Browse & Buy


1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1927 Canberra Florin
QUALITY
Superb FDC. A brilliant proof with stunning iridescent colours.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$30,000
COMMENTS
The two most important factors for underpinning demand for any coin is its place in Australia’s history, how significant it is in the nation’s historical landscape. That, and the coin’s rarity. The very reason why Holey Dollars, Adelaide Pounds, Square Pennies, 1930 Pennies … and Proof Canberra Florins maintain their appeal and carry with them the potential for capital growth. And if there is a third influencing factor on demand and growth potential, it is quality. Just one glance at the photos, both obverse and reverse, of this Proof 1927 Canberra Florin will affirm its outstanding state. This coin must have become a treasured keepsake from the very outset for its state of preservation is simply remarkable.
STATUS
Available now
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1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
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The Duke of York officially opened Parliament House in Canberra on 9 May 1927.

To cement the occasion into the nation’s soul, the Government authorised a special minting of a florin featuring Parliament House on the reverse and George V on the obverse.

The coin is today known as the ‘Canberra’ Florin, thereby distinguishing it from the traditional coat of arms florin.  

The Melbourne Mint struck one million Canberra Florins for circulation and it became one of Australia’s most recognised coins. And treasured keepsakes.

The Melbourne Mint was further authorised to issue 400 limited edition proof coins for collectors, the proofs selling for a sixpence premium over face value.

It was the Melbourne Mint’s very first collector issue of Australia’s very first commemorative coin.

The release of the Proof 1927 Canberra Florin was a well-publicised event that saw the coins sell to members of the public outside traditional numismatic circles.

Proofs being mishandled - or pieces simply lost into circulation - was the fate of many of the coins out of the original mintage of 400.

 

So how often can a buyer realistically expect to see a premium quality Proof Canberra Florin on the market?

Our experience suggests that we might see one quality example at auction annually.

The quality of this piece suggests that it must have become a treasured keepsake from the very outset for the coin has been brilliantly preserved and has developed stunning iridescent colours.  

The coin shows the characteristic striations associated with Proof Canberra Florins which reflects meticulous die preparation.

The attention to sharpening the dies has produced a coin that is very well struck and highly detailed.

We have not sighted a comparable piece on the open market for years.

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1935-Proof-Penny-and-Halfpenny-Reverse-August-2019
1935-Proof-Penny-and-Halfpenny-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1935 Penny and Halfpenny
QUALITY
Superb FDC. Full brilliant mint red.
PROVENANCE
IAG Auctions January 2005
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1935 Penny and its matching Proof 1935 Halfpenny grabbed the headlines in 2005 when the pair made its first public appearance at auction. Records were smashed. The pre-auction estimate of $35,000 was over-run by frenetic bidding, the coins eventually selling for $45,500. The quality was unprecedented. It was nothing like anyone had ever seen before. Fully brilliant, mint red George V copper proofs. Captivating in appearance.
STATUS
Available now
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1935-Proof-Penny-and-Halfpenny-Obverse-August-2019
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We have a view that ... if you find George V copper proofs in their pristine almost original state then you grab them.

For they are rare to the point of being almost non-existent. Or to quote the proverbial saying ... as rare as hen's teeth.

The rarity of most top coins is defined by the number of annual sightings. Think Square Penny. Think 1930 Penny. Think Proof Canberra Florin, Holey Dollar ... and so on.

Coins of the calibre of this Proof 1935 Penny and Proof 1935 Halfpenny can never be measured by annual sightings.

They present a once-in-a-decade opportunity. At best.

In fact, once a decade may actually be light on when you consider that we have only ever seen one other fully brilliant mint red Proof 1935 Penny and Proof 1935 Halfpenny pair.

They sold as a pair in 2007 at Nobles Auction, Sydney for $56,000 on a pre-auction estimate of $30,000.

We attended the auction. And spoke to bidders and witnessed first hand the impetus that exceptional quality has on bidding.

For the record. The mintage of the 1935 Proof Penny and 1935 Proof Halfpenny was a minuscule 125 pairs. We note that many of the pairs have been broken up and sold off as individual coins. Collectors could therefore expect to sight a pair of proof 35s (in any quality) once every year to two years. 

As time passes the historic value and rarity of fine pieces increases. This fundamental dynamic is at the heart of rare coin collecting and investment.

