We were not surprised when Barrie Winsor commented that he believes the original owner of the set was Sir Robert Johnson, Deputy Mint Master of the Royal Mint London. We have handled several of Johnson's coins, including the unique 1937 Uniface Shilling.
Many of the coins held in Johnson’s collection were acquired by famed dealers A. H. Baldwin following Johnson’s untimely death in 1938.
Winsor acquired the 1910 Presentation Set in 1984 from Spink Auctions paying $4500 on an estimate of $1500.
He recalls the moment he first laid eyes on the set. And the auction session in which it was acquired. The coins were handsomely and uniformly toned, a magnificent olive green / blue hue.
And as was the case in the ‘good old days’, he took the coins to the Museum of Victoria to compare them against those housed in the Museum’s Collection.
That the coins were struck to specimen quality was confirmed.
The value of currency in recording great moments in time is clearly shown in this distinguished piece of Australiana.
Federation on 1 January 1901 was a pivotal moment in our history, when the six self-governing colonies of Australia became a single country.
Eight years would elapse before the Australian Parliament would pass legislation to allow the striking of Commonwealth of Australia silver coins of two shillings, one shilling, sixpence and threepence. And bronze or cupro nickel coins of the penny and halfpenny.
The coins were based on the British system of pounds shillings and pence.
The first silver coins of the new Commonwealth were eventually struck in 1910. Unfortunately, none of Australia’s three mints were set up to strike the new denominations, so the coins were struck at the Royal Mint in London.
The design of the coins was intended to be nation building and to underpin the Government’s efforts to unify the country. Each coin featured the newly created Australian Coat of Arms as authorised by King Edward VII in a Royal Warrant issued on 7 May 1908.
The Coat of Arms was a simple shield featuring the cross of St George, with five six-pointed white stars along the cross and six smaller shields around the edge of the larger shield representing the six states.
The shield was supported by a kangaroo and an emu standing on a grassy mound. Above the shield was the crest containing the seven-pointed gold star of Federation. Below on a ribbon the motto 'Advance Australia' is inscribed.
Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Florin depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.
Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Florin depicting a crowned King Edward VII.
Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Shilling depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.
Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Shilling depicting a crowned King Edward VII.
Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Sixpence depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.
Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Sixpence depicting a crowned King Edward VII.
Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Threepence depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.
Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Threepence depicting a crowned King Edward VII.