Browse & Buy


1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Rev-July-2019
1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Obv-July-2019
COIN
1930 Penny - and our bonus offer of a Choice Uncirculated Melbourne Mint 1930 Sovereign.
QUALITY
Good Fine / Very Fine. And one of the nicest we have sold.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$29,500
COMMENTS
This 1930 Penny is the classic example of a coin that has circulated but has miraculously survived its time in circulation unscathed. We regard it as one of the nicest 1930 Pennies that we have sold. A glance at the photos, both mood and technical, shows it to be so. With this coin you can tick the box for QUALITY. The coin has survived its time in circulation with minimal affect. You can also tick the box on PRICE for at $29,500 this 1930 Penny is advantageously priced. (In our view it is a $30,000-plus coin.) But there is a third box relating to this coin that must be ticked. And that's the box titled VALUE FOR MONEY for over the next three weeks we are giving away a Choice Uncirculated 1930 Melbourne Mint Sovereign with every 1930 Penny sold. A great 1930 Penny has now become even greater with our bonus offer.
STATUS
Available Now.
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1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Obv-July-2019
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1930-Penny-about-VF-Rev-tech-June-2019

Both reverse and obverse of this 1930 Penny are impressive. Strong upper and lower scrolls. Well defined inner beading.

1930-Penny-about-VF-Obv-tech-June-2019

Both reverse and obverse of this 1930 Penny are impressive. Shown here the portrait of George V.

Tick the box for quality.

We follow a very simple rule when it comes to 1930 Pennies.

We only consider coins that are visually very attractive and have no obvious defects from their time in circulation.

The reason is simply that 1930 Pennies were used, with the majority very well used, before collectors discovered their existence. Which means that most of the coins had been handled, mishandled, dropped, scratched or rattled around in change.

The very reason why we reject more 1930 Pennies than we accept.

The simple point - of acquiring a 1930 Penny that looks 'good' - really counts when, further down the track, it comes time for you to sell your coin and realise on your investment.

This coin follows our prime rule of acquiring a visually attractive 1930 Penny, as the photographs reveal.

The obverse shows the first and into the second side of the central diamond and six plump pearls.

Sounds technical? Probably it does but it is these facts that indicate the level of circulation that this coin has sustained.

The reverse is graded higher again at Very Fine and is very impressive with strong upper and lower scrolls, well defined inner beading and very nice edges.

Both obverse and reverse have minimal marks in the fields and handsome toning.

This is a coin that you will proudly show off to your family and friends. And are guaranteed to attract positive comments.

 

Tick the box for price.

In our view this 1930 Penny is a $30,000-plus coin for it has outstanding quality attributes that you just don't see in your average, run-of-the-mill 1930 Penny.

In fact, we regard this coin as one of the nicest 1930 Pennies that we have sold.

It is just the coin that has everything.

All the technical details - pearls, upper and lower scrolls, moustache, inner beading - and none of the defects, such as scratches and gouges, that we see in most circulated coins.

Tick the box for value for money.

Over the next three weeks we are offering a Choice Uncirculated 1930 Melbourne Mint Sovereign with every 1930 Penny sold.

A great 1930 Penny has now become even greater with our bonus offer.

1930-Sovereign-giveaway-June-2019
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Type-II-EF-obv-July-2019
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Type-II-EF--Large-rev-July-2019
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound, second die with crenelated inner circle
QUALITY
Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$32,000
COMMENTS
The 1852 Adelaide Pound holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first gold coin. It is an iconic Australian numismatic rarity, as is the 1930 Penny, the 1813 Holey Dollar and the 1813 Dump. Its status as Australia’s first gold coin ensures that it will always be sought after and strengthens its investment value. Its investment value is also enhanced by its rarity for we estimate that perhaps 250 examples are available to collectors, across all quality levels. The Adelaide Pound is a valuable coin so finding an example that doesn’t break the bank can be challenging which is why we are so excited by this coin. The coin has fared extremely well during its time in circulation, is well presented and is offered in a very popular price range.
STATUS
Sold July 2019.
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Type-II-EF--Large-rev-July-2019
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A simple rule that really counts.

When it comes to selecting an Adelaide Pound, we follow a very simple rule.

We only consider coins that are visually very attractive and have no obvious defects from their time in circulation.

It must be remembered that the Adelaide Assay Office was opened 167 years ago as a refinery to strike gold ingots.

Except for ensuring the accuracy of the weight and purity of gold in the coin, there was minimal care regarding the overall striking and the eye appeal of the coin.

The Adelaide Pounds were to be used as currency, traded in commerce. Not preserved as collectables.

As gold is a relatively soft metal, many Adelaide Pounds have been treated harshly during their time in circulation.

The very reason why we reject more Adelaide Pounds than we accept.

 

 

This coin follows our prime rule of acquiring a visually attractive 1852 Adelaide Pound, as the photographs show.

  • This 1852 Adelaide Pound was struck with the second die and is graded Extremely Fine which indicates that it has undergone some circulation with slight wear to the high points.
  • The coin has strength in the edges.
  • And the legend 'Government Assay office' is strong.
  • History records that the striking of the Adelaide Pound was fraught with problems.
  • Pressure cracked the first die. Relaxing the pressure on the second die, while it increased the design detail in the crown, interfered with the execution of the edges and the legend 'Assay Office'. Many examples struck with the second die show weakness in the edges, with some areas of the legend almost non-existent.
  • The final scrutiny of an Adelaide Pound involves the fields and we note that the rigours of circulation have treated this coin very kindly.

This Adelaide Pound is a coin that you will be proud to show your family and friends.

 

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1899M-Proof-Half-Sovereign-FDC-rev-July-2019
1899M-Proof-Half-Sovereign-FDC-obv-July-2019
COIN
Proof 1899 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Murdoch Collection, A. H. Baldwin, Nobles 2004
PRICE
$85,000
COMMENTS
You will tick every box when you mull over this Proof 1899 Half Sovereign. Tick the box for DATE for this is a classic turn-of-the-century gold proof coin struck at the Melbourne Mint. Tick the box for RARITY. A prestigious coin, it is one of two known. Tick the box for QUALITY. A superb FDC. Tick the box for PROVENANCE. Murdoch and A. H. Baldwin are two powerful numismatic names. Tick the box on GROWTH for the demand for pre-decimal proof gold is underpinning substantial growth. In our view, this Proof 1899 Half Sovereign has the attributes to be a $100,000-plus coin.
STATUS
Available now
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1899M-Proof-Half-Sovereign-FDC-obv-July-2019
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Proof gold has what it takes to interest buyers.

In 2018, proof gold emerged as one of the most fiercely contested areas of the rare coin market.

Prices paid at auction for proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns surged by about 20 per cent, the consequence of infrequent availability and an expanding market thirsting for top quality rarities.

Now while it is true that gold is Australia’s most popular collecting metal, the key to the growth in proof gold has been its inordinate scarcity.

Buyers know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples. The scarcity has simply given the market the confidence to buy.

This Proof 1899 Half Sovereign is a case in point. The coin is one of two examples recorded over the last half century.

Now for a bit of history.

This Proof 1899 Half Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint and features the Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria.

The Veiled Head design was introduced in 1893 and continued uninterrupted until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Three Australian mints were operating during this period, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the latter opening its doors in 1899.

Sydney Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

The Sydney Mint was a very poor contributor to our proof gold coining history, striking proofs in only the first year of the Veiled Head era, 1893. No other proofs were struck at the Sydney Mint between 1894 and 1901.  

Perth Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

As the Perth Mint only came on board in 1899, which was the latter part of the Veiled Head era, their contribution to this sector of the market was always going to be slim.

The Perth Mint struck only one proof half sovereign in the year of its opening, a unique piece sold by Coinworks in 2017 for $500,000.

The Perth Mint struck two proof half sovereigns in 1901, and again only one example is held in private hands. The other is held in the British Museum.

 

Melbourne Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

We researched auction records and our own private treaty sales and have confirmed the existence of seventeen Proof Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Half Sovereigns, many of which have not been sighted since the 1980s and 1990s.

That figure immediately becomes sixteen once you bring quality into the conversation for the Proof 1895 Half Sovereign is noted as being ‘nearly FDC’ with slight nicks in the obverse fields.

It is noted that these seventeen examples cover the entire spectrum of dates in Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901. And are an accumulation of sightings observed over the last 50-plus years.

Now we know that seventeen Proof Veiled Head Sovereigns are never going to be slapped onto the table in one hit and offered for sale at the same time, so how often can a buyer realistically expect to see one such coin?

Our research confirms that you could realistically expect to sight a Melbourne Mint Proof Veiled Head Half Sovereign on the market every three to five years.

Now let's discuss the rarity and price potential of the Proof 1899 Half Sovereign.

When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should assess the coin on two levels.

1.    The first is the rarity of the coin itself.

2.    And the second, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs. In the case of this coin, the Veiled Head era.

The adage, ‘less is best’ holds true in the rare coin industry for you don't want the market to be flooded with examples from the same sector.

The ideal ‘investment’ scenario occurs when the coin is rare. And the sector is occupied by very few other coins.

As detailed above, this Proof 1899 Half Sovereign is extremely rare, one of only two known.