The copper proofs of 1935 hold a very special place in Australia's currency heritage. They were struck at the Melbourne Mint and were the third only proof issue struck and sold to collectors.

The first time an Australian mint offered proofs for sale to the general public was in 1927, with the striking of the Proof Canberra Florin.

While the mint had displayed a hint of commercialism in producing the Proof Canberra, the reality was that it was a one-off.

It did not establish a precedent for the issuing of proofs in a commercial sense. Government policy dictated that minting resources be applied to the striking of circulating coins for Treasury, rather than pandering to the whims of collectors through the regular issuing of proofs.

Collectors and dealer agitation culminated in the striking of a second commercial proof issue in 1934 and then one year later in 1935 with this proof penny and halfpenny.

The success of these issues paved the way for three more commercial proof issues in 1937, 1938 and 1939.

And more importantly paved the way for the proof coining programme taken up by the Royal Australian Mint in 1966.

 

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1927-Proof-Shilling-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1927 Shilling
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions 1978, Spink Auctions 1982
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
Heritage piece. Family heirloom. Incomparable investment. This Proof 1927 Shilling is all of the above. In 1927, the Melbourne Mint fulfilled an order for Treasury to strike 1.4 million Commonwealth of Australia shillings. To time-capsule the mint’s coining achievements for future generations, the mint struck a handful of 1927 shillings to proof quality. One glance at the photos, both obverse and reverse, affirms that it is an exemplary proof coin. We have handled the silver proofs of 1920, 1921, 1924, 1926 and 1928 and unequivocally state that they pale in comparison with this Proof 1927 Shilling. This coin is the absolute finest silver proof out of this era and is a showpiece in the truest sense. Furthermore, this coin is rare. The only example available to collectors.
STATUS
Available now
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1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
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The Melbourne Mint's proud coining history began in 1872 when it commenced striking gold sovereigns and half sovereigns.

Then in 1916, the Melbourne Mint took up the mantle and began striking the Commonwealth of Australia’s silver coins. Three years later the mint began issuing Australia’s coppers.

The Melbourne Mint followed the traditions of the Royal Mint London, in striking a handful of proofs of those coins it was striking for circulation.

The harsh reality for collectors in this era was that, with very few exceptions, proofs minted in the George V era were NOT struck for the collector market.

  • Proofs were struck to be held in archives. Their purpose to record the mint’s circulating coin achievements.
  • Proofs were also struck to send to museums or public institutions, such as the Royal Mint London and British Museum.
  • There were times when proofs were struck to put on display at public exhibitions. So, whilst denying collectors the opportunity of ever owning them, they could at the very least get to look at them. The Exhibitions were however few and far between.

Whatever the end destination of the Melbourne Mint proofs - archives, institutions or public exhibitions - the situation demanded the highest quality minting skills. And only a handful of proofs were ever struck.

In the striking of this Proof 1927 Shilling, the Melbourne Mint's intention was to create a single masterpiece. 

And there is not a doubt in our minds that the mint's ambitions were fulfilled.

To create this numismatic gem:

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

This is a unique opportunity to acquire an important piece of Australia’s minting history.

 

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1930-Penny-VF-Reverse-August-2019
1930-Penny-VF-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
1930 Penny
QUALITY
Very Fine. High quality and extremely attractive.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne.
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
This 1930 Penny has a full central diamond and six plump pearls and it is these two aspects, the diamond and the pearls, that classifies this coin as one of the very best, in the top ten per cent. This coin will appeal to the buyer that has always wanted a 1930 Penny and has been looking for a top-grade example. It will also appeal to the investor for high quality 1930 Pennies, such as this coin, are extremely rare. We estimate that we would handle one, or at the very tops two, Very Fine 1930 Pennies annually. And price watchers will note that this 1930 Penny has been favourably priced.
STATUS
Sold September 2019.
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1930-Penny-VF-Obverse-August-2019
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Officially the 1930 Penny was never struck and a review of minting records at the Melbourne Mint confirms that no pennies were struck for circulation in that year.

But as we now know. A small quantity of pennies were issued by the Melbourne Mint with the estimated mintage being 1000 – 1500. As a low denomination coin, struck during the Depression, the coins were used, with the majority very well used.

That the 1930 Penny was not discovered until the 1940s meant that the coins had undergone a decade of handling, mishandling and just generally being dropped, scratched or rattled around in change before they were unearthed.

