A unique pair of Proof 1916 Penny and Specimen 1916 Penny

A unique pair of Proof 1916 Penny and Specimen 1916 Penny
A unique pair of Proof 1916 Penny and Specimen 1916 Penny
$50,000 (two coins)
SOLD 6/6/2023
Private Collection Sydney
Our rare coin market was very active in the 1990s and the US dealers would hold off selling their Aussie material and wait for the Australian dealers to personally attend the large Coin Fairs. In 1996, we acquired a Proof 1916 Penny and a 1916 Specimen Penny (Bombay Mint) during one such US visit. The coins were authenticated by the Melbourne Museum as being a penny struck to proof quality and a penny struck to specimen quality. And they have been kept as a pair ever since. The key item in this pair is the proof penny for it is believed unique in private hands. This is the ultimate proof coin with smooth fields, impeccable surfaces, pristine uniformly spaced edge denticles, faultless inner beading, sculpted upper and lower scrolls and striations in the fields. But the specimen penny is no slouch either and has magnificent surfaces. And also is very rare. What is obvious when you compare both coins side by side is the difference in the width of the rims, the proof having wider rims than its specimen counterpart. This is an incomparable opportunity for just one buyer.
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Proof 1916 Penny (Bombay Mint) - reverse


Specimen 1916 Penny (Bombay Mint) - reverse


Proof 1916 Penny (Bombay Mint) - obverse


Specimen 1916 Penny (Bombay Mint) - obverse

In the striking of a proof coin, the mint’s intention was to create a single masterpiece, coining perfection. Perfection in the dies. Wire brushed so that they are razor sharp. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a ‘picture frame does to a canvas’.

A proof coin is meant to be impactful, have the ‘wow’ factor and exhibit qualities that are clearly visible to the naked eye. A proof coin was never intended to be used in every-day use, tucked away in a purse. Or popped into a pocket.

Proof coins were struck to be preserved in government archives as a record of Australia’s coining history, time-capsuled for future generations.


Proof coins were also used to showcase a mint’s coining skills, to display at major worldwide Exhibitions or sent to other mint’s and public institutions. A simple case of competitive one-up-man ship. (The British Museum was a major recipient of Australia’s proof coinage. So too the Royal Mint London.)

Proof coins were struck at the discretion of the Mint Master so there was no hard-fast rule about the regularity of the issues. Or the mintages. The striking of proofs was very often influenced by the collecting zeal of the Mint Master. And his involvement with the collector market. The more passionate the collecting habits of the Mint Master, the greater the chance of proofs being struck.

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PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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