And the Veiled Head sector is extremely scarce and is occupied by very few coins.

Which goes back to our opening statement that the key to the growth in demand for proof gold is its inordinate scarcity.

Buyers of proof gold know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples.

 

enquire now

1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-REV-July-2019
1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-OBV-July-2019
COIN
1920 Square Penny Type 7
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated. Proof-like surfaces. Uniform edges.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
EXTREMELY RARE. YET RELATIVELY AVAILABLE. Five words that sum up the overwhelming popularity of the 1920 Type 7 Square Penny. Now if that sounds like a contradiction in terms ... rare yet available ... let us explain. The Type 7 is known by perhaps 12 examples. Now we know that twelve Type 7s are never going to be slapped onto the table in one hit and offered for sale at the one time, so how often can a buyer realistically expect to see a 1920 Type 7 on the market? Our research confirms that you might expect to be offered a Type 7 Square Penny once every two to three years. Which goes back to our opening comment that the Type 7 Square Penny is EXTREMELY RARE. Now let’s expand upon our second comment of YET RELATIVELY AVAILABLE for it is the combination of both points, the rarity and its availability, that is the key to the Type 7's popularity. And its affordable price.
STATUS
Available now
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1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-OBV-July-2019
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The Square Pennies were struck in 1919, 1920 and 1921 at the Melbourne Mint.

One of the most popular means of collecting the Kookaburra coins is to acquire ONE coin from each year. One from 1919. One from 1920. And one from 1921.

And the year 1920 is a tricky one.

  • Five designs were tested in 1920 and they are referred to as the Type 7, Type 8, Type 9, Type 10 and Type 13.
  • Forget the Type 13 because the only known examples are held in the Museum of Victoria.
  • The Type 8 is one of the rarest in the entire series and we estimate four examples are known. Expect to pay around $180,000 to $200,000 if - and when - the coin becomes available. Waiting time could be anything up to ten years.
  • We estimate that seven examples of the Type 9 and Type 10 are available, which translates into a waiting time of up to five to six years.
  • And the price tags on the Type 9 and Type 10 are onerous to most collectors, the Type 9 is around the $200,000 mark. And the Type 10, featuring the crowned head portrait of King George V available at a figure close to $400,000.

Buyers don't want to wait ten years. And buyers don't necessarily want to outlay $180,000-plus for a coin.

When you weigh the challenges of acquiring a 1920 Square Penny is it any wonder that the Type 7 is the most popular choice.

Now for a bit of history ...

The rumblings of a Republican movement were heard in 1919 when the Australian Labor Government decided to discard the traditional British penny and halfpenny designs and replace the coins with square coinage featuring the kookaburra.

The change to incorporate Australia's native bird onto our coinage was politically motivated.

 

A wave of nationalism was sweeping the country post World War I and the Government saw political advantage in tapping into the mood of the people by introducing a uniquely Australian flavour to our coinage.

A kookaburra design and the depiction of the monarch without a crown were two of the elements of the new coinage that while highly contentious and provocative, the Government believed would be accepted.

A new metal was also used. The square kookaburra coins were tested in cupro-nickel.  

Trials commenced at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and continued until 1921 with the test pieces ultimately passed to dignitaries and Government officials to assess their reaction.

It is believed that over the three year period 200 pieces, of various designs, were produced.

The response to Australia’s square coinage was however poor. There was widespread public resistance to change, while the elderly rejected the small size of the coins.

However, the final decision not to proceed seems to have been based mainly on another consideration. The large number of vending machines then in operation requiring a circular coin.

The impetus for change was further eroded when William Watt, the most influential advocate of the nickel kookaburras, suddenly resigned his position as Treasurer before the necessary regulations were in place.

The kookaburra coins never went into production and Australia lost a great opportunity to go its own way. But with only the 200 prototypes to show as evidence of the Government’s grand scheme, Australian coinage gained another wonderful collector piece. And a prized coin rarity.

For many collectors the fascination with the Square Penny and Halfpenny takes them on a journey to acquire more than one example. The coins are engaging and their rarity offers collectors the challenge they so often seek.


1947-Perth-Proof-Penny-Rev-July-2019
1947-Perth-Proof-Penny-Obv-July-2019
COIN
Proof 1947 Penny Perth Mint
QUALITY
A superb FDC, violet red proof.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
Bidders acknowledged the exceptional state of this coin when it came up for auction in 1996. Brilliantly preserved and described as a violet red proof, the coin sold for $6600 on an estimate of $3000. A quick glance at the photographs confirms its extraordinary condition. This is Perth Mint proof coining at its best, of the year 1947 and any year for that matter. Testimony to its rarity, we have only ever handled three Proof 1947 Pennies, this coin the finest by far.
STATUS
Sold July 2017.
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1947-Perth-Proof-Penny-Obv-July-2019
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The rarity of the Proof 1947 Penny was confirmed in 1995 in an article published by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives.

He found evidence that nineteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1947.

Now let's put that figure nineteen into perspective for, unlike today's decimal market, these proofs were NOT struck for collectors.

The majority of the mintage was sent to public institutions such as the Royal Mint London, the British Museum, the Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial.

That the bulk of the mintage was gifted to institutions is the very reason why they are so rare in today's collector market. 

We might sight a Proof 1947 Penny on the market every two to three years.

History of the Perth Mint.

To facilitate the rapid conversion of gold into currency (sovereigns and half sovereigns), the British Government authorised the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855, the Melbourne Mint in 1872 and the Perth Mint in 1899.

The Perth Mint remained a gold producing mint from the year of its opening until 1931 when Australia struck its last sovereign and the coining presses at the Mint ground to a halt.

 

The Perth Mint endured a nine-year period of nil coin production.

That the Melbourne Mint was striking Australia’s Commonwealth coins and that Australia was in the midst of a depression simply meant that the minting facilities at Perth were excess to requirements.

The onset of war created a window of opportunity and in 1940 the Perth Mint took up the reins for striking Australia’s circulating copper coins for the Commonwealth Government.

The Perth Mint continued to strike copper coins until 1964, when two years later Australia converted to decimal currency.

In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation. Some of the pieces were archived. Some were gifted to prominent Australian and overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces.

The Royal Mint London, the British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial were just some of the institutions to receive Perth proofs.

There was no hint of commercialism in the production of these pieces. Posterity, the preservation of Australia’s coining heritage … that and a passion for numismatics were the driving forces behind their striking. The collector market was denied access to the coins.

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1921 Proof STAR Shilling rev March 2019
1921 Proof STAR Shilling obv Large March 2019
COIN
Proof 1921 Star Shilling
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
The greatness and the historical significance of Australia’s proof coinage is exemplified in the Proof 1930 Penny. And this coin, the Proof 1921 Star Shilling. Both coins are numismatic greats and capture grand moments in time. And both coins are rare. Three examples of the Proof 1930 Penny are privately held. And only ONE of the Proof 1921 Star Shilling. This coin.
STATUS
Sold June 2019.
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1921 Proof STAR Shilling obv Large March 2019
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1921 Proof STAR Shilling rev tech March 2019

The Proof 1921 Star Shilling has a brilliant reverse, reminiscent of the unique Proof 1920 Shilling (ex A. M. Le Souef and Syd Hagley) sold by Coinworks in 2012. Note the definitive star above the date.

The Star Shilling is iconic, one of Australia’s rarest shillings struck at the Sydney Mint from dies produced at the Royal Mint London.

Apart from an extremely low mintage of circulation coins, two proof pieces were produced.

One is held in the Museum of Victoria. The second piece, this coin, is the only known example in private hands.

The inclusion of the ‘star’ above the date reflected the intention of the Australian Government to reduce the silver content of its coinage.

Rapidly rising silver prices in 1919 prompted Governments around the world to review the metal content of their coinage.

Britain abandoned 800 years of tradition when the country reduced the silver content of its currency from sterling silver to an alloy of 50%.

Canada acted similarly moving from a sterling silver standard down to 80% while British West Africa dropped silver issues altogether in favour of nickel coins.

This Proof 1921 Star Shilling last appeared at public auction more than thirty years ago, at the very famous Spink March 1988 Auction. It was offered as lot 1167.

In Australia’s complete numismatic history, the March '88 auction has never been outdone for its offering of Australia’s top coin rarities. A yardstick for what constitutes the very best of Australia’s rare coins. And a yardstick for prices.

1988 was the nation's bicentenary year, and in a numismatic celebration, Spink London used all its contacts to garner the very best of the best of Australia’s coins to offer to local collectors.

1921 Proof STAR Shilling obv tech March 2019

The denticles in the rim have been struck twice, proving that more than one blow from the dies were required to strike the coin sharply in all details as was the case when minting proofs.

Holey Dollars. The Madrid. The Hannibal Head. The unique Ferdinand VI. And other Holey Dollars making eleven in total. And the Sir Marcus Clark Dump. The famous 1920 Square Halfpenny. The 1919 Pattern Shilling. 1920 and 1921 Florin and Shillings. And the 1937 Patterns. And this coin, the Proof 1921 Star Shilling. All appeared in the March 1988 Bicentenary Auction.

