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1920 Type 7 Square Penny OBV mood April 2019
1920 Type 7 Square Penny REV mood April 2019
COIN
1920 Square Penny
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
This coin was struck at the Melbourne Mint in 1920 and is assigned a technical reference of the Type 7. The Square Kookaburra coins were minted in 1919, 1920 and the final year of 1921. And while every year peaks our interest, there is one date that triggers the strongest reaction and that is 1920. All Square Pennies are rare, with annual appearances that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. However, those dated 1920 are particularly scarce and keenly sought. They are often referred to as the “glamour coins of the series”.
STATUS
Available now
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1920 Type 7 Square Penny REV mood April 2019
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The 1920 Square Penny Type 7 is a world class rarity with perhaps twelve examples available to collectors.

Now lets translate that number into collector availability. How often would we expect to see a Type 7 on the market?

Our experience tells us that if you pass on this coin you will have to wait at least one to two years for another example to come along.

Now let's factor quality into the selection process for this Type 7 is superb for quality, well struck, the edges uniform and the design highly detailed. Visually impactful, it presents superb proof-like surfaces, most unusual for a coin struck from cupro-nickel.

If you are a quality focused collector, you will be looking at well beyond the two-year time frame for such a superb piece. 

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.

 


1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint April 2019
1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint Obv April 2019
COIN
1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$30,000
COMMENTS
This 1952 Proof Penny is one of the finest Perth Mint proofs you will ever see, of the date 1952 or any other date for that matter. The quality is exceptional. We first sighted the coin in 2013, part of a larger collection that had been put together in the 1980s by a Melbourne collector. His collection of proofs was consistently brilliant for he was driven by quality. While we are not at liberty to identify the owner, we can say that he was an expert on Australia’s proof coinage and the author of many articles on the same. That this coin was part of his prized collection comes as no surprise. Great collectors tend to only ever own great coins. Technical shots are provided in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Sold April 2019.
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1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint Obv April 2019
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1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint tech rev April 2019

1952 Perth Mint Proof Penny. Reverse.

The respect shown for Australia's proof coinage and what it represents was never more evident than with our recent sale of the Proof 1930 Penny for $1.15 million.

This 1952 Perth Mint Proof Penny is a prize. The coin has brilliant glossy surfaces, is well struck and has superb fields. Note the detail in the hair on the obverse and the sharpness of the strike on the reverse.

Irrespective of their quality, Perth Mint copper proofs are genuinely rare. In terms of the 1952 Proof Penny, only ten have been sighted on the open market over the last 40 years.

And if you are hunting one of the very best (such as this coin) you might be waiting many years before a comparable piece becomes available.

1952 Proof Penny Perth Mint tech April 2019

1952 Perth Mint Proof Penny. Obverse.

As a company we appreciate top quality. But more than top quality we love to see the words ‘exceptional quality’ ascribed to a piece. It sets the coin apart from all others. And this coin is exceptional for quality.

This coin is history. This coin also is refreshingly current for the Perth Mint is to this day, a leading coin producer. A fact that certainly heightens the interest and demand for its earlier pre-decimal proof issues.

Superb quality Perth Proof coins are always sought after.


1810 Holey Dollar Obv Mood August
1810 Holey Dollar Mood Rev August 2018
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar struck from a Ferdinand VII 1810, Mexico Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar.
QUALITY
About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
John Gartner (Editor of the Australian Coin Review), Philip Spalding. Technical references ... Philip Spalding No. 197 (Page 220), Mira Noble 1810/2 (Page 67 )
PRICE
$450,000
COMMENTS
The opportunity to acquire one of the finest - and one of the rarest - Holey Dollars comes to very few collectors. Struck from a Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar this Holey Dollar is one of the absolute rarest. Only TWELVE Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars are privately owned. And with coin and counter stamps at about Extremely Fine, this Holey Dollar is absolutely, one of the finest. The accolades continue with this coin. Philip Spalding rated this coin as “One of the Top Dollars” and featured it in his book "The World of the Holey Dollar". We rate it similarly. It is one of the very best.
STATUS
Sold March 2019
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1810 Holey Dollar Mood Rev August 2018
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The fundamentals of this Holey Dollar.

