Saturday, July 7, 2012

07 Of Swirls and Bust Tilts

Now that we have gone through all 3 years of Armour coins, we can take a deeper look at issues in Armour collecting namely swirls and bust tilts.


If color is the key - Swirls are the rarest of the rare colors. Swirls happen when the load of plastic was changed without cleaning the mold. The first shot in of the new color would produce a set of coins that had the two colors swirled together. Lets look at a couple of these rare beauties.

 I will load pics of some more unique swirled coins later.

Since most collectors and sellers recognize that swirls are rare, some try to claim them when they are not real. The major example of this is claimed black swirls in 1959 and 1960. Since there were no black coins in 1959 and 1960 there are no black swirls - period end of discussion. Minor black spots or marks on any years coins are much more likely burn marks from the plastic for some reason getting scorched in the mold. If you think that's cool and unique and rare and want to collect coins with burn marks that OK with me, but don't call them black swirls !

I have seen a 1955 black Berra with silver swirls. That may be one of the rarest coins in existence.

Note added 12/2017 - I take it back...the Silver Mantle with gold swirl is definitely the rarest swirl I have now seen...


The other topic that true Armour Coin Collectors must be aware about is the phenomina we have named "bust tilts" . Lets look at the red, navy and aqua Rosen coins below. Look at the pointy part of the bust on the left of his neck. You can see that it points either to the N or the D in Cleveland. These are the two bust tilt variations of the Rosen coin. Some use the tip of the cap as the pointer, but I prefer the neck.  So far I have not seen one bust tilt as being more rare that another although maybe for larger groups that would prove to be untrue.  How these came to be is more confusing. Bust tilts exist for all 3 years, although I have not seen them for every coin. There are usually only two bust tilts when they exist. In a few cases I have seen 3 but never more.  These are not random, they are very specific . One must conclude that they are due to the coins being produced in multiple different molds. If there were one master mold and the rest of the production molds were made from the master (which is the usual case in plastic molding) then we would not have this phenomina of bust tilts.  If anyone has a better explanation for these please let us know.

1 comment:

  1. adding my 2 cents here
    correct mantles of both variations are rare
    i would say that if ive seen 75 total(which may be high estimate) probably 50 are l or r and 25 l-r
    and of those 75 i would guess 50 or more are either blue or as you can see the # of yellow green red orange and black correct version is very small...and in 14 years ive only seen one rare color correct mantle besides black