That rare coins do deliver solid growth over the long term is exemplified in the Proof Star Shilling. The coin sold for $9500 in March 1988. And today is offered at ten times that amount.

And the ratio of 10:1 from 1988 to today is not an aberration. It is in line with the price movement of other coins sold in the March 1988 Auction.

We have always been excited by the Proof 1921 Star Shilling and mentioned our offering to Greg McDonald, numismatic luminary and literary giant.

Greg has always been very forthcoming with his knowledge and he provided us with a sneak preview of a book that he has been working on  … the Essential Reference to Australian Coins and Banknotes. We were particularly interested in chapter 32, Pre-decimal Commonwealth Proof, Specimen and Pattern Coins and his feature of the Proof 1921 Star Shilling.

Greg notes that the Proof 1921 Star Shilling was likely minted at the request of A. M. Le Souef, Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint who also happened to be a passionate collector of silver coins.

Greg also commented on the Proof Star Shilling's excessively rare, unique, status.

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1921-Square-Penny-Type-12-Unc-rev-July-2019
1921-Square-Penny-Type-12-Unc-obv-July-2019
COIN
1921 Square Penny
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Adelaide
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
This coin, the 1921 Square Penny, is the most popular coin in the entire kookaburra square coin series. It has the exclusivity that rare coin buyers are seeking. One high quality Square Penny of this style would appear on the market perhaps once every year ... rare in anyone's language. And importantly, for buyers, this Square Penny is affordable.
STATUS
Sold July 2019.
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1921-Square-Penny-Type-12-Unc-obv-July-2019
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The Kookaburra Square Penny is an 'Aussie classic'. It's a title that is used sparingly. But glowingly.

On pieces such as our first silver coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. And our first gold coins, the Adelaide Pounds.

And the nation's favourite copper rarity, the 1930 Penny.

The 'kookaburra' coins never fail to engage their owners. And generate excitement, the engagement due to its unique shape and its place in history.

This Square Penny is known as the design type 12 and we estimate that perhaps 40 examples are available to private collectors.

Now it is true that we are as picky with our Square Pennies as we are with our 1930 Pennies.

So ... if you factor quality into your purchase equation you will find a tiny pool of about 20 to 30 nice quality design type 12 Square Pennies available.

A comparison with Australia's classic copper rarity, the 1930 Penny - where it is believed 1500 are known -  highlights the extreme rarity of this Square Penny.

 

The Square Penny is history. A point in time when the Australian Federal Government planned the introduction of square coinage. And it is the historical angle that ensures sustained buyer interest, underpinning the coin's investment value.

The Square Kookaburra coins were thrown into the spotlight in 1954 when Sir Marcus Clark O.B.E. sold his extensive and famous collection of Australian coin rarities.

It is on record that his 1921 Square Penny and 1921 Square Halfpenny sold for £36. Even more interesting is that in the same auction an Extremely Fine Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar sold for just over twice that amount at £72 10/-. (The investment potential of the Square Penny and Square Halfpenny lies in the fact that the Holey Dollar is now a $450,000-plus item.)

The popularity of the kookaburras continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s with extensive reporting of their appearances occurring in the then industry magazine, The Australian Coin Review.

Strong collector and investor interest in the Square Kookaburras continues to this very day. That interest in the series spans more than half a century is comforting for new buyers entering the market.

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1896 Proof Half Sovereign rev FROSTED B&B October 2017
1896 Proof Half Sovereign obv FROSTED B&B October 2017
COIN
Proof 1896 Half Sovereign
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$80,000
COMMENTS
In 2018, proof gold emerged as one of the most fiercely contested areas of the rare coin market. Prices paid at auction for proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns surged by about 20 per cent, the consequence of infrequent availability and an expanding market thirsting for top quality rarities. Now while it is true that gold is Australia’s most popular collecting metal, the key to the growth in proof gold has been its inordinate scarcity. Buyers know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples. The scarcity has simply given the market the confidence to buy. This 1896 Proof Half Sovereign is a case in point. The coin is one of three examples recorded over the last half century.
STATUS
Sold June 2019.
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1896 Proof Half Sovereign obv FROSTED B&B October 2017
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This Proof 1896 Half Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint and features the Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria.

The Veiled Head design was introduced in 1893 and continued uninterrupted until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Three Australian mints were operating during this period, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the latter opening its doors in 1899.

Sydney Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

The Sydney Mint was a very poor contributor to our proof gold coining history, striking proofs in only the first year of the Veiled Head era, 1893. No other proofs were struck at the Sydney Mint between 1894 and 1901.  

Perth Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

As the Perth Mint only came on board in 1899, which was the latter part of the Veiled Head era, their contribution to this sector of the market was always going to be slim.

The Perth Mint struck only one proof half sovereign in the year of its opening, this unique piece sold by Coinworks in 2017 for $500,000.

The Perth Mint struck two proof half sovereigns in 1901, and again only one example is held in private hands. The other is held in the British Museum.

Melbourne Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

We researched auction records and our own private treaty sales and have confirmed the existence of seventeen Proof Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Half Sovereigns.  

That figure immediately becomes sixteen once you bring quality into the conversation for the Proof 1895 Half Sovereign is noted as being ‘nearly FDC’ with slight nicks in the obverse fields.

Now let’s translate the number sixteen into collector availability. How often can a buyer expect to see a Proof Veiled Head Half Sovereign on the market? Because sixteen proof half sovereigns are never going to be lumped on the table in one hit.

These sixteen examples cover the entire spectrum of dates in Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901. And are an accumulation of sightings observed over the last 50-plus years.

 

Now let's discuss the rarity and price potential of the Proof 1896 Half Sovereign.

When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should assess the coin on two levels.

  1. The first is the rarity of the coin itself.
  2. And the second, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs. In the case of this coin, the Veiled Head era.

The adage, ‘less is best’ holds true in the rare coin industry for you don't want the market to be flooded with examples from the same sector.

The ideal ‘investment’ scenario occurs when the coin is rare. And the sector is occupied by very few other coins.

As detailed above, this Proof 1896 Half Sovereign is extremely rare, one of only three known.

And the Veiled Head sector is extremely scarce and is occupied by very few coins.

Our research confirms that you could expect to sight a Proof Veiled Head Half Sovereign on the market every three to five years.

Which goes back to our opening statement that the key to the growth in demand for proof gold is its inordinate scarcity.

Buyers of proof gold know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples.

 

enquire now

1888-Proof-sovereign-June-2019
1888-Proof-Sovereign-Mood-Obv-June-2019
COIN
Proof 1888 Melbourne Mint Sovereign
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Philip Spalding, Private Collection Western Australia
PRICE
$125,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1888 Sovereign is one of two examples recorded over the last half century. And for the record, the only Proof Jubilee Sovereign that we have ever sold. The coin is as luxurious as it is rare. And the date 1888 is simply the icing on the cake. It’s the bonus that makes one of Australia’s grand gold coin rarities, even grander. (Technical shots are provided in READ MORE.)
STATUS
Sold June 2019.
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1888-Proof-Sovereign-Mood-Obv-June-2019
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1888-Proof-Sov-Tech-Rev-June-2019

The reverse features the very famous design of Saint George and the Dragon created by Italian gem and coin engraver Benedetto Pistrucci. 

Gold has been a symbol of status and wealth throughout the ages and is presented here in one of its most prestigious forms. A limited mintage gold proof coin. One of two known.

And while Philip Spalding is remembered for his love of Holey Dollars. It must be said that he was a sophisticated collector on many levels, guided in his selections by Barrie Winsor.

And this 1888 Proof Sovereign, featuring the Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria, was one of his prized possessions.

Now for some history ....

Queen Victoria celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of her accession on 20 June 1887.

The Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria that was depicted on Australia’s sovereigns between 1871 and 1887 was replaced with a Jubilee portrait designed by Austrian medallist Joseph Edgar Boehm.

The Jubilee portrait continued uninterrupted from 1887 up to (and including) 1893 when Australia introduced Queen Victoria’s Veiled Head portrait.

Now let's talk rarity ....

When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer needs to consider two aspects.

  1. The rarity of the coin itself.
  2. And the second aspect, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs.

The adage, ‘less is best’ holds true in the rare coin industry for you don't want the market to be flooded with examples from the same sector.

The ideal ‘investment’ scenario occurs when the coin is rare. And the sector is occupied by very few other coins.

 

1888-Proof-Sov-Tech-Obv-June-2019

This 1888 Proof Sovereign features the Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria designed by Austrian medallist and sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

So how does this Proof 1888 Sovereign stack up?

As detailed above, this Proof 1888 Sovereign is rare. One of two known.

And it is noted that Proof Sovereigns out of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee era (1887 to 1893) are amazingly limited in numbers as the text below reveals.

We reflect on the fact that this is the only Proof Jubilee Sovereign that we have sold in a career that spans nearly half a century.

Sydney Mint Jubilee Proofs

  • The Sydney Mint struck proofs in the very first year of the design, 1887. Two examples have been sighted.
  • The Sydney Mint did NOT strike any proofs in the years 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1892.
  • The Sydney Mint struck proofs in the last year of the design, 1893. Only one example has been sighted.

