We have found excellent homes for the finest Charles III Holey Dollar. And two 1913 Collins Allen Ten Shillings, Presentation banknotes hand-numbered 4 and 5, the notes originally owned by a former Prime Minister.
The finest known Adelaide Pound (that is so good it could have been Joshua Payne’s prototype for minting the nation’s first gold coin) will take up a new domicile. As will several 1930 Pennies and a top quality 1923 Halfpenny.
A glorious Proof 1899 Half Sovereign disappeared in a flash as did a well-priced and well above-average quality 1813 Dump.
No doubt the quality of these items made them very appealing to clients. Their exclusivity was an added attraction.
Which leads us to the question ... is it emotion or hard-nosed investment decisions driving our market? We believe it is both.
Top numismatic rarities, both coins and banknotes, are a link back in time. They are an historical connection to our past, bringing history to life. This fact satisfies the emotional aspect for the purchaser.
For the purchaser that is wearing an 'investment' hat, elite numismatic rarities are seldom offered and it is their extreme scarcity that underpins their long term investment potential.
One of the greatest things about involving yourself in this industry is that you can have both. Satisfying an emotional need. And making money along the way.
The highlight of April was the sale of the Holey Dollar struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar minted in 1777 during the reign of King Charles III of Spain. Offered at $525,000, the coin sold for $500,000.
The key selling point of this Holey Dollar. It is Charles III. Of the nearly two hundred Holey Dollars privately held, seventy five per cent feature the portrait of Charles IV and only twelve per cent depict that of Charles III. Rare, Rare, rare.
And it is graded at Extremely Fine, which makes it one of the very best of the two hundred privately held Holey Dollars. And the absolute best of those bearing the portrait of Charles III.
In fact we described its quality as ‘nothing short of miraculous’. The original Spanish Silver Dollar was minted in 1777 and some thirty six years later, in 1813, it came into William Henshall's hands. Virtually unscathed.
That's confounding and raises the question ... how does a silver dollar, a coin that was the world's greatest trading currency be sequestered, hidden away for three-plus decades?
We have no answer to this question but it re-affirms the extraordinary state of this Holey Dollar.
As is often the case, it was not the first Holey Dollar for the buyer. This new acquisition will sit alongside the finest known Transitional Holey Dollar (silver dollar dated 1790). And the finest known Potosi Mint Charles IIII, all of which (at this stage anyway) are destined for the owner's son.
Highlight of March was the sale of Andrew Fisher's notes numbered 4 and 5. Selling for $295,000, the notes were snapped up within four minutes of their offering. (Coinworks sold note numbered 91 in February.)
If they haven't already, today's politicians (from both sides of the political divide) should read the book, 'Andrew Fisher. Prime Minister of Australia' authored by David Day. And then read it again!
Fisher's achievements are nothing short of inspirational, He is regarded as Australia's greatest nation building Prime Minister. A visionary, Fisher used currency as a tool to unify what was six disparate colonies into one nation, the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia.
In 1913, he created the Ten Shillings, which was not only the Commonwealth of Australia’s first banknote it was the very first Ten Shillings of the British Empire.
The notes were released at a grand ceremony on 1 May 1913 at Melbourne's King’s Warehouse in front of Australia's political and social elite. One hundred and two Presentation Notes were distributed by ballot to ensure a fair distribution, paid with the equivalent of a half sovereign.
Prime Minister Andrew Fisher scored a consecutive pair of Ten Shillings, hand numbered 4 and 5.
Only seventeen presentation notes have come to the market at auction over the last fifty-plus years and our research confirms that most notes show serious signs of mishandling with some accidentally making their way into circulation.
Only three out of the seventeen presentation notes come up for special mention for their exemplary state, with no folds, no tears, no pin holes. And no signs of wear. They being notes numbered 4 and 5. And note numbered 91, received by Federal politician James Mathews.
A further April highlight was the sale of the finest Adelaide Pound Type II, the coin selling for $285,000.
The finest Type II Adelaide Pound is awesome. Ascribed the highest quality ranking of Gem Uncirculated, it is the only example of the nation’s first coin to be so awarded. It is acknowledged industry-wide as the absolute finest. (I still recall the moment I saw it way back in 2005, in Barrie Winsor's hands. Winsor always maintained that if an Adelaide Pound had been struck to proof quality ... then this coin was it!)
The strike is virtually faultless. Miraculous. At the same time the strike is confounding, that such precision could be achieved given the production problems that were occurring in Adelaide's Government Assay Office. Also verging on the miraculous, the coin's state of preservation. It must have been plucked off the production line as soon as it was minted and has been given extra-special care ever since.
Australia's favourite copper coin rarity, the 1930 Penny, continues to please with two examples selling in April.
Collectors are aware that all 1930 Pennies show some signs of wear, that the coin circulated before it was discovered. Collectors are also aware that while 1930 Pennies do become available, finding one that has circulated but which shows minimal signs of misuse is not that easy.
We made this point it to a client who eventually bought our Good Fine / Very Fine 1930 Penny. He had been shopping around and had been offered two very well circulated 1930 Pennies.
Our advice to 1930 Penny buyers is clear. Buy a coin that you can proudly show your family and friends. Never buy a coin where you are going to have to offer excuses as to why a particular defect exists. Put simply if you have to make an excuse on a coin … don’t buy it.
We have some exceptional coins coming up over the next few months. We tried desperately to secure a Proof 1932 Penny from one of our clients. A glorious proof, it came out of one of Australian Coin Auctions sales early in 2000. The client however knocked back our offer. So, we came up with one better. A Proof 1931 Penny from the same auction and same provenance. Watch this space. It is a stunner.
For those on the hunt for a mid-price-range Holey Dollar we have a very rare Lima Mint example coming up. Graded Good Very Fine and with a revered provenance, the coin will be photographed next Tuesday. Preliminary enquiries are invited.
Also coming up the very best example of the famous 1852 Adelaide Pound Cracked Die. The coin is stunning and is graded Brilliant Uncirculated. Preliminary enquiries are also invited.