The very reason why the majority of 1930 Pennies are today found in the lower grading levels of about Fine to Fine, with solid knocks and gouges. (See below for grading levels.) 

And why we say that a Very Fine 1930 Penny is a top-quality piece.

About Fine to Fine - the average 1930 Penny is found in a quality level of About Fine to Fine with an obliterated central diamond and five or six flattened pearls.

Good Fine - a Good Fine 1930 Penny is the next step up for quality. The coin will have just one side of the central diamond showing and six pearls, some of which may be slightly flattened.

About Very Fine - moving up the quality scale to about Very Fine. The coin will have two sides of the central diamond showing and six clear pearls.

Nearly Very Fine – as the description infers this coin just misses out with a Very Fine ranking, the key being the central diamond which has three just sides showing.

Very Fine - To the ultimate quality of Very Fine which has a full central diamond, showing four sides, and six plump pearls.

 

The key attributes of this Very Fine 1930 Penny are as follows:

  • This coin has a full central diamond, showing the four sides of the diamond.
  • There are six clear, plump and well-defined pearls in the crown.
  • The oval to the left of the central diamond is virtually intact. With most 1930 Pennies the oval is only partially evident.
  • The lower band of the crown is complete.
  • The fields are undamaged. They are even and smooth, the toning a handsome chocolate brown.
  • The reverse is particularly impressive with well-defined upper and lower scrolls and inner beading.
1930 Penny Pie Chart September 2019
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1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-Obverse-August-2019-
1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-Reverse-August-2019-
COIN
1920 Square Penny Type 7
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated, with highly reflective surfaces.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
Early in 2017, we sold a 1920 Type 7 Square Penny for $55,000. Eight months later, we sold a second example for $60,000. Today this coin, the third 1920 Type 7 Square Penny we have handled in two and a half years is being offered at $70,000. There are some pretty basic reasons as to why the price of this coin - and other top quality Australian coin rarities - have moved. And we detail them in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
On hold.
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1920-Type-7-Square-Penny-Reverse-August-2019-
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As noted in our comments, the 1920 Type 7 Square Penny has been on an impressive growth path over the past few years.

The reason is a combination of the coin’s extreme scarcity and its popularity.

So, let's look at its scarcity.

We estimate that twelve 1920 Type 7 Square Pennies are available to collectors. (Compare that figure to the number of 1930 Pennies around.)

Twelve is a minuscule number, particularly when you consider that the twelve coins are never going to be slapped onto a 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. Now that's rare!

Now let's look at the coin’s popularity.

The Kookaburra Square Penny captures a great moment in time in Australia's history and is viewed as a ‘classic Australian coin rarity'.

That's a title that is used sparingly, but glowingly, reserved for pieces such as our first silver coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. Our first gold coins, the Adelaide Pounds.

And our first cupro-nickel square coins, the Kookaburras.

Even the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, has recognised the historical importance of Australia's Kookaburra coinage.

The mint's latest decimal coin release, comprised of three coins, commemorates the Kookaburra Pattern coins.

Each coin has a 25 cent denomination and is square shaped, depicting a design used on the Square Pennies struck in 1919, 1920 and 1921. (The years in which the Square Pennies were struck.)

It is noted that we have already taken several enquiries from mint customers keen to acquire an original Square Penny.

 

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.

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1889-Proof-Sovereign-Reverse-August-2019
1889-Proof-Sovereign-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1889 Sovereign, Melbourne Mint
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions Sydney, March 1988
PRICE
$125,000
COMMENTS
Gold has been a symbol of status and wealth throughout the ages and is presented here in one of its most prestigious forms. An Australian, limited mintage, gold proof sovereign struck at the Melbourne Mint depicting the Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria. The coin is as luxurious as it is rare. This Proof 1889 Sovereign is the only known example sighted over the last half century. And for the record, it is the third only Proof Jubilee Sovereign that we have ever sold in a career that spans nearly half a century.
STATUS
Available now
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1889-Proof-Sovereign-Obverse-August-2019
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The Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria (1887 - 1893).

The Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria, was introduced on Australia’s sovereigns in 1871 and remained until 1887.

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

To commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, the Young Head design 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.

During this time, both the Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint were operating. The Perth Mint was not opened until 1899.

Now let's discuss the growth potential of the 1889 Proof Sovereign.

