripts, tradesmen token, the Commonwealth government coins, among others. Yet, the sudden break out of hoards overpowered the enthusiasm of the numismatic adventurers. The once known scarce materials were overflowing and surprisingly, most are in excellent conditions. Average Commonwealth 1944 and 1945 issued coins were either in mint state or in an almost uncirculated condition, making collectors too confident in judging that there was not a need for further exploration.
The Law of “Supply and Demand” kicked in later in the 90’s when the Internet made a tremendous impact in the flow of information and communication. Collectors had realized that the supply of coins was dwindling and soon they were rushing to dig the once neglected hoards and hunt for varieties. The numismatic world was surprise to find that 1944 and 45 brought several varieties and some of them are rare, that they can be lined-up with the Philippine’s rarest coins.
Among those famous varieties were the “Bar over 9” or the 1945 Fifty Centavos variety were a piece of metal bar can be seen on the top of the number 9 on the date of the coin, the 1945 Ten Centavos double date, the D over S or Denver over San Francisco on mint mark, and others. Recently, through this site, several trial strikes were introduced to the numismatic world. That included the 1944 One Centavo struck in white metal alloy instead of the normal copper planchet.
Now, as an additional piece to our collection, this site is proud to introduce the 1945 Fifty Centavos Trial Strike struck in lead. Similar pieces of this type of coin already surfaced in the past and most of them dated 1944. Collectors tagged them as contemporary counterfeits since the coin conditions were poor and appeared to be crudely struck. Nobody contested the finding until superbly struck coins of same material surfaced just recently. These coins have sharp details though some of the details like the caption embedded on the scroll below the shield was not as clear but still identifiable probably because the metal’s reaction with its environment. The coin’s surface is not bubbly but smooth, and the legends are sharp and are not deformed which only implies that the coins were struck and not cast as most contemporary counterfeiters did during that time.
Surprisingly this is not the only trial strike that has been reported in the past. Other numismatists have also brought the information that there exist die trials in copper and brass. And as the old time saying goes “Happy hunting!”