On eBay last night, there was a 1991 Princess Victoria Kaiulani Heir Apparent 1891 1/20 oz gold coin (13mm ) listed for auction. This coin was struck in 1993. Only 625 specimens were stuck. The iconic design of Princess Victoria Kaiulani makes this a highly desirable coin.
This is a mule coin in that the reverse dies were most likely created in 1993 and the obverse die was from 1991.
The significance of this piece is that it is the first coin to depict a money unit greater than one dala in the RHM coin series. This is a 100 dalas gold coin. This is also the first instance where the upright dolphin was used as a design element.
Is it a counterfeit?
I examined the pictures of the coin and its looks like a worn obverse die was used or striking pressure was reduced.
The obvious catch is the incomplete RHM initials below the word Hawaii.
Then the incomplete C, E, S and S in the PRINCESS.
Then the C and O in VICTORIA are incomplete.
The A, R, E, N, T are also incomplete in the word APPARENT.
The 89 in the date 1891 is also incomplete.
The weak striking of the denticles on the obverse are also matches the areas near the incomplete letters.
The denticles on the top side of the obverse are not single and uniform (split in two)
The obverse portrait: Ear looks doubled, rust marks along cheek, and lost of detail in hair above date.
Here is a redline markings of my concerns (click to enlarge)…
The reverse 13 mm design is the upright dolphin (first time used on a RHM coin).
The upright dolphin design (13mm) was also used on the:
1994 Save the Ocean 13mm gold coin
1997 Save the Dolphin 13mm gold coin (undocumented in public accessible RHM mintage information).
(top is 1994 and bottom is 1997 . Note the change in wave design. )
The upright dolphins come in three sizes (for the 13mm gold).
Slim head – 1993
Medium head- 1994
Large head – 1997
I did an instant purchase on the 1993 struck 1991 Princess Victoria Kaiulani Heir Apparent 1891 1/20 oz gold coin. I will inspect the coin in person as soon as I receive it…
I plan to conserve the coin with NCS to remove the spotty look.