Proof 1941 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint

Proof 1941 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint and the only known example held in private hands.
Proof 1941 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint and the only known example held in private hands.
Sold August 2022
Brilliant FDC
Sydney V Hagley Collection. Sold Spink Auctions July 1978 Lot 705. Sold Spink Auctions July 1985 Lot 2183
The late Sydney Hagley owned this Proof 1941 Penny. The coin is spectacular. And it is rare, the only known example held in private hands. It’s what a ‘Sydney Hagley’ provenance seems to deliver. It's the classic chicken and the egg scenario. Which came first ... the chicken or the egg? Or in this case. Which came first ... the great collector? Or the great coin? Did Syd Hagley assume a higher collector status when he acquired this Proof 1941 Penny struck at the Perth Mint. Or did the penny take on a higher standing because Hagley became its owner. While this conundrum will never be solved, what we can say is that Syd Hagley is acknowledged as the founder of the 'Australian Rare Coin Industry'. And this Proof 1941 Penny is stunning. And it is rare.
Enquire Now

The rarity of the Proof 1941 Penny was confirmed in 1995 in an article published in the NAA journal (Volume 8) by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives.

He examined the distribution of proof coins recorded in Perth Mint communications and records over the period 1940 – 1954.

He found evidence that seven proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1941 making it one of the least available out of this era. See chart below.

He also established that two examples of the Proof 1941 Penny were sent to the Melbourne Mint and displayed at the National Gallery of Victoria. And that two examples were sent to the British Museum and the Royal Mint.

Now do the math. The Perth Mint would have retained at least one example for themselves. And more than likely two. And records indicate four examples were gifted to institutions.

Hence the extreme rarity of the Proof 1941 Penny in today's collector market.

Number of Pennies believed struck at the Perth Mint 1940 - 1954

  Proof 1940 Penny        5
  Proof 1941 Penny        7        
  Proof 1942 Penny       11      
  Proof 1943 Penny       12      
  Proof 1944 Penny       12       
  Proof 1945 Penny       11
  Proof 1946 Penny        0      
  Proof 1947 Penny       19
  Proof 1948 Penny       16       
  Proof 1949 Penny        0                  
  Proof 1950 Penny       15        
  Proof 1951 Penny       14
  Proof 1952 Penny       15    
  Proof 1953 Penny       20     
  Proof 1954 Penny       0

Apart from its extreme rarity, we offer four sound reasons why this Proof 1941 Penny is a must-have for today's collector.

1. Brilliantly preserved proof coins of the Perth Mint are unrivalled for quality.

The coins not only display superb levels of detail in their design, but qualities and colours that are unmatched by those of the Melbourne Mint. Each coin is a work of art, as individual, and as beautiful, as an opal. When you look at this Proof 1941 Penny, you can only but agree.

2. Proof coins have a wonderful connection to the past.

They are the story tellers, defining an era, or a year, like no other coin. Proofs can also define an occasion. And a monarch. And they tend to have a connection to a prominent person, either a dignitary, a Mint Master or an influential collector. In the case of this Proof 1941 Penny, the influential collector is the late Sydney V Hagley of Proof 1930 Penny fame.

3. Collectors are all but guaranteed that the market will never be flooded with examples.

The Perth Mint Proof Record Pieces is a sector of the rare coin market that offers financial stability and has been the hunting ground of investors for decades. The sector also has strength because it has widespread support amongst the Australian dealer market.

4. The Perth Mint is still operating.
That the Perth Mint is a leading coin producer makes their pre-decimal proofs historical. But also vibrantly current. So the ‘Perth Mint’ message always remains strong, underpinning future interest.

History of the Perth Mint

The discovery of vast gold fields in Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893 triggered a Gold Rush in Western Australia and convinced the British Government to authorise the opening of a mint in Perth.

It was the third branch of the Royal Mint London opened in Australia following the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855 