Melbourne Mint Jubilee Proofs

  • The Melbourne Mint struck proofs in the first year of the design, 1887. The coin has never been sighted.
  • The Melbourne Mint struck proofs in 1888. Two examples have been sighted. This coin. And another example that was last sighted at auction in 1994.
  • The Melbourne Mint struck proofs in 1889. One example has been sighted, the last auction appearance occurring in 1988.
  • The Melbourne Mint is said to have struck proofs in 1890. They have never been sighted.
  • The Melbourne Mint did NOT strike any proofs in the years 1891 and 1892.
  • The Melbourne Mint struck Jubilee proofs in 1893, none of which have ever been sighted.

Aside from their extreme scarcity, proof gold coins are a delight to the eye, appealing to those who seek perfection in coining.

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1949-Proof-Halfpenny-Rev-June-2019
1949-Proof-Halfpenny-Obv-June-2019
COIN
1949 Perth Mint Proof Halfpenny
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Western Australia
PRICE
$17,500
COMMENTS
The 1949 Proof Halfpenny struck at the Perth Mint is inordinately scarce. In a career that spans nearly half a century, this coin is the SECOND only example that we have sold. We looked to research conducted by John Sharples for a possible explanation as to its extreme rarity. And we got it. Sharples was National Editor of the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia and Curator of Australia’s National Archive Collection and in 1995 published an article that examined the Perth Mint Proof Record Coins of 1940 to 1954. He examined the distribution of proofs by analysing the “out-book”, entries that correlated to the despatch of proof coins to local and overseas museums and institutions. Sharples could not find any evidence in the "out-book" of the distribution of the 1949 Proof Halfpenny. History now tells us that proofs were definitely struck. But perhaps the mintage was minuscule. The very reason why they are so rare in today’s marketplace. Technical shots are provided.
STATUS
Sold June 2019
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Has the flying kangaroo ever looked so good? Original copper brilliance and slight smoky toning.

As part of his study, Sharples questioned why the Perth Mint achieved such superb quality levels in the striking of their proofs.

And he found it in one word. PRIDE.

The minting facilities at the Perth Mint came to a grinding halt in 1931 when the last sovereign was struck.

And only came back into use in 1940 when the Australian Government instructed the Perth Mint to commence production of the nation's copper pennies and halfpennies.

As Sharples states. A lot of discussion was entered into as to how the Perth Mint coppers would be identified to differentiate them from Melbourne proofs ... a STOP after Penny. A tiny dot in the KG.

This was all technical 'stuff' that was irrelevant to the Perth Mint staff. They were back producing coins again and that was all that counted!

And one of the means of communicating that the mint was back in business was to produce proofs to a standard that were "in a class of their own". Memorable.

Perth Mint Proof Coining 1940 to 1954.

The period commencing 1940 is considered by historians to be one of the most important eras in the history of the Perth Mint.

The mint was established in 1899 to produce gold sovereigns and half sovereigns.

When Australia struck its last gold coin in 1931, the coining presses at the Perth Mint ground to a halt and the mint endured a nine-year period of nil-production.

 

1949-Proof-Halfpenny-Obv-Tech-June-2019

Glossy brown fields showcase the highly detailed portrait of King George VI.

That the Melbourne Mint was striking Australia’s Commonwealth coins and that Australia was in the midst of a depression simply meant that the minting facilities at Perth were excess to requirements.

The onset of war created a window of opportunity and in 1940 the Perth Mint took up the reins for striking Australia’s circulating copper coins for the Commonwealth Government.

In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck archival proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation.

Some of the pieces were archived. Some were gifted to prominent Australian and overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces.

The Perth Mint records contain a list of all public collections and Societies that were authorised to receive their proofs.

They were: Royal Mint London, British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Perth Mint Collection, Japan Mint, Australian War Memorial, Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Numismatic Societies of Victoria and South Australia and the Australian Numismatic Society and the National Galleries of both South Australia and Victoria.

The proofs of the Perth Mint are unrivalled for quality.

A well-preserved coin not only displays superb levels of detail in its design, but qualities and colours that are simply unmatched by those of the Melbourne Mint.

Each coin is a work of art, as individual, and as beautiful, as an opal.

 

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1805-Holey-Dollar-obv-July-2019
1805-Holey-Dollar-rev-July-2019
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar struck from an 1805 Mexico Mint Silver Dollar
QUALITY
Good Very Fine / Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Maurice Eschwege, Captain H. Paget, Albert Bagnall, Philip Spalding.
PRICE
$265,000
COMMENTS
There is an immeasurable pride in owning an example of Australia’s first coin, the Holey Dollar. And if you can open not one, but TWO, of the most respected books on Holey Dollars and see your coin detailed and illustrated, then the feelings go even deeper. It is an affirmation of the proud history that accompanies your coin. And so it is with this Holey Dollar. It is illustrated in Philip Spalding's esteemed book, “The World of the Holey Dollar”. And the internationally respected “Holey Dollars of New South Wales” by Messrs. Mira & Noble. And it is true that only a handful of collectors can ever lay claim to having their Holey Dollars in both books.
STATUS
Available now
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The fundamentals of this Holey Dollar.

This Holey Dollar was created from a Spanish Silver Dollar that was struck at the Mexico Mint in 1805 and features the legend and portrait of Charles IV.

The original silver dollar is graded in the upper quality levels of Good Very Fine and has toned to a glorious, soft gun-metal grey.

What we know is that once converted to a Holey Dollar in 1813 the coin underwent minimal circulation for the counter-stamps are graded higher again at Extremely Fine. 

A well documented provenance.

The coin is featured on page 195 and 196 of  Philip Spalding's book, "The World of the Holey Dollar": a compliment in itself.

Published in 1973 this book is still to this day a major reference on the Holey Dollar. (A copy of Spalding’s book will be provided with this coin.)

It is also featured on page 51 the "Holey Dollars of New South Wales" by Messrs. Mira and Noble. 

Only a handful of collectors can ever lay claim to having their Holey Dollars in both books.

The Holey Dollar is respected and sought after worldwide, and that has been the case for more than a century. As this coin illustrates.   

Its first recorded owner was British collector Maurice Eschwege, jeweller and pawnbroker, located at 47 Lime Street, Liverpool. His collection was sold by Sotheby’s London, 30 March 1931, the Holey Dollar offered as lot 116.

The next recorded owner was British Royal Naval Officer, Captain H. E. G. Paget. His collection was sold at Glendining’s London, June 1944, the Holey Dollar appearing as lot 144.

The coin traversed the globe when it was acquired by American collector Albert E. Bagnall whose collection was sold in 1964 by Spink London.

Renowned British collectors and a renowned American collector and then eventually back to Australia through the illustrious hands of its fourth recorded owner, Philip Spalding.

That the coin has attracted sustained buyer interest right across the globe for nearly a century in Britain, the U.S. and Australia is testimony to the international appeal of the Holey Dollar.   

1805-Holey-Dollar-Rev-Tech-June-2019
1805-Holey-Dollar-Obv-Tech-June-2019
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The Holey Dollar is one of Australia's most desirable coins.

Talk to those fortunate enough to own one, either private collectors or institutions such as Macquarie Bank, National Museum of Australia and the Mitchell Library, and they will tell you that the Holey Dollar is viewed as the jewel in their collection.

And that statement is made irrespective of the quality level.

Most Holey Dollars are today found well worn with many looking like a tap washer.

The reason is simply that no quality parameters were set on Macquarie’s shipment of 40,000 silver dollars. That and the extensive use of the dollar as an international trading coin meant that most of the coins imported by Macquarie were well worn.

Once you move from the well circulated Good to Good Fine quality levels up to the Very Fine and Good Very Fine echelons, the differences in quality are marked and noticeable, clearly visible to the naked eye.

It is the details in the hair, the robes and the overall state of the fields.

The price of this Holey Dollar reflects its outstanding quality attributes.

The Holey Dollar is a coin that is held in the utmost respect. It is history. And yet it is refreshingly current.

The ingenuity of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in creating our first coin is reflected in the naming of the Macquarie Bank and the bank’s ultimate adoption of the Holey Dollar as its logo.

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History of the Holey Dollar

1788 - 1812. From a penal colony to a commercial hub.

That Australia was settled in 1788, and the Holey Dollar and Dump not struck until 1813, raises the question about the medium of currency operating in the intervening years.

No consideration had been given to the monetary needs of the penal settlement of New South Wales. It was planned on the assumption that it would be self-supporting, with no apparent need for hard cash for either internal or external purposes.

Even if it had been theoretically planned for, it would have been physically impossible for the British Government to fund this new venture. Britain’s own currency was in a deplorable state and the Royal Mint’s priorities were clearly set at making improvements on the home front, not diverting hard cash off-shore.

Foreign coins arrived haphazardly in trade, and acquired local acceptability and brief legal recognition, but what was received quickly left the colony to pay for imports.

The essence of all business is a medium of exchange. Having very little hard cash, the inhabitants, from governor to free settlers and convicts, improvised by issuing hand-written promissory notes, in denominations as low as 3d, to settle their debts.

Commercial transactions were also facilitated through barter of goods and services. Liquor was the prime commercial force and medium for barter in the colony and for almost forty years was part of the wages received by a considerable section of the population.

