Port Phillip, Kangaroo Office, Silver Shilling circa 1860

Port Phillip, Kangaroo Office, Silver Shilling circa 1860
Port Phillip, Kangaroo Office, Silver Shilling circa 1860
Port Phillip, Kangaroo Office, Silver Shilling circa 1860
$ 60,000
Sold May 2015
Spink November 1978 and August 1989, Private Collection Sydney
The owner of Australia’s first privately run mint, W J Taylor, quite literally etched his name into numismatic history by engraving his initials (W.J.T) onto the die that created this classic piece of Australian currency. Struck circa 1860, this Port Phillip Kangaroo Office Shilling features the portrait of Queen Victoria engraved by Charles Weiner and is excessively rare as one of five known examples.
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The obverse of this Port Phillip Kangaroo Office Shilling features Queen Victoria wearing a jewelled coronet. Toothed denticles form the border. The reverse features a broad raised engine-turned rim with the words ONE SHILLING embedded in the rim and the denomination, a large figure ‘1’ in the centre. The coin was struck with a plain edge.

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.

The Port Phillip Kangaroo Office coins have been owned by some of the greatest collectors of our time: Montagu, King Farouk of Egypt, J J Pitman and Tom Hadley. They are revered by collectors and investors in Australia. And right across the globe.

The coins come with more than a century of auction history, the most recent being the Quartermaster Auction in 2009. Their solid price history is an affirmation of their scarcity and overwhelming popularity.

The Quartermaster Auction presented the greatest EVER offering of Port Phillip Kangaroo Patterns at an Australian public auction. Seventeen pieces in total sold for $1,678,300 against an estimate of $1,623,000 with at least five of them setting new world record prices.

These results need to be considered against the backdrop of the entire auction for the Kangaroo Patterns were offered as lot 3 to 19 out of a 308 lot auction, so in the earliest stages of the auction proceedings. Anyone that has attended an auction like this will tell you that bidding can be quite hesitant and tentative in the early stages of a 308 lot auction as bidders face an onslaught of high value alternatives that would have consumed their dollars.

That the bidding exceeded the estimates is a reflection on the rarity and demand for the coins struck by W J Taylor. 


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