When William Henshall created this Holey Dollar, he grabbed a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Mexico Mint in the year 1810 and that depicted the legend and portrait of King Ferdinand VII of Spain.

Using crude equipment, he cut a hole in it. 

Henshall then continued the minting process by over-stamping the inner circular edge of the hole with the words New South Wales, the date 1813 and the value of five shillings.

That’s the point at which the holed silver dollar became the 1813 New South Wales Five Shillings, better known as the 1813 Holey Dollar.

The photographs clearly show that this coin is well struck, a point worth noting as most Ferdinand Holey Dollars have an inherent weakness in their striking.

Visually this coin is stunning and of the twelve privately held Ferdinand Holey Dollars we rate this coin as being in the top three for quality and eye appeal.

1810 Holey Dollar Obv Tech August

A well struck Ferdinand Holey Dollar, struck on a silver dollar minted in 1810.

1810 Holey Dollar Tech Rev August 2018

The original coin and the counter stamps are superb for quality.

Ferdinand Holey Dollars. The rarest of the rare.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s order for 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars was not date specific. Any date would do. Any monarch would suffice. King Charles III, Charles IIII, Ferdinand VI or Ferdinand VII.

Nor did he care where the coin was minted. Mexico. Peru. Bolivia. Or Spain. And quality was inconsequential.

All that mattered was that it was a Spanish Silver Dollar. 

And it is the interplay of these attributes, quality, mint, monarch and date that define a Holey Dollar and leads us to say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, some are far rarer than others.

A major study completed in 1988 by Messrs. Mira and Noble identified a total of 176 privately owned Holey Dollars.

And confirmed the relative frequency of the four monarchs within that total. Their results are summarised below.

  • Ferdinand VI reigned from 1746 to 1759 and appears on only one Holey Dollar. Dated 1757, (56 years before Henshall got his hands on it) there are no other known Ferdinand VI examples either in museums or privately owned worldwide.
  • Charles III reigned from 1759 to 1788. His portrait appears on 32 Holey Dollars.
  • Charles IIII reigned from 1788 to 1808. His portrait appears on 130 Holey Dollars. The Spanish Empire was at its zenith during the reign of Charles IIII, the silver rich continent of South America bankrolling Spain's ascendancy as a world power by way of massive silver coin production. 
  • Ferdinand VII reigned in 1808 for less than two months. And again in 1814. His portrait appears on only 12 Holey Dollars.

 

And if you are doing the math on the numbers quoted above, yes it does total 175.

And the missing coin? The Hannibal Head Holey Dollar featuring the imaginary portrait of the Spanish monarch, sold by Coinworks in August 2018 for $500,000.

Given that the Mira Noble data was compiled in 1988, it stands to reason that several examples must have been discovered over the past 30 years.

And that is indeed the case.

According to our research, the list of 176 privately owned Holey Dollars can now be updated to 192, with the addition of 16 recently discovered examples.

The monarch's portrait -  and date - depicted on the newly discovered Holey dollars is summarised below.

  • Charles III – two Holey Dollars have emerged with the portrait of Charles III. One is dated 1789 and struck at the Lima Mint. The second is dated 1790 and struck at the Mexico Mint. Given that Charles III died in 1788, these two Holey Dollars are seriously important.
  • Charles IIII – fourteen Holey Dollars have emerged dated 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794 (2), 1798 (2), 1799, 1800, 1805 (2), 1806 (2) and 1808. Of those only one relates to the Potosi Mint, four to Lima and the balance were produced at the Mexico Mint.

But the important point to come out of this statement is that NO Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars have surfaced since 1988.

Re-affirming their inordinate rarity.

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Ferdinand Holey Dollars. 'Politics 101' played out in the 19th century.

Napoleon Bonaparte emerged as the strongman of Europe in 1799 leading his armies across Europe deposing monarchs and dominating the entire continent. At the time Spain was ruled by the Bourbon monarch, King Charles IIII and was an ally of France.

In 1807, Bonaparte’s armies marched through Spain and invaded Portugal.

The alliance between France under Bonaparte and Spain under Charles IV disintegrated the following year when on February 16, 1808, under the pretext of sending reinforcements to the French army occupying Portugal, the French invaded northern Spain.