 

By 1812 the social fabric of Sydney as a community was emerging. It was no longer a redistribution point for convicts, with only the military as permanent residents.

Streets were being named. Macquarie, Phillip, Elizabeth, Castlereagh, Pitt and George Street. A post office was established and the common had been christened Hyde Park.

Houses had to be aligned and numbered and heavy industry was being re-located out of the city centre to the suburbs. 

Despite the social improvements, there was no bank and liquor remained the most commonly negotiated medium of currency exchange.

Rum, which cost 7/6 a gallon was being sold for up to £8 and its use as a negotiating medium was utilized by all sections of the community, including government.

And the highest levels of Government at that. Even Lachlan Macquarie used rum to buy a house. The cost? 200 gallons.

By 1812, the penal colony of New South Wales had shaken off the shackles of being a receptacle for convicts.

It was no longer a ‘jail’. And was emerging as a structured society and a commercial hub.

The stage was set for Governor Lachlan Macquarie to introduce Australia’s first currency.


1813. A coinage is conceived from imported Spanish Silver Dollars.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie etched his name into numismatic history forever when in 1812 he imported 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars to alleviate a currency crisis in the infant colony of New South Wales.

Macquarie’s order for Silver Dollars did not specify dates. Any date would do. He wasn’t concerned about the various mints at which they were struck. Nor was he fussy about the quality of the coins. The extensive use of the Spanish Silver Dollar as an international trading coin meant that most were well worn.

Concluding that the shipment of 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars would not suffice, Macquarie decided to cut a hole in the centre of each dollar, thereby creating two coins out of one, a ring dollar and a disc. It was an extension of a practice of ‘cutting’ coins into segments, widespread at the time.

Macquarie needed a skilled coiner to carry out his coining project. William Henshall, acquired his skills as an engraver in Birmingham, where the major portion of his apprenticeship consisted of mastering the art of die sinking and die stamping for the shoe buckle and engraved button trades.

In the same year as the Spanish Silver Dollar was minted - 1805 - he was apprehended for forgery, faking Bank of England Dollars, and sentenced to the penal colony of New South Wales for seven years.

Enlisted by Lachlan Macquarie as the colony’s first mint master, Henshall commenced the coining process by cutting out a disc from each silver dollar using a hand-lever punch.

He then proceeded to re-stamp both sides of the holed dollar around the inner circular edge with the value of five shillings, the date 1813 and the issuing authority of New South Wales.

Other design elements in this re-stamping process included a fleur de lis, a twig of two leaves and a tiny ‘H’ for Henshall. 

The holed coins were officially known as ring, pierced or colonial dollars and although ‘holey’ was undoubtedly applied to them from the outset, the actual term ‘holey’ dollar did not appear in print until the 1820s.

We refer to the coins today as the 1813 New South Wales Five Shillings (or Holey Dollar).

The silver disc that fell out of the hole wasn’t wasted. Henshall restamped the disc with a crown, the issuing authority of New South Wales and the lesser value of 15 pence and it became known as the Dump.

In creating two coins out of one, Macquarie effectively doubled the money supply. And increased their total worth by 25 per cent.

Anyone counterfeiting ring dollars or dumps were liable to a seven-year prison term; the same penalty applied for melting down. Jewellers were said to be particularly suspect. To prevent export, masters of ships were required to enter into a bond of £200 not to carry the coin away.

Of the 40,000 silver dollars imported by Macquarie, records indicate that 39,910 of each coin were delivered to the Deputy Commissary General’s Office by January 1814 with several despatched back to Britain as specimens, the balance assumed spoiled during production.

The Holey Dollar and Dumps remained as currency within the colony until 1829. The colony had by then reverted to a standard based on sterling and a general order was issued by Governor Darling to withdraw and demonetise the dollars and dumps.

The recalled specie was eventually shipped off to the Royal Mint London, melted down and sold off to the Bank of England for £5044.

It is estimated that 300 Holey Dollars exist today of which a third are held in public institutions with the balance owned by private collectors.


1893-Melbourne-Proof-Sovereign-rev-Large-July-2019
1893-Melbourne-Proof-Sovereign-obv-Large-July-2019
COIN
Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$115,000
COMMENTS
In 2018, proof gold emerged as one of the most fiercely contested areas of the rare coin market. Prices paid at auction for proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns surged by about 20 per cent, the consequence of infrequent availability and an expanding market thirsting for top quality rarities. Now while it is true that gold is Australia’s most popular collecting metal, the key to the growth in proof gold has been its inordinate scarcity. Buyers know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples. The scarcity has simply given the market the confidence to buy. This Proof 1893 Sovereign is a case in point. The coin is one of two examples recorded over the last half century.
STATUS
Available now
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This Proof 1893 Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint and features the Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria.

The year 1893 was the very first year the Veiled Head portrait appeared on Australia’s sovereigns, the design continuing uninterrupted until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Three Australian mints were operating during this period, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the latter opening its doors in 1899.

Sydney Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

The Sydney Mint was a very poor contributor to the nation's proof gold coining history, striking proofs in only the first year of the Veiled Head era, 1893.

No other proofs were struck at the Sydney Mint between 1894 and 1901.  

Perth Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

As the Perth Mint only came on board in 1899, which was the latter part of the Veiled Head era, their contribution to this sector of the market was always going to be slim.

Only one example has been sighted of the Proof 1899 Sovereign (with two believed struck).

And while three proofs were believed to have been struck in 1901, only one example has been sighted and was sold by Coinworks in 2013.

Melbourne Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

We researched auction records and our own private treaty sales and have confirmed the existence of twelve Proof Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Sovereigns, many of which have not been sighted since the 1980s and 1990s.

It is noted that these twelve examples cover the entire spectrum of dates in Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901. And are an accumulation of sightings observed over the last 50-plus years.

Now we know that twelve Proof Veiled Head Sovereigns are never going to be slapped onto the table in one hit and offered for sale at the same time, so how often can a buyer realistically expect to see one such coin?

Our research confirms that you could realistically expect to sight a Melbourne Mint Proof Veiled Head Sovereign on the market every four to five years.

 

Now let's discuss the rarity and price potential of the Proof 1893 Sovereign.

When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should assess the coin on two levels.

  1. The first is the rarity of the coin itself.
  2. And the second, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs. In the case of this coin, the Veiled Head era.

The adage, ‘less is best’ holds true in the rare coin industry for you don't want the market to be flooded with examples from the same sector.

The ideal ‘investment’ scenario occurs when the coin is rare. And the sector is occupied by very few other coins.

As detailed above, this Proof 1893 Sovereign is extremely rare, one of only two known.

And the Veiled Head sector is extremely scarce and is occupied by very few coins.

Which goes back to our opening statement that the key to the growth in demand for proof gold is its inordinate scarcity.

Buyers of proof gold know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples.

 

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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-rev-FDC-July-2019
COIN
1860 Hogarth & Erichsen Aborigine Threepence
QUALITY
Mint state, as struck
PROVENANCE
Sir Marcus Clark K.B.E, sold by James R. Lawson Auctioneers 1954.
PRICE
$105,000
COMMENTS
The 1860 Aborigine Threepence is an industry icon. It is the earliest representation of an indigenous person to appear on Australian currency. Its appeal extends far beyond the numismatic industry. It is a piece that has cultural significance. And national significance.
STATUS
Available now
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This 1860 Aborigine Threepence was formerly owned by Sir Marcus Clark K.B.E and is presented in a superb mint state.

When James R Lawson Auctioneers sold the collection of the late Sir Marcus Clark in July 1954, his 1860 Aborigine Threepence (this coin) was placed in the sale alongside his Holey Dollar and Dump, such was the respect with which it was held.

Selling for £38, the Aborigine Threepence fetched more than twice that of Clark's Extremely Fine Dump (£18). Today the Dump would be valued in excess of $100,000. 

At £38, the Aborigine Threepence fetched nearly double that of Clark's Extremely Fine 1852 Adelaide Pound Cracked Die (£20) which today would be valued at $175,000.

The potential of this piece is further highlighted by the realisation of Sir Marcus Clark's Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar in the same 1954 Lawson Auction. The Holey Dollar sold for £72. That very same coin is currently on offer at Coinworks for $465,000.

Struck in silver, a minuscule eight pieces of the 1860 Aborigine Threepence are known, with this piece acknowledged as the absolute finest.

Presented as struck, in a mint state, the surfaces are proof-like.

As you would expect of a piece of this calibre, it comes with a well-documented pedigree, the property of foremost collector Sir Marcus Clark whose reputation for acquiring the very best is indelibly printed into the chronicles of numismatic history.

The sale of the Marcus Clark Collection in 1954 by auctioneers James Lawson Pty Ltd records the first public appearance of the Aborigine Threepence, where it sold for £38.

The piece was auctioned 27 years later, and in a fiercely contested bidding war, it sold for $23,000 on a pre-auction estimate of $12,500. 

The third appearance was in July 2007. The front cover item of a 400-page catalogue, it stirred up serious buyer interest selling for $92,000 against a pre-auction estimate of $75,000.

Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen set up as jewellers in 1852 in a small shop at 394 George Street (near Liverpool Street). Relocating several times in the same street, their final location was 312 George Street on the south east corner of Hunter Street in what was formerly Skinners Hotel.

