1917 Proof Sixpence

1917 Proof Sixpence
1917 Proof Sixpence
1917 Proof Sixpence
Madrid Collection 1994, Private Collection Melbourne 2005
$ 45,000
The proof silver coins of George V have traditionally been the playground of investors. The coins are the rarest of the rare. And supreme for quality. This 1917 Proof Sixpence is a prime example. It is a coin of national significance, as the very first proof coin struck at the Melbourne Mint and the only known example in private hands. We are aware that one other Proof 1917 Sixpence is publicly held, in the Museum of Victoria Archives. This is testimony to its importance and its scarcity. Sold privately in 1994 to the famed Madrid Collection, then to a private collector in Melbourne in 2005, this coin has changed hands only twice over the last twenty years. And that is a typical holding pattern for most top rarities. Coins of this ilk are quite literally once-in-a-decade opportunities.
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So what makes this coin so special? And why don’t we see more of them popping up?

This Proof 1917 Sixpence is an archival record piece. Never intended to be used, or sold to collectors, its purpose was to record the mint’s coining achievements in 1917 by the creation of one stunning showpiece coin: a magnificent model piece.

The coin was also used to showcase the mint’s coining skills by being on show at Exhibitions or sent to other mint’s that came under the Royal Mint umbrella.

The production of proofs in this era necessitated a ‘kid-gloves’ approach and was labour intensive: hence the limited numbers struck.

  • The blanks were hand-picked, highly polished to produce a coin that has a mirror shine and ice-smooth fields.
  • The blanks were hardened and brushed to ensure that the design was sharp and almost three-dimensional in its appearance.
  • The dies were struck twice to create a sharp, well-defined design.
  • The rims encircling the coins were always high, creating a picture frame effect and encasing the coin. The pristine nature of the striking is particularly evident in the denticles. They are crisp and uniformly spaced around the circumference of the coin.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire an important piece of Australia’s coinage history.

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