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

  1. First up is the rarity of the coin itself. How many examples of this coin are known?
  2. And the second aspect, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs. How many examples in the same sector of the market are known.

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 to which it belongs is occupied by very few other coins.

So how does this Proof 1889 Sovereign stack up?

As detailed above, this Proof 1889 Sovereign is the only known recorded example.

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 third 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. No examples have ever been sighted.

•    The Melbourne Mint struck proofs in 1888. Two examples have been sighted, one of which was sold by Coinworks in 2019, the other example last appeared at auction in 1994.

•    The Melbourne Mint struck proofs in 1889. One example has been sighted, this coin.

•    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, only one of which has ever been sighted.

This 1889 Proof Sovereign presents an ideal investment scenario.

The coin itself is rare, the only recorded example of that date. And the sector to which it belongs - Jubilee Proof Sovereign - is occupied by very few other coins.

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

 

 

 

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1928-Penny-Reverse-August-2019
1928-Penny-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1928 Penny, Melbourne Mint
QUALITY
FDC with much original copper brilliance.
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions 1981, Richard Williams Collection
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
By the end of 1928, the population of the city of Melbourne was approaching one million. And the coining presses at the Melbourne Mint in William Street were working overtime as the mint sought to fulfil its order for Treasury of more than three million copper pennies. To time-capsule the mint’s coining achievements for future generations, a handful of 1928 pennies were struck to proof quality. This Proof 1928 Penny is one of the finest of the original mintage and is one of six known.
STATUS
Available now
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1928-Penny-Obverse-August-2019
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Today’s proof coin collectors are so well catered for.

Both the Royal Australian Mint and the Perth Mint strike proofs on a regular basis. And the mintages are keenly set to satisfy collector demand to ensure very few miss out.

In the twentieth century, Australian collectors were not afforded the same luxury.

The harsh reality for collectors was that, with very few exceptions, proofs minted in the George V era were NOT struck for the collector market.

  • Proofs were struck to be held in archives. Their purpose to record the mint’s circulating coin achievements.
  • Proofs were also struck to send to museums or public institutions, such as the Royal Mint London and British Museum.
  • There were times when proofs were struck to put on display at public exhibitions. So, whilst denying collectors the opportunity of ever owning them, they could at the very least get to look at them.

Whatever the end destination of the Melbourne Mint proofs - archives, institutions or public exhibitions - the situation demanded the highest quality minting skills.

It necessitated a ‘kid-gloves’ approach and was labour intensive, hence the limited number of proofs struck.

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

This Proof 1928 Penny is an exceptional quality proof, sharply struck with much original copper brilliance.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire an important piece of Australia’s minting history, the former property of renowned Commonwealth coin collector, Richard Williams.

 

 

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Circa-1860-Taylor-Pattern-Shilling-milled-edge-Obv-July-2019-
Circa-1860-Taylor-Pattern-Shilling-milled-edge-Rev-July-2019-
COIN
Circa 1855 Kangaroo Office Copper Shilling, milled edge
QUALITY
Superb FDC. A brilliant proof with a ring of mint red.
PROVENANCE
John Ahbe, Syd Hagley
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
King Farouk of Egypt loved his gold Kangaroo Office Shilling. So too did Queensland collector Tom Hadley. He held an unprecedented seven Kangaroo Office shillings as part of the famous Quartermaster Collection, accumulated over a thirty-year time frame. The importance of this offer is reflected in our statement that, in a career that now spans fifty years, this is the ONLY milled edge Kangaroo Office Copper Shilling that we have ever handled. It is easy to go overboard on the superlatives when you talk about the coins of the Kangaroo Office. But the reality is they offer the ultimate in scarcity. The coins are incredibly rare. They showcase one of the most remarkable chapters in Australia’s history. They are respected worldwide, owned by some of the absolute greatest Australian and international collectors of all time.
STATUS
Available now
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Circa-1860-Taylor-Pattern-Shilling-milled-edge-Rev-July-2019-
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The ultimate in rarity and importance. The milled edge particularly so.

This milled edge copper Shilling struck by William Taylor would have been Australia’s very first copper coin, had Taylor's plan for Melbourne's Kangaroo Office, a private mint, come to fruition.

A brilliant proof, glossy surfaces, with a ring of mint red the coin features a portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a jeweled crown on the obverse. And a large figure ‘1’ in the centre of the reverse on a broad raised engraved rim.