Hogarth is reputed to have designed and engraved the dies, while Erichsen is said to have actually made them. History records that Erichsen was quite a drinker and in the habit of striking a token whenever his thirst got the better of him!

Messrs Hogarth and Erichsen actively promoted the use of indigenous Australian flora and fauna elements and indigenous figures into their metal work and jewellery. They achieved great success during the 1850s notably through the vice-regal patronage of Governors Young and Denison.

Their works are today held in Canberra’s National Library of Australia and National Gallery of Australia. And Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

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1921-Square-Halfpenny-FDC-Rev-July-2019
1921-Square-Halfpenny-FDC-Obv-July-2019
COIN
1921 Square Halfpenny
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$125,000
COMMENTS
We estimate there are about 150 Square Pennies available to collectors, of varying dates and designs. At the same time there are about 12 Square Halfpennies. So, if you are a Square Penny collector and you want a Square Halfpenny, then consider that there could be at least TEN other buyers searching for that same prized halfpenny acquisition. It’s these odds that have made the Square Halfpenny one of Australia’s most elusive and sought-after coin rarities. In demand from collectors of the kookaburra coin series. And in demand from buyers with a pure investment focus.
STATUS
Sold June 2019.
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For most collectors, one Square Kookaburra coin is simply not enough. The addition of the Square Halfpenny completes the picture.

But as you can see from our comments above. Acquiring a Square Halfpenny is never going to be easy.

There are about 150 Square Pennies available to collectors of varying designs and varying dates. And there are, we estimate, about 12 Square Halfpennies.

And the Square Halfpenny is engaging. We have seen clients go weak at the knees when they take delivery of their Kookaburra Square Halfpenny.

It is a coin that NEVER fails to impress. It generates excitement … that so much influence can be contained in one tiny coin.

The Square Penny and the Square Halfpenny are regarded as two of Australia’s classic coin rarities along with our first silver coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. And our first gold coins, the Adelaide Pounds.

 

They are highly historical and have sustained buyer interest, underpinning their investment value.

The Square Kookaburra coins were thrown into the spotlight in 1954 when Sir Marcus Clark O.B.E. sold his extensive and famous collection of Australian coin rarities.

It is on record that his 1921 Square Penny and 1921 Square Halfpenny sold for £36. Even more interesting is that in the same auction an Extremely Fine Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar sold for just over twice that amount at £72 10/-. (The investment potential of the Square Penny and Square Halfpenny lies in the fact that the Holey Dollar is now a $450,000-plus item.)

The popularity of the kookaburras continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s with extensive reporting of their appearances occurring in the then industry magazine, The Australian Coin Review.

Strong collector and investor interest in the Square Kookaburras continues to this very day.

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1931 Proof Penny FDC Reverse February 2019
1931 Proof Penny FDC Obverse February 2019
COIN
Proof 1931 Penny
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Noble Numismatics July 2001, The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins.
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
A provenance can say a lot about a coin. And it speaks volumes about this superb Proof 1931 Penny for it was especially selected for the owner of the Madrid Collection of Australian Rare coins in 2001. A passionate collector of Australian proof coppers, his clear buying focus was for QUALITY and RARITY and he found both with this coin. Superb crisp design detail under handsome light smoky toning. Smooth fields. His quest for rarity was satisfied in the knowledge that only three Proof 1931 Pennies were known. There was one other attribute that inspired the owner of the Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins. He respected and appreciated the importance of 'key dates' and sought them out whenever the opportunity arose. And he was keenly aware that the year '1931' is an important date in the penny series.
STATUS
Sold June 2019
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1931 Proof Penny FDC Obverse February 2019
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This Proof 1931 Penny was especially struck at the Melbourne Mint as a limited mintage collector piece.

The coin is regarded as one of Australia's great Commonwealth coin rarities.

The Proof 1931 Penny shares a bond with the Proof 1930 Penny and the Proof 1925 Penny.

All three proof coins are limited mintage presentation (collector) strikings of Australia’s key date circulating pennies.

And important as such.

  • In the case of the 1930 Penny, approximately 1500 coins are believed to have filtered their way into circulation.
  • In the case of the year 1925, 117,000 pennies were minted for circulation.
  • The wheels at the Melbourne Mint were grinding very slowly in 1931 for Australia was still working its way through the Great Depression. The mintage of pennies was 494,000.

The striking of ‘collector’ coins - better known as proof coins - in Australia is not a modern-day phenomenon. Nor a product of the decimal era.

The nation’s mints were striking proofs of our pre-decimal coinage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The intention was then, as it is today, to create limited mintage collector coins struck to the highest quality standards.

But with two very glaring differences. The mintages more than a century ago were minuscule. And their striking was sporadic.

The quality and the rarity of pre-decimal proof coins in today’s market is the very reason why they became the choice of both collectors and investors.  

 

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1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
1955 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
COIN
1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$6950
COMMENTS
When this 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set came across the counter our eyes lit up. It is unequivocally one of the finest we have seen. The 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set is notoriously difficult to acquire in top quality and, from our experience, the most difficult to acquire out of the entire series. As the photograph shows, the four silver coins are stunning, the two coppers superbly matched with original copper brilliance under a very light smoky toning. The '1959 Set' was the vendor's opening gambit, for having gained our interest he then proceeded to extract the balance of his collection from a briefcase. A collection that included a fabulous 1955 and 1956 Melbourne Mint Proof Set and a superb array of Perth Mint copper proofs. The vendor has done all the hard work for us. It has taken him years to put this collection together to a consistently high standard. These stunning pre-decimal proofs are available individually. And available now.
STATUS
Available now
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1955 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
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The collection is comprised of:

1955 Melbourne Mint Proof Set of four coins. Penny, shilling, sixpence and threepence. The very first year of the Melbourne Mint's proof collector program and important as such. Price $5500.

1956 Melbourne Mint Proof Set of five coins. Penny, florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence. Price $5500.

1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set of six coins. One of the finest comprised of a penny, halfpenny, florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence. Photograph shown above. Price $6950.

1957 Perth Proof Penny. Blazing orange. Price $3500.

1958 Perth Proof Penny. Blazing orange. Price $3500.

1959 Perth Proof Penny. Blazing orange. Price $3500.

1960 Perth Proof Penny and Halfpenny. Blazing orange matched pair. Price $4950.

1961 Perth Proof Penny and Halfpenny. Blazing orange matched pair. Price $4950.

1962 Perth Proof Penny and Halfpenny. Blazing orange matched pair. Price $4950.

1963 Perth Proof Penny and Halfpenny. Blazing orange matched pair. Price $4950.

The Melbourne and Perth Mint proofs struck between 1955 and 1963 come high on our list of recommendations to clients.

They are great coins to own. Or to put aside for children. Or a nice little nest-egg to tuck away for grandchildren.

So, when Melbourne journalist Anthony Black asked Coinworks to list ten-coin rarities that were affordably priced and, that we believed, were destined for growth, the Melbourne and Perth Mint Proofs were at the very top of our list.

The sets are visually attractive and very affordable, appealing to a wide buying audience.  

Each is a stand-alone rarity, so they can be acquired progressively one year at a time with no pressure on buyers to complete the series.

A reminder that quality is paramount, for while all the coins in the series were struck to proof quality, their state of preservation today (how they have toned) is critical to preserving their value and underpinning their future capital growth. 

 

 

Complete Collection 1957 – 1963 Perth Mint Copper Proofs

Blazing orange Perth Mint copper proofs. Available now.

Australia opened its first mint, the Sydney Mint, in 1855. A second mint, the Melbourne Mint, came on board in 1872 and the third, the Perth Mint opened in 1899.

The Sydney Mint closed in 1926 and during its years of operation would NEVER strike proofs for collectors.

The Melbourne Mint and the Perth Mint did not commence regular proof coining for collectors until 1955, and only after obtaining Government approval.

Government intervened in just one aspect of the program - only those coins being struck for circulation were to be issued as proofs.

As the Melbourne Mint was striking both silver and copper circulating coins for Treasury, it could strike both silver and copper proof coins for collectors. (Florin, shilling, sixpence, threepence, penny and halfpenny.)

As the Perth Mint was the Government’s copper coin producer, it could only strike proof pennies and halfpennies.

The coins were released annually with an official issue price of face value plus a premium of one shilling per coin … mintages averaged around 1,500.

Each piece was minted to exacting standards – from the selection and polishing of blanks, the preparation of dies and ultimately the actual striking.   The result is a coin that is pleasing to the eye, well struck with strong designs and superb smooth background fields.

Launched in 1955, the program ended in 1963 just prior to decimal currency changeover. The series was a catalyst for the introduction of a proof coining program for collectors by the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra.

