Coin, French Polynesia, 50 Francs
1985 - Paris - AU(50-53) - Nickel - KM:13
Capped head left, date and legend below
Denomination above Moorea Harbor
I. E. O. M. R. Joly
- Country: French Polynesia
- Denomination: 50 Francs
- Year: 1985
- Mint name: Paris
- Composition: Nickel
- Mint Mark: (a)
- Diameter: 33
- EdgeDesc: Reeded
- KM: 13
If nickel had its place in antiquity, then it was in the form of an alloy, due to a lack of means to separate it from its ore companions. It was not isolated for the first time until Axel Fredrick Cronsted succeeded in 1751.
Its name has an amusing origin. The ore from which it was extracted came from Germany and resembled copper. The miners named it Kupfernickel, meaning “sprite copper”, a reference to a mischievous sprite in Germanic mythology which played dirty tricks in the mines.
Nickel is a hard metal, which is silver in color, shiny, and resistant to wear.
The first nickel coins were issued by Switzerland in 1881. France did not follow suit until 1903 with the 25 centime coins engraved by Henri-Auguste-Jules Patey.
This metal never really became popular until after WWI due to the rarefaction of silver. Unfortunately, there are two negative aspects which have lowered its value in its pure form recently: its rising cost (nickel is now twice as expensive as copper) and its hardness, which puts coins at risk.
For this reason, other alloys like cupronickel are often preferred.
An “AU(50-53)” quality
As in numismatics, it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that the coin has circulated well from hand to hand and pocket to pocket but the impact on its wear remains limited: the coins displays sharp detailing and little sign of being circulated. The number (50-53) indicates that at least half of the original luster remains. Closer examination with the naked eye reveals minor scratches or nicks.
You might be wondering why there are different ranges of numbers behind the same abbreviation. Well, we’ll explain:
The numbers are subdivisions within a category, showing that the state of conversation is the same but coins may be at the higher or lower end of the scale. In the case of AU, the range (55-58) indicates that the luster is better preserved in than a similar coin described as (50-53).