This copper shilling features the milled edge. And that adds to its significance for the Kangaroo Office coins were also struck with a plain edge.

It is believed that the milled edge coins were struck in Australia. The plain edge varieties somewhat later (circa 1860) in London.

Now let’s be clear. Both styles are rare. But the milled edge is the rarer of the two.

Only one other milled edge copper shilling is believed to have survived. Four of the plain edge.

Revered owners … including royalty.

The coins struck at Melbourne’s Kangaroo Office have been owned by some of the greatest collectors of our time: Hyman Montague, King Farouk of Egypt, J. J. Pitman, John Ahbe, Syd Hagley, Philip Spalding and Tom Hadley to name but a few.

In our mind the names that have impacted the most on the market have been King Farouk of Egypt. And more recently, Queensland collector, Tom Hadley.

King Farouk amassed a multi-million dollar gold collection, including a gold Kangaroo Office Shilling. When Farouk's collection was sold by Sothebys London in 1954, the Kangaroo Office coinage captured international attention on a grand scale.

The attention was even grander when Tom Hadley's Quartermaster Collection was sold in 2009.

Tom Hadley was a passionate gold coin collector who achieved the ultimate in completing a collection of Australia’s gold sovereigns and half sovereigns. But his passion for collecting extended well beyond our first circulating gold coins. Hadley owned the largest collection of Kangaroo Office Patterns.

Records were smashed - and new price levels set - when seventeen of his Kangaroo Office coins sold at the Quartermaster Auction. (Total price realised was $1.678 million.) 

A remarkable chapter in Australia’s history.

The Kangaroo Office was a bold plan by English entrepreneur William Joseph Taylor to establish Australia’s first privately run Mint.

Taylor was an engraver and die sinker by trade, 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 company 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.

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 coins are revered by collectors and investors in Australia. And right across the globe.

 

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1918-Half-Sovereign-A-Reverse-August-2019
1918-Half-Sovereign-A-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
1918 Half Sovereign Perth Mint
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection New South Wales
PRICE
$13,500
COMMENTS
The Perth Mint has struck many of Australia's greatest coin rarities, including this 1918 Half Sovereign. It is an important coin on many fronts. Australia struck its last half sovereign in 1918, making it a critical and highly historical date. The end of an era. And it is extremely rare. Respected numismatic author, Greg McDonald, contends that 200 to 300 pieces only are available to collectors. Important. Extremely rare. And available at $13,500. Excellent value.
STATUS
Available now
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1918-Half-Sovereign-A-Obverse-August-2019
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The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is an enigma. It is the coin that according to Perth Mint records was never struck.

That’s a story that we have heard before.

The 1930 Penny, is another Australian coin rarity that according to its mint of origin, the Melbourne Mint, was also never struck.

In both cases the mystery surrounding their striking has added to their appeal underpinning collector demand.

The first appearance of a 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign occurred in 1967 and was noted in the then industry magazine, 'The Australian Coin Review'.

Inspired by the coin's first sighting, collectors commenced searching. And over the ensuing years a few more 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns trickled out into the market place.

The extreme rarity of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign challenged historians and numismatists to come up with a plausible reason for the minuscule mintage.

Extensive research was undertaken on die usage at the Perth Mint in 1918 and in the years thereafter.

The conclusion was that a mintage of half sovereigns was struck in 1919 and again in 1920 - using the dies dated 1918 - all of which was exported overseas with the majority assumed melted down.

 

A stand-alone rarity. And a key coin in the George V Half Sovereign Series. 

This 1918 Half Sovereign was struck at the Perth Mint and features the obverse portrait of King George V.

The first Australian half sovereign to depict the portrait of George V was dated 1911.

The last half sovereign to depict his portrait was dated 1918.

A complete collection of George V Half Sovereigns involves nine coins.

  • Five from the Sydney Mint (1911, 1912, 1914, 1915 and 1916).
  • Three from the Perth Mint (1911, 1915 and 1918).
  • And one from the Melbourne Mint (1915).

It is a relatively easy collection to put together.

Except for one coin. That being the very last coin in the series and the most elusive, the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign. This coin.