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1882S Young Head Shield Gem Unc obv October 2018
1882S Young Head Shield Gem Unc rev October 2018
COIN
1882 Sydney Mint Young Head Shield Half Sovereign
QUALITY
Gem Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor Collection
PRICE
$30,000
COMMENTS
The 1882 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint is one of the absolute key dates of the Young Head Series. And this coin at Gem Uncirculated is the finest known. That’s a powerful combination. The finest. Of the scarcest. Two attributes that make this coin an ideal choice for the pure investor or the collector that wants to relish in the pleasure of owning the very best. And note the provenance. The coin was acquired from Barrie Winsor who indicated that it came from Knightsbridge Coins, London, the same source that provided the example housed in the Quartermaster collection. Technical photos are provided in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Sold May 2019.
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1882S Young Head Shield Gem Unc rev October 2018
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1882S Young Head Sheild OBV TECH April 2019

Note the superb detail in the hair, perfection in the edges and the satin fields.

This Gem Uncirculated 1882 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint is the finest known.

If more accolades are required, then we can only add that it is superior to even the Quartermaster (QM) example.

The Quartermaster Collection is viewed as the industry yardstick. Put together by gold coin specialist Barrie Winsor over a twenty-year time frame, the Quartermaster coins set the bar very high and have become the standard by which others can - and will - be judged.

We offer two sound reasons why this coin should come under your consideration.

1. Reason number one is that the 1882 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is a stand-alone rarity. A classic numismatic investment piece.

Half sovereign production at the Sydney mint in 1882 was meagre. Only 52,000 half sovereigns were produced.

And that’s a clear explanation as to why it is hardly ever seen out in the marketplace, in any quality.

It is noted that one year later, in 1883, the Sydney Mint issued 220,000 half sovereigns.

And this coin is superb for quality. At Gem Uncirculated, you will not find finer.

The combination of quality and rarity in one of the most popular collecting series, gold half sovereigns, makes it a classic numismatic investment.

 

1882S Young Head Sheild REV TECH April 2019

A superb execution of the Shield half sovereign design.

2. Reason number 2 is that the 1882 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is an ideal inclusion in a portrait set.

A portrait set is a pathway chosen by a large number of half sovereign collectors. And we answer below, "what is a portrait set?".

The Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria appeared on Australia’s half sovereigns between 1871 and 1887. The Sydney Mint was in operation throughout this era, the Melbourne Mint coming on board in 1872.

A complete Young Head Half Sovereign collection is comprised of eighteen coins and that’s overwhelming for even the most financial of collectors. And potentially frustrating given the time that it would take to complete.

The trend is therefore to acquire one representative example from the Young Head design.

And what better pick than a key date. In the finest quality available. This Gem Uncirculated 1882 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign.

What is a Portrait Set?

The Australian Half Sovereign series ran from 1855 to 1918 and during this time seven different portraits were used, five of Queen Victoria, one of Edward VII and one of George V.

1.    Queen Victoria Sydney Mint Type 1 (1855 – 1856)
2.    Queen Victoria Sydney Mint Type 2 (1857 – 1870)
3.    Queen Victoria Young Head (1871 – 1887)
4.    Queen Victoria Jubilee (1887 – 1893)
5.    Queen Victoria Veiled Head (1893 – 1901)
6.    King Edward VII (1902 – 1910)
7.    King George V Large Head (1911 – 1918)

That’s why so many collectors take the short cut of completing a portrait set.

The sense of completeness is there. And the financial burden is substantially reduced.

 

 

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1860-Sovereign-Obv-July-2019
1860-Sovereign-Rev-July-2019
COIN
1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
From the day this 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign was struck, it was destined to become a prized collectible. It is a superb coin to the naked eye and an equally superb coin under a magnifying glass. The striking is sharp, the portrait of Queen Victoria highly detailed. Given that this sovereign was struck in the factory-like conditions of the nation’s first mint, the Sydney Mint, makes the coin even more remarkable. Furthermore, it has been brilliantly preserved, painstakingly wrapped up into a minute parcel in tissue paper, hidden away for decades. The surfaces are excellent. The denticles crisp, the coin still shows its original lustre. It is a privilege and a pleasure to offer one of the absolute rare dates of the Sydney Mint series, the 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign in Choice Uncirculated. Technical shots have been included in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Available now.
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1860-Sovereign-Rev-July-2019
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1860-Sovereign-Tech-Obv-July-2019

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Obverse. 

1860-Sovereign-Tech-Rev-July-2019

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Reverse. 

'1860' - a key date of the series.

Every series has its key dates, those years that are harder to find than others.

In the case of the Sydney Mint Sovereign series, the 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign is one of the great rarities.

The Sydney Mint Sovereign series ran from 1855 until 1870 with the first obverse design appearing between 1855 and 1856 and the second between 1857 and 1870.

Two dates are regarded as the absolute key dates of the second obverse design series they being 1858 and this coin, the 1860.

A key date in superb quality. And a great rarity.

The value today of any coin is a combination of two elements.

The finesse of the striking. And just how well it has been cared for in the intervening years.

And this 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign scores highly on both counts. Brilliant strike. And painstakingly preserved.

The 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign is an elusive coin in any quality. 

But the coin on offer here is just not ‘any quality’. This coin is ascribed the higher grading level of Choice Uncirculated.

You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of premium quality 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereigns that we have sold.

A classic Australian gold sovereign rarity.

Australia’s gold coinage history began in 1855 with the introduction of the Sydney Mint design.

It was a style that rejected the protocols of London and which imparted a uniquely Australian flavour into the nation’s first official gold coinage.

For the first - and only time - the word AUSTRALIA appeared on our sovereigns.

The Sydney Mint design continued until 1870.

In 1871 Australia’s gold coinage took on the more traditional English designs of St George and the Dragon and the Shield.

The buyer that acquires this sovereign will be taking up a classic Australian coin rarity.

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1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc rev B&B May 2018
1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc obv B&B May 2018
COIN
Circa 1860, W. J. Taylor, Kangaroo Office Sixpence struck in silver, plain edge
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Turner Collection
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
Australia's Gold Rush spawned mass economic expansion in the colonies. The coins of W. J. Taylor are a product of this era. They are of the greatest historical significance and are extremely rare and have been owned by some of the most lauded collectors of our time including the U.K.'s Hyman Montague, Egypt's King Farouk, American collector J. J. Pitman and locally, Sydney collector Philip Spalding and Queenslander Tom Hadley. To name just five. William Joseph Taylor was an Englishman. An engraver and die sinker by trade, he was active in the numismatic industry producing both coins and medals. He was an entrepreneur. And a shrewd businessman. This silver Sixpence struck by Taylor would have been Australia’s very first silver coin had his plan for a private mint in Melbourne come to fruition. Superbly toned with iridescent surfaces the coin features a portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a jewelled crown on the obverse. And a large figure ‘6’ in the centre of the reverse on a broad raised engraved rim. Confirmation of their extreme rarity. We can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Taylor Pattern silver Sixpences that we have sold.
STATUS
Available now
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1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc obv B&B May 2018
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The Kangaroo Office was a bold plan by English entrepreneurs to establish Australia’s first privately run Mint. The planning phase began in London, in 1853. Coining operations commenced in Melbourne in May 1854. Three years on, after substantial losses, the mint was closed.

While the plan had all the hallmarks of a farce, it left an important legacy for today’s collectors and historians.

William Joseph Taylor was an Englishman, and by trade an engraver and die sinker, active in the numismatic industry producing both coins and medals. He was an entrepreneur. And a shrewd businessman.

Towards the end of 1852 Taylor became aware that gold could be bought from diggers on the Ballarat fields at greatly reduced prices. His plan was to establish a private mint in Melbourne, strike gold coins and release them at their full value in London.

Taylor formed a syndicate with two colleagues, Messrs Hodgkin and Tyndall: the three investing £13,000 in the enterprise. They chartered a fully rigged 600-ton vessel to transport the coining press, the dies and two employees, Reginald Scaife (manager) and William Morgan Brown (assistant).

The vessel was aptly named ‘The Kangaroo’, then, as now, a symbol of Australia. Taylor’s mint was known as the Kangaroo Office and was situated near Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens in what is now Franklin Street West.

‘The Kangaroo’ arrived at Hobsons Bay on 23rd October 1853, and the huge coining press was deposited on the wharf. And there it sat. Unfortunately, it was too heavy to transport. The only option was to take it apart and move it, piece-by-piece, to the Kangaroo Office, where it was reassembled and put into working order.

The Kangaroo Office eventually commenced operations in May 1854, striking gold coins. To thwart currency laws, the designs were made to look more like weights than coins. Taylor himself cut the dies for a 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz and ¼oz gold piece, each dated 1853.

 

The Kangaroo Office operated for three years striking examples from the original dies, although how many of each is unknown.

The Kangaroo Office was under financial pressure right from the outset. By the time the mint was operational gold, which had been £2/15/- per ounce when the plan was hatched, had moved up to £4/4/- an ounce. And there was a glut of English sovereigns in circulation.

Despite the financial challenges of the operation Taylor was unconvinced that his days as a coin designer and manufacturer were at an end.  In 1855 he produced dies for the striking of a sixpence and shilling in gold, silver and copper. This was his first attempt at producing a piece depicting a value rather than a weight.

The coins display the same broad engine-turned rim, the obverse featuring a superb portrait of Queen Victoria with VICTORIA and AUSTRALIA embedded in the rim. The reverse features the denomination in figures at the centre and in letters embedded in the rim above.