King Charles IIII was pressured into abdicating the Spanish throne in March 1808 to his son Ferdinand VII.

The latter reigned for less than two months.

Both Charles IIII and Ferdinand VII were duped by Napoleon Bonaparte into ceding the Spanish throne to Bonaparte’s older brother Joseph who assumed rule of the Spanish kingdom on 6 June 1808.

And while the upper echelons of the Spanish Government accepted Ferdinand's abdication and Napoleon's choice of Joseph as King of Spain, the Spanish people did not. Uprisings broke out throughout the country. 

The Spanish colonial mints refused to acknowledge Bonaparte as the Spanish King and protested by continuing to strike their silver dollars with the legend and portrait of the exiled Ferdinand VII.

It’s politics 101. Played out in the nineteenth century.

By 1813 the French position in Spain became untenable and Napoleon withdrew his troops and released Ferdinand VII from Valencay (France), where he had been imprisoned.

Ferdinand VII returned triumphantly to Madrid and re-claimed the Spanish crown early in 1814.  

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1930 Penny VF rev February 2019
1930 Penny VF obv Large February 2019
COIN
1930 Penny
QUALITY
Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
The 1930 Penny, in a quality level of Very Fine, is an extremely rare coin. To put that word ‘RARE’ into context, Coinworks might handle ONE 1930 Penny at this quality level annually. We will let the photographs - and the technical shots included in the Read More section - do most of the talking on this superb Very Fine 1930 Penny. With a full central diamond and a hint of the seventh and eighth pearl, this coin is four grades higher than the most frequently sighted 1930 Pennies. The pie chart featured in the READ MORE section further reinforces the scarcity of this coin. Already have a 1930 Penny? Then consider a trade and upgrade your coin to one of the very best.
STATUS
Available now.
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1930 Penny VF obv Large February 2019
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1930 Penny Very Fine reverse tech February 2019

1930 Penny Reverse showing strong upper and lower scrolls

1930 Penny Very Fine obverse tech February 2019

1930 Penny Obverse showing the full central diamond. Six plump pearls. And a hint of the 7th and 8th.

Points to note when considering this coin.  

  • The diamond in the Crown is one of the ‘high’ points of the 1930 Penny design and one of the first areas to show wear during circulation.
  • This coin has a full central diamond that leaps out and knocks you in the eye.
  • With most 1930 Pennies, the central diamond is completely obliterated. (A Fine quality grading)
  • Sometimes one side of the central diamond is evident with the other three sides worn away. (A Good Fine quality grading.)
  • There are six clear, crisp and very well-defined pearls in the crown.
  • The 1930 Penny was originally struck with eight pearls. As with the central diamond, the seventh and eighth pearls to the left of the Crown are also ‘high points’ in the design. There is a hint of the seventh and eighth pearl in this coin and that fact places this 1930 Penny in the ‘extremely rare’ category.
  • 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. The fields 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.

And while all the above details may seem very technical … it is the complete and strong central diamond, the complete lower band and the hint of the seventh and eighth pearl that places this coin in a league of its own and justifies the supreme quality level of Very Fine.

1930 Penny - Pie Chart
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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
$7950
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 $7950.

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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1852 Adelaide Pound Type II Choice Unc rev February 2019
1852 Adelaide Pound Type I Choice Unc obv February 2019
COIN
The Eliasberg 1852 Adelaide Pound Type II
QUALITY
Brilliant Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Louis E. Eliasberg
PRICE
$165,000
COMMENTS
There are Adelaide Pounds. And then there is the ELIASBERG Adelaide Pound, so named because it was formerly owned by one of the world's greatest 20th century collectors Louis E. Eliasberg. 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 Eliasberg name. Technical shots shown in READ MORE.
STATUS
Sold March 2019.
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1852 Adelaide Pound Type I Choice Unc obv February 2019
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1852 Adelaide Pound chUnc front tech March 2019

1852 Brilliant Uncirculated Adelaide Pound - Obverse.

Incomparable quality.

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 as 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 Eliasberg 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.

1852 Adelaide Pound chUnc back tech March 2019

1852 Brilliant Uncirculated Adelaide Pound - Reverse.

A pedigree of the highest order.

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

A portion of his Collection was auctioned in New York in 2005 by American Numismatic Rarities in conjunction with Spink.

The Eliasberg Adelaide Pound was so highly regarded that it was featured as one of the cover items on the catalogue.

The auction made history, with the Eliasberg Adelaide Pound one of a number of coins that established new world record prices.

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The history of the Adelaide Pound.

When the Victorian gold fields opened up in 1851, over 8000 South Australians headed east, taking with them not only manpower but also cash resources. About two thirds of the available coins exited the state.

As the two main pillars of national activity, labour and capital literally walked out, prices plummeted, property plunged, mining scrip nosedived, and Adelaide took on the air of a ghost town with row after row of tenantless houses.

The general pessimism lessened in January 1852, when about £50,000 of gold arrived in the colony and calls were made for the establishment of a mint and the issuing of gold coins.

This was in direct violation of the Royal Prerogative. The colony had no authority to issue coins. Despite the controversy, the Governor of South Australia, Sir Henry Fox Young introduced the Bullion Act into Parliament on the 28 January 1852.

It was one of the quickest proceedings on record, with the entire proceedings taking less than two hours to pass.

The Bullion Act allowed the receiving, assaying and stamping of gold into ingots.

The ingots were never intended to form a currency but could be used by the banks to increase their note circulation, based on the amount of assayed gold deposited.

The Act compelled the banks to increase their note circulation to meet all assayed gold deposited, effectively depriving them of control over their currency issues.

The notes were payable in Sterling or coin, which put huge pressure on the banks to import sovereigns to support their note issues.

The first Assay Office opened on 10 February 1852. Its activities were supported by a state government initiative to provide armed escorts to bring back the gold from the Victorian diggings.

By the time the first escort arrived, a second assay office had been established, and Joshua Payne was appointed die-sinker and engraver.

By the end of August 1852, over £1 million worth of gold had been received at the assay offices.

But the banks were still under enormous pressure, being forced to import sovereigns to meet the extent of their note circulation. 

On 23rd November 1852 the government responded to agitation from both the banks and the public for the minting of gold coins and passed the second part of the Bullion Act.

Within a week 600 gold coins (known today as the 1852 Adelaide Pound) had been delivered to the South Australian Banking Company, 100 of which were sent to London.

The Bullion Act had a lifetime of only twelve months. By the time the legislative amendments were passed to enact the production of gold coins, the Act had less than three months to run. Consequently, only a small number of Adelaide Pounds were struck (24,768) and very few circulated.

When it was discovered that the intrinsic value of the gold contained in each piece exceeded its nominal value, the clear majority were promptly exported to London and melted down.

That goes a long way towards explaining why so few Adelaide Pounds survive today (approximately 250) and why the highest-quality examples command such high prices.  


1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Choice Unc Obverse February 2019
1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Choice Unc Reverse February 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 Sydney Mint Sovereign Choice Unc Reverse February 2019
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1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Ch Unc Obv tech February 2019

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Obverse. 

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Ch Unc Rev tech February 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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1860 Aborigine Threepence Obv
1860 Aborigine Threepence Rev
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
$115,000
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 Aborigine Threepence Rev
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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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1813 Holey Dollar Mexico Mint 1808-6 about EF obv Mood October 2018
1813 Holey Dollar Mexico Mint 1808-6 about EF rev Mood October 2018
COIN
Philip Spalding's famous 1813 Holey Dollar struck on an 1808, Mexico Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar.
QUALITY
Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Roy Farman, Ray Jewell, Colin Pitchfork, Philip Spalding
PRICE
$250,000
COMMENTS
Pick up a copy of the book, “The World of the Holey Dollar” by Philip Spalding and there is one coin that dominates all others. And it is this Holey Dollar struck on an 1808 Mexico Mint Spanish Silver Dollar. Spalding chose this Holey Dollar to grace the front cover of his book. It is an enduring quality that gives this coin a clear 'edge' over all others. Just one of the reasons why it was exhibited in the Macquarie Group's Holey Dollar Exhibition in 2013 at 1 Martin Place, Sydney.
STATUS
Available Now.
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1813 Holey Dollar Mexico Mint 1808-6 about EF rev Mood October 2018
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1813 Holey Dollar Mexico Mint 1808-6 about EF obv October 2018
1813 Holey Dollar Mexico Mint 1808-6 about EF rev October 2018

THE PRIDE OF OWNING A PHILIP SPALDING HOLEY DOLLAR IS IMMEASURABLE.

Philip Spalding is unequivocally one of the most revered names in Australian numismatics. He was passionate about the Holey Dollar and he owned more than a dozen examples.

His passion extended far beyond coin ownership for he authored the book, ‘The World of the Holey Dollar’. The book was his greatest legacy and one of the finest contributions to the study of numismatics.

Now add the names Roy Farman, Ray Jewell and Colin Pitchfork to the list of former owners of this Holey Dollar.

An industry develops because of the involvement of collectors and dealers working together to the advancement of a market. These four collectors, Farman, Jewell, Pitchfork and Spalding were active participants in the industry’s advancement from the 1940s and into the 1980s.

And they each shared the pleasure of ownership of this quality Holey Dollar.

Struck on a Charles IIII 1808, Mexico Mint, Spanish Silver Dollar the original coin is graded a high quality Good Very Fine. The counter-stamps New South Wales, Five Shillings and 1813 are graded higher again at About Extremely Fine.

Spalding book March 2018
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PREMIUM QUALITY. A CONNECTION TO HIS PEERS. THE DATE 1808. ALL OF THE ABOVE.

We can certainly understand why Philip Spalding selected this coin to appear on the front cover of his book.

Overwhelmingly Spalding would have respected the judgement of its former owners and numismatic peers, Roy Farman, Ray Jewell and Colin Pitchfork. He certainly would have had a fondness for the coin, a connection to his close colleagues.

Perhaps it was the date 1808 that appealed to him, as it does to many other collectors that hold the number eight close to their heart. A sign of good luck, no less.

It may also have been the coin's quality and aesthetic appeal for this Holey Dollar is glossy and very pleasing to the eye with the counter stamps New South Wales and 1813 close to being aligned with the date 1808.

The pride of owning a Philip Spalding Holey Dollar is immeasurable. It is a feeling that is enjoyed by only a handful of collectors.

But only one collector can ever lay claim to having their Holey Dollar featured on the front cover of Spalding’s eminent book.

 

The status of the Holey Dollar as Australia’s first coin ensures that it will never be forgotten and, as time passes, its historical value can only increase.

No other coin has had so many books written about it. No other coin has been so highly exhibited.

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 it logo.

Talk to those fortunate owners, either private collectors or institutions such as Macquarie Bank, National Museum of Australia and the Mitchell Library, and you quickly realise that the Holey Dollar is viewed as the jewel in their collection.

And there is a reason. It is our first coin. It is steeped in history and is extremely rare.

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1893M Proof Sovereign rev December 2018
1893M Proof Sovereign obv December 2018
COIN
1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$125,000
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 increased demand. 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 coin is a case in point for we are aware of only one other Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign, and that coin is held with a Coinworks client. Over and above its rarity, 1893 was the very first year to depict the veiled head portrait of Queen Victoria, adding further to this coin’s appeal.
STATUS
Available now
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1893M Proof Sovereign obv December 2018
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When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should consider two aspects.

  1. The rarity of the coin itself.
  2. The rarity of the market sector 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 coins. 

As detailed above, this Proof 1893 Sovereign is rare. And the Veiled Head sector (to which it belongs) is very light on in numbers.

The Veiled Head era of Queen Victoria embraces nine years, 1893 to 1901 inclusive.

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

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.  

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 proof sovereigns in the year of its opening and again in 1901, the year in which Queen Victoria died.

We have done our research checking auction records and our own private treaty sales and have knowledge of only twelve Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns.

 

Twelve is a minuscule number given that we are not talking twelve of each year but twelve coins that cover the entire spectrum of dates during Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901.

It is also noted that many of these Veiled Head gold proofs were last sighted decades ago, in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • We have knowledge of two 1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns, both having been sold by Coinworks. This coin is an important piece of currency history as it represents the very first year of a new design, the Veiled Head portrait.
  • We have knowledge of only one 1894 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign, ex John J Murdoch Collection, ex Barrie Winsor and sold by private treaty to a Coinworks client in 2006. No examples have ever been sighted at an Australian public auction.
  • We have never sighted nor have we sold an 1895 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign.
  • We have never sold an 1896 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign. We have knowledge of two examples both of which appeared at a Sydney Auction in the mid-1980s. This holding period is typical of proof gold. It is one style of coinage that tends to be held for the long term. 
  • We have knowledge of two 1897 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns, one of which appeared at auction in 1985, the other in 1992.
  • We have never sold an 1898 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign. We have knowledge of one example, offered at auction in 1990.
  • We have knowledge of two 1899 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns both of which are held with Coinworks clients.
  • We have knowledge of two 1900 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns. It is the one coin that has eluded us on every occasion that it has been offered …. we have been the auction underbidder on each occasion.
  • We have never sighted or sold a 1901 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign.
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1899M Proof Half Sovereign FDC Large rev May 2018
1899M Proof Half Sovereign FDC Large obv May 2018
COIN
1899 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereign
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$95,000
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 increased demand. 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 coin is a case in point for we are aware of only one other Proof 1899 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign, and that coin is held with a Coinworks client.
STATUS
Available now
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1899M Proof Half Sovereign FDC Large obv May 2018
Read More

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. 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 coins. 

As detailed above, this Proof 1899 Half Sovereign is rare. And the Veiled Head sector (to which it belongs) is very light on in numbers.

The Veiled Head era of Queen Victoria embraces nine years, 1893 to 1901 inclusive.

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

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.  

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 one – and one only - proof half sovereign in the year of its opening (this unique and very important piece was 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.

We have done our research checking auction records and our own private treaty sales and have knowledge of sixteen Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns.  

That figure immediately becomes fifteen once you give consideration to quality for the 1895 Proof Half Sovereign is noted as being “nearly FDC” with slight nicks in the obverse fields.

Fifteen is a minuscule number given that we are not talking fifteen of each year but fifteen coins that cover the entire spectrum of dates in Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901.

  • The 1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereign is unique, sold to a Coinworks client in 2018 for $350,000.
  • We have knowledge of two 1894 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns, one of which was sold to a Coinworks client in 2006, and where it still remains.
  • We have knowledge of only one 1895 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereign, noted as nearly FDC with slight nicks in the obverse fields.
  • We have knowledge of two 1896 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns, one of which is currently available through Coinworks and is a superb FDC.
  • We have knowledge of three 1897 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns, the most recent appearance at auction occurring in 1996. One example is held with a Coinworks client.
  • We have knowledge of two 1898 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns. It is a date that has eluded us. We have no recorded sales of an 1898 Proof half Sovereign.
  • We have knowledge of two 1899 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns both of which are held with Coinworks clients.
  • We have knowledge of two 1900 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereigns. Again, it is a date that has eluded us. We have no recorded sales of a 1900 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereign.
  • We have knowledge of one 1901 Melbourne Mint Proof Half Sovereign, held by a Coinworks client.
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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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1967 $5 Type 1 Coombs Randall Specimen Note back July 2018
1967 $5 Type 1 Coombs Randall Specimen Note front July 2018
NOTE
1967 $5 Type 1 Coombs Randall Specimen Note
QUALITY
Specimen
PRICE
$5500
COMMENTS
Specimen notes are fully printed examples of circulating banknotes overprinted with the word 'SPECIMEN' in red to render them not negotiable. The overprint makes the notes distinctively different, extremely rare and highly sought after.
STATUS
Available now
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1967 $5 Type 1 Coombs Randall Specimen Note front July 2018
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This $5 Specimen note was produced in 1967 as part of Australia's decimal currency conversion program and bears the signatures of Coombs and Randall.

It is defined as a Type 1 Specimen note, distinguished by the small oval in the watermarked area containing the word Specimen.

 

 

The note carries the first serial prefix of the $5 issue, NAA. The note also bears the exalted serial numbers 000000 and is presented in strict Uncirculated quality.

The notes were printed before the first commercial print run, in the main presented to a very restricted list of VIPs as well as being used as reference material for the major banks and financial institutions.

 


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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