 

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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-die-Obv-July-2019
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-die-Rev-July-2019
COIN
The Mortimer Hammel 1852 Cracked Die Adelaide Pound
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Mortimer Hammel Collection, sold Stacks New York September 1982
PRICE
$600,000
COMMENTS
This coin is a prized piece. It ticks all the boxes. Quality. Rarity. Pedigree. And historical standing. The 1852 Cracked Die Adelaide Pound has an exalted position in Australia’s currency history as the nation’s first gold coin. Furthermore it was minted in the very first production run of Adelaide Pounds. What we know today is that forty Cracked Die Adelaide Pounds are in collector’s hands and most of them have circulated with more than fifty per cent heavily circulated. The reality is that of the forty known Cracked Dies, only two are Uncirculated and this coin is one of the two, formerly owned by renowned gold coin collector, American Mortimer Hammel.
STATUS
Sold August 2019.
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-die-Rev-July-2019
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The miracle that is numismatics.

The intention was that this Adelaide Pound would circulate. And be used in every day commercial transactions, as part of a grand plan by South Australia's Governor, Sir Henry Young, to stimulate his state's ailing economy.

The coin was never given kid gloves treatment during the production process. 

It was struck in what can only be described as a factory, hammered out and hurled down an assembly line, more than likely into a barrel or bucket.

How this coin survived the production process, and more than a century and a half later still be in its pristine original state is impossible to fathom. The coin simply glows.

Also perplexing. This coin is yet another one of the nation's top (very top) colonial coin rarities that left Australia's shores and ended up in one of the very best coin collections in the U.K. and the U.S.A. In the case of this coin, American Mortimer Hammel.

The Adelaide Pound was struck in November 1852 at the Government Assay Office, Adelaide.

The Assay office had opened nine months earlier on 10 February 1852, its sole purpose to assay gold nuggets brought from the Victorian goldfields and to re-shape them into ingots.

No minting expertise was required in the casting of the ingots.

While they conformed to a shape and style, they were crude and rough and ready, the critical element that they recorded the exact purity and weight of the gold supplied so that they could be exchanged for banknotes at a rate of £3/11s per ounce.

Every ingot had its own unique shape and size depending on the weight of gold assayed.

Nine months later, following agitation from Adelaide’s business community, legislation was passed that authorised the Government Assay Office to strike gold coins.

Suddenly precision was required. The design was intricate, created by colonial die-sinker and engraver, Joshua Payne. So, it was always going to be a tough ask for a factory to start churning out currency to a defined weight and design.

In the very first run, disaster struck. And the die cracked.

The coins that survived out of this first run are referred to as the Cracked Die Adelaide Pounds.

They are also referred to as the Type 1 Adelaide Pounds, the numerical reference indicating that the coin came from the very first production run.

The potential difficulties of striking coins must have been anticipated because a second die had been prepared as a back-up. The striking of the Adelaide Pounds re-commenced with a recorded mintage of 24,648.

The coins from the second run are referred to as the Type 2 Adelaide Pounds.

The crack is not the only differentiating feature between the Type 1 and Type 2 Adelaide Pounds. They have a different reverse design.

The Type 1 has a beaded inner circular design on the reverse. The Type 2 has a crenelated inner circle.

What we know today is that forty of the Cracked Die Adelaide Pounds are in collector’s hands. And perhaps six times that figure of the second die examples.

Both rare. But the Cracked Die excruciatingly rare.

With only forty examples available to collectors, the Cracked Die will always be an elusive coin. And most of them have circulated with the biggest proportion (more than fifty per cent) well circulated. In a quality level of poor to Good Very Fine.

The reality is that of the forty recorded Cracked Dies, only two are Uncirculated. The Mortimer Hammel coin offered here. And the Nobleman piece, acquired from the Quartermaster Collection and held by a Coinworks client.

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1852-Adelaide-Pound-TypeII-Obv-July-2019
1852-Adelaide-Pound-TypeII-Rev-July-2019
COIN
The Mortimer Hammel 1852 Adelaide Pound Type 2
QUALITY
Brilliant Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$185,000
COMMENTS
There are Adelaide Pounds. And then there is the HAMMEL Adelaide Pound, so named because it was formerly owned by one of the world's greatest 20th century gold coin collectors, Mortimer Hammel. It is one of the absolute finest examples of Australia’s first gold coin and when viewed it simply glows. Its highly lustrous, brilliant state implies that the coin must have been put aside soon after minting and has had special care ever since its striking. The person who acquires this Adelaide Pound will take their place in history, permanently associating themselves with both the coin and the famous Hammel name.
STATUS
On hold August 2019.
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-TypeII-Rev-July-2019
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Acquiring an 1852 Adelaide Pound in Uncirculated quality is a difficult enough task. (We estimate that we might sell one such coin every three to four years.)

But this coin is not just graded Uncirculated. It is assigned the far higher rating of Brilliant Uncirculated which reflects the stunning state of the fields.

This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity.

The lustrous condition of the Hammel Adelaide Pound indicates that for the coin’s lifetime, every owner has absolutely known that it was special.

Over and above the fields, the coin is incredibly well struck and is certainly impressive.

The cross on the orb at the top of the crown, the pearls, the fleur-de-lis and the lower band of the crown are all perfectly defined.

It also has exceptional strength in the legend and the denticles.

 

 

The Hammel Adelaide Pound was part of the Mortimer Hammel Collection, a name and collection so esteemed in numismatic folklore that it adds a special cachet to any coin associated with it.

Mortimer Hammel's preference was gold coins and he was particularly drawn to coins in the highest state of preservation. Such as this coin and his Cracked Die Adelaide Pound.

His entire Collection of 1086 coins was auctioned in the U.S. in September 1982 by Stacks New York.

One hundred and twenty four coins were photographed and featured in the Catalogue.

Testimony to the calibre of Hammel's 1852 Adelaide Pounds, Cracked Die (Type 1) and Type 2 coins, both were photographed.

history of the adelaide pound

1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
1955 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
COIN
1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set - and our bonus offer of a 1963 Melbourne Mint Proof Set
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$5950
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 mainly due to the state of the copper penny and halfpenny. The coins tone. And while toning is quite obviously acceptable in the numismatic industry, for whatever reason the 1959 Proof Penny and the 1959 Proof Halfpenny tend to tone to a different degree and look mismatched. It is the state of the copper proofs within the 1959 Proof Set that leads us to say that, if you are a collector that is driven by quality, the 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set is 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.
STATUS
Available now
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1955 Melbourne Mint Proof Set FDC February 2019
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What to collect in the under $10,000 price bracket that presents value and potential for growth?

It is a question that is frequently put to us.

Upper most in our thoughts would be quality. And we would always be thinking a product where demand far outweighs supply.

Which is why sets such as this superb quality 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set would come into consideration and be part of our recommendation.

The coins are rare. The mintage is recorded as a minuscule 1506.

But how does that mintage of 1506 translate into today's collector market. How often would a buyer expect to see a pristine 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set?

Not often is the answer. For it must be remembered that the 1959 Proof Sets were issued in tissue paper introducing the possibility of mishandling. (Flimsy paper, not the hard protective cases that today's collector market has come to expect.)

And if you are a collector that is seeking uniformity of toning with the 1959 copper proofs, you would be lucky to sight one pristine 1959 Proof Set on the market annually.

Now for some history ...

Sixty-four years ago, the Australian Government legislated for the striking of proof sets for collectors resulting in the issuing of this 1955 Proof Set by the Melbourne Mint.

The program continued uninterrupted until 1963 just prior to decimal currency changeover and was a catalyst for the introduction in 1966 of a decimal proof coining program for collectors by the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra.

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.)

 

 

Complete Collection 1957 – 1963 Perth Mint Copper Proofs

COMING SOON. Collection of blazing orange Perth Mint copper proofs. 

The coins were released annually with an official issue price of face value plus a premium of one shilling per coin.

The inaugural mintage in 1955 is recorded as 1200. The ensuing years (1956 to 1963) hovered around 1500.

Each piece was struck 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, with strong designs and superb smooth mirror background fields.

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

The Melbourne Mint proofs struck between 1955 and 1963 are great coins to own, for yourself. Or for children or grandchildren.

Bonus offer of a free 1963 Melbourne Mint Proof Set ...

Buy this 1959 Melbourne Mint Proof Set and we will give away the last Melbourne set in the series, the four coin 1963 Melbourne Mint Proof Set, valued at $500.

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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
Sold August 2019.
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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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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.


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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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-rev-FDC-July-2019
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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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1860-Sovereign-Obv-July-2019
1860-Sovereign-Rev-July-2019
COIN
1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$32,500
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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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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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
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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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CONTACT

Suite 17, 210 Toorak Road South Yarra 3141
PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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