William Taylor also produced patterns for a fourpence and twopence struck in copper; the former featuring Britannia on the obverse and the figure ‘4’ on an engine turned background. The twopence features the kangaroo with Melbourne above it: the obverse similar in style to the fourpence.

Taylor operated his Kangaroo Office for three years during which time he sustained substantial losses. With all hope of a profit gone, the dispirited promoters in London issued instructions for the Kangaroo Office to be closed.

Now while it is true that Taylor never achieved his ambitions, the Port Phillip Kangaroo Office Patterns are revered by collectors and investors in Australia. And right across the globe.

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1813 Dump gVF small July 2018
1813 Dump gVF non date side small July 2018
COIN
1813 Dump, design type A/1
QUALITY
Good Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Dr. John Chapman
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
A Good Very Fine 1813 Dump is a high quality piece and is genuinely hard to find. A chance opportunity. A Good Very Fine 1813 Dump that has been owned by Dr. John Chapman is a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Dr John Chapman has been involved in the Australian numismatic market as a foremost collector for as long as we can remember. He is as learned as he is well respected and this Dump was part of his prized collection. It is a coin that has all the attributes that a collector would look for in a colonial Dump including the original Spanish Dollar design (particularly strong), complete denticles and the presence of the ‘H’ for Henshall on the reverse. It is an impactful coin, the very reason why respected author and numismatist Greg McDonald features it in his annual Pocket Price Guide. And has so for many, many years. Technical shots are provided.
STATUS
Available now
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1813 Dump gVF non date side small July 2018
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1813 Dump date side TECH July 2018

Beautifully well centred striking with strong date, crown and legend New South Wales. Note the undertype. It is magnificent. The castle and the lion are clear.

1813 Dump non date side TECH July 2018

William Henshall left his mark on this coin with the 'H' for Henshall strong.

The Holey Dollar and Dump were struck to create a medium of exchange in a colony starved of currency.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie enlisted the services of emancipated convict, William Henshall, to cut a hole in 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars, creating two coins out of one. 

The Dump, the small disc that fell out of the centre of the holed silver dollar, was then over stamped with the date 1813, a crown, New South Wales and the value of fifteen pence.

The buyer that pursues a top quality Dump will find the task extremely challenging. It can be years before a premium quality example comes onto the market.

The Dump circulated widely in the colony, the extreme wear on most Dumps evidence that they saw considerable use. So, while the Dump may seem the diminutive partner of the Holey Dollar, the reality is top quality Dumps have authority.

So let's define the words "top quality" for the 1813 Dump and establish where extreme rarity kicks in.

Every circulated coin has a grading level at which serious rarity kicks in. That is the point at which the balance between acquiring a coin as a collectible - and as an investment - shifts more towards the latter.

For the 1813 Colonial Dump that point is Good Very Fine.

The chart clearly shows that securing a Colonial Dump in a quality level of good Very Fine or better is a difficult task. We would sight a good Very Fine Dump on the open market perhaps once or twice every year.

Dr John Chapman certainly knew what he was doing when he selected this 1813 Dump. It is a beauty.

  • The design is classically well centred and well struck.
  • The legend New South Wales and the date 1813 are sharp.
  • The fleur de lis on the left-hand side and the right-hand side of the crown have definition and have not melded into the coin.

 

  • The pearls to the left and right of the Crown are well defined and again have not melded into the coin.
  • The denticles around the edge of the coin are complete, a feature that is seldom if ever seen on even the very best examples.
  • Notice the oblique milling around the edge. Strong, well defined and fully evident.
  • The reverse Fifteen Pence also is strong and three dimensional.
  • The ‘H’ for Henshall also is defined. William Henshall declared his involvement in the creation of the Dump by inserting an H into some (but not all) of the dies used during its striking. Its presence is highly prized.
  • While the Holey Dollar glaringly shows that it is one coin struck from another, in a less obvious way so too does the Dump. There is strong design detail of the original Spanish Dollar from which this Dump was created on the entire obverse. We refer to it as the undertype and its presence is again highly prized.
1813 Dump graph
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1910 Specimen Set Date Side in case June 2018
COIN
1910 Specimen Set
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor Collection
PRICE
$135,000
COMMENTS
Every dealer has one or two items, be they a coin or a banknote, that is close to their heart. In the case of industry figurehead, Barrie Winsor, it is this 1910 Specimen Set. He has always viewed it as the ‘ultimate set’. And for all sorts of reasons. Struck as a Presentation set at the Royal Mint London, in an original case of issue, it is comprised of the four silver coins, the 1910 florin, 1910 shilling, 1910 sixpence and 1910 threepence minted to glorious specimen quality. Furthermore, it is unique in private hands. Only one other set is known, held in the Museum of Victoria Archives. And it is history. The set is a celebration. A commemoration of the issuing of Australia’s very first Commonwealth of Australia coinage in 1910. Only a person of influence would ever have had access to such a striking. (Technical photos are provided in the READ MORE section.)
STATUS
Available now
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And the person of influence ?

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 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.

1910 Specimen Set Techs

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.

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1910 Specimen Florin rev June 2018

Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Florin depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.

1910 Specimen Florin obv June 2018

Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Florin depicting a crowned King Edward VII.

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1910 Specimen Shilling rev June 2018

Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Shilling depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.

1910 Specimen Shilling obv June 2018

Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Shilling depicting a crowned King Edward VII.

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1910 Specimen Sixpence rev June 2018

Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Sixpence depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.

1910 Specimen Sixpence obv June 2018

Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Sixpence depicting a crowned King Edward VII.

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1910 Specimen Threepence rev June 2018

Reverse of the 1910 Specimen Threepence depicting the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms.

1910 Specimen Threepence obv June 2018

Obverse of the 1910 Specimen Threepence depicting a crowned King Edward VII.

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1918 Perth Half Sovereign Unc rev August 2018
1918 Perth Half Sovereign Unc obv August 2018
COIN
1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$15,000
COMMENTS
This Uncirculated 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is a superb quality example of Australia’s very last half sovereign. We point out the strength of the detail in the rider’s leg … an area of inherent weakness in most 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns. Furthermore, the coin is profoundly rare. We are keen buyers of the ‘1918 Perth’ in top quality but it is noted that all the Uncirculated 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns we have recently handled have been bought back from our clients. We haven’t acquired a fresh example at this quality level for at least five years. Testimony to its rarity.
STATUS
Available now
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1918 Perth Half Sovereign Unc obv August 2018
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1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign date side July 2018

Reverse of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign.

The striking of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is shrouded in mystery, a point that adds to its appeal.

Mint records indicate that the coin was never struck: the appearance of a 1918 Half Sovereign in 1967 proving otherwise.

It is now believed that a mintage using the dies dated 1918 was struck in 1919, and again in 1920, all of which was exported overseas with the majority believed melted down. 

1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign non date side July 2018

Obverse of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign.

Historians estimate that 300 examples may exist, with only a small percentage of those at Uncirculated. 

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1823 Macintosh & Degraves obv
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
COIN
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Shilling
QUALITY
nearly Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Guy Newton-Brown, Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$ 95,000
COMMENTS
That historians have traced a business transaction involving the 1823 Macintosh & Degraves Kangaroo Shilling back to 1848 attests to the importance of this iconic piece of Australiana. The transaction was a purchase for the esteemed London National Collection. The Kangaroo Shilling has a remarkable history with a connection that lives on today to Tasmania's Cascade Brewery.
STATUS
Available now
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1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
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This particular Macintosh and Degraves Shilling is the finest of 15 known examples. Excessively rare, consistently in demand, this piece stands shoulder to shoulder with some of Australia’s great coin rarities.

Formerly owned by Melbourne barrister Guy Newton-Brown it is sold with historical papers from Spink & Son London, 1968.

1823 Macintosh & Degraves documents

Fondly referred to as the ‘Smiling Rat’, the design was reputedly based on a drawing that was sent back to London in the late 1780s, said to be the first depiction of an Australian kangaroo.

It is our first Australian token and the only piece to be struck in this denomination.

When Hugh McIntosh and Peter Degraves organised the striking of this token for the Cascade Saw Mills in 1823, they could hardly have foreseen that it would one day become a prized collector piece. 

The token is remarkable for a number of reasons, all of which adds to its value today.

  • For a start, there’s that creature. Anyone who has taken even a passing interest in our colonial history would have seen it elsewhere: it’s reputedly based on a drawing that was sent back to London in the late 1780s, said to be the first depiction of an Australian kangaroo.
  • Then there’s the ‘Tasmania’ legend on the token. Until 1853 the island colony was known officially as Van Diemen’s Land, although Tasmania was used in print as early as 1824.
  • Messrs McIntosh and Degraves did not arrive in the colony until April 1824 – the year after the token’s ostensible date. What’s more, the Cascade Saw Mills for which it was struck didn’t commence operations until four months later.
  • It’s generally acknowledged that the Macintosh and Degraves token was struck in London in 1824 prior to their departure from England, most likely at the Soho Mint of Matthew Boulton fame. Furthermore, it is believed that it was never issued, the majority melted down following a well-documented custom’s seizure involving the partners’ cargo.

That we don’t know the full story has tantalised numismatists and historians for decades.

Does it really matter? Definitely not – after all, it simply adds to the magic. 

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