Edward VIII / George VI Royal Mint 1937 Uniface Pattern Penny

Edward VIII / George VI Royal Mint 1937 Uniface Pattern Penny
Edward VIII / George VI Royal Mint 1937 Uniface Pattern Penny
SOLD 25/02/2024
Uncirculated, handsomely toned and superb glossy surfaces
Spink Auctions July 1987 Lot 1891, the coin selling for $8000 on a pre-sale estimate of $6000 • Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins
Throughout history, extraordinary events have impacted on a nation’s currency. Triggering ad hoc measures to supplement a medium of exchange. Affecting mintages or inspiring new designs. The events create an environment that spawns numismatic superstars, coins that are overwhelmingly rare and supremely important. This 1937 Uniface Pattern Penny is one such numismatic superstar. The extraordinary event that triggered its star status was the cancellation of the coronation of Edward VIII. The Commonwealth Government planned to launch the flying kangaroo as Australia's new penny design in 1937 to coincide with Edward's coronation. The Royal Mint London prepared the master dies and struck prototypes of the design for the Government. Eight pennies were minted featuring the new kangaroo reverse designed by George Kruger Gray and the word 'MODEL' on the obverse. Edward VIII’s decision to abdicate the British throne AND the subsequent decision by the Australian Government NOT to issue circulating pennies in 1937 conferred a superstar status on the 1937 Uniface Penny. From the original mintage of eight coins struck at the Royal Mint London, six are now held by private collectors, with this coin noted as one of the finest.The technical shots below confirm the glorious state of this coin.
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The 1937 Uniface Pattern Penny is extremely rare with very few auction appearances.

Nobles Auction last offered a Good Extremely Fine 1937 Uniface Penny in 2019. Prior to that a defective/holed example was offered in 1995. International Auction Galleries offered a Good Extremely Fine coin in 2011. And Downies Australian Coin Auctions sold the finest known 1937 Uniface Penny in 2002.

That's 'slim pickings' ... four coins over three decades, one of which has been holed.

Throughout history, governments have recognised the political advantage of depicting major events on coins. The opening of Canberra's Parliament House in 1927. The celebration of fifty years since Federation, in 1951. The Royal Visit in 1954. To name but three!

Very public events that were recorded on our currency.

But, not every moment becomes a 'currency' event. In fact, great historical eras in Australia’s history might have gone unnoticed without our Pattern coinage.

So, what is a ‘pattern’ coin?

Pattern coins are test pieces, coins that were struck by the mints to obtain government approval or to assess public reaction. For various reasons, the coins never went into production so they represent what ‘might have been’.

And they are critical to presenting a nation’s complete history. They essentially fill in the gaps.

Their extreme popularity with collectors relates to their scarcity. They are amongst Australia’s rarest coins.

Consider the Patterns of 1937, coins that were produced with brand new Australian designs at the Royal Mint London, the penny but one of them. The florin, shilling and threepence were also up for revision and the Royal Mint produced prototypes of each of them.

The florin was struck depicting a revised Australian Coat of Arms. The threepence was struck featuring the three ears of wheat and the merino ram’s head became the feature design of the shilling.

The prime focus of the new designs was to impart a strong national identity.

The decision not to produce any circulating coinage in 1937 (with the exception of a five shillings) conferred a super star status on all the Royal Mint London 1937 Pattern coins.


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