A restrike is an officially produced coin, from the original or other official dies, often struck by the original mint, or other officially authorised mint. The word restrike is often used euphemistically when applied to fake or counterfeit coins. We have also seen modern replica fantasy coins described as restrikes. We do not agree with this practise, and believe it to be dishonest.
We often see fake sovereigns, and other coins, being offered for sale as "restrikes". A restrike is a retrospectively dated coins, officially produced or sanctioned or issued by the original mint or government, and as such is genuine if not absolutely original. The Austrian Mint have issued a number of restrike coins including the famous 1780 Maria Theresia thaler, and various gold coins, many dated 1915.
One example of an official restrike is the 1925 London Mint sovereign. Until 1948, these were quite scarce, but in 1949 to 1951, the British Royal Mint issued sovereigns bearing the 1925 date, with a design identical to the original George V sovereigns. Because these are impossible to distinguish from the originals, they are not normally described as restrikes.
Any "collector", dealer, or other vendor offering fakes described euphemistically as "restrikes" should be hung drawn and quartered!
Restrike Gold Sovereigns & Other Coins
An official restrike is a genuine coin struck by the original Mint, but with a retrospective date. The word restrike is often euphemistically and dishonestly used for fakes.
1925 London Mint Sovereign
The most obvious and best documented example of restriking of gold sovereigns is that of the 1925 London Mint coins.
In 1949, almost certainly to meet bullion market demand for sovereigns, control rising premiums, and counter forgery, the Royal Mint struck and issued sovereigns. It seems that they did not have time to prepare dies, and obtain the necessary permission to strike 1949 dated coins with George VI's portrait, so they re-used existing dies, or masters. The most recent date of sovereigns struck by the Royal Mint were 1925, so all the sovereigns struck in 1949 were dated 1925. This was repeated in 1950 and 1951.
For sovereign collectors, it is regrettable that the 1949 to 1951 issues were not dated contemporaneously, and with George VI's portrait and titles. There had been sovereigns issued in 1937 for his coronation, but these were all proofs issued only as part of four-coin sets.
To economise on the use of dies, it is common practice at most mints to keep using the previous year's dies into the new year, and this is not normally regarded as restriking.
To be considered as a restrike, there would normally be a noticeable gap in production, or a formal announcement that the date would be frozen on an indefinite basis.
Official Restrike Examples
The Austrian Mint probably have the greatest tradition for issuing restrike coins with a frozen date. The silver thalers of Maria Theresia were a very popular trade coin in the eighteenth century, and after her death, the issue continued with the last date which had been issued normally. All Maria Theresia thalers issued since have carried the 1780 date. In this case, they have also been struck at other Austrian mints, and mints in other countries, usually with the permission of the Austrian government. There are several books about these ubiquitous coins. In most cases it is possible to determine the approximate issue date and mint.
After the death of Franz Joseph, Austria continued to strike and issue a number of different denominations of gold coins dated 1915, namely the 100 coronas, 20 coronas, 4 ducats, and 1 ducat. Also the 10 coronas were restruck dated 1912, and 20 francs / 8 florins and 10 francs / 4 florins dated 1892.
Mexico continued to issue its large and popular 50 pesos dated 1947, although it is likely that some of the other dates may have been restruck.
One well-respected numismatic expert we spoke to held the opinion thatfor a coin to be a restrike, that not only should it be an official restrike, but it should also be struck using the original dies.
In our opinion, this is too strict a definition. Most genuine original coins are produced from a series of dies, normally produced from the same original master hub, although die production methods have changed and progressed over time.
If a coin were produced from fresh dies, but identical or very similar to the original dies, we would consider it to be a true restrike providing it were produced by the original mint, or at least with official sanction.
A replica is an imitation of an original coin, not normally made with the intention to deceive for gain.
Fakes, forgeries and counterfeits are all just about the same thing. All unofficially produced usually to deceive and defraud.
Many small-time dealers are happy to misdescribe replicas, fantasy pattern coins, or other fakes, often as restrikes. Sites such as eBay have made it easy for these small time crooks to proliferate. eBay appear not to care, and not to police this abuse, unless they receive adverse media attention.
One example of this is the 1911 Quarter Sovereign offered by coins.sovereigns.exchange Giselle Quadros on eBay. There are many other examples from the same, and other eBay vendors.
Reverse of 1915 Restrike Austrian Gold 4 Ducats
Reverse of 1915 Restrike Austrian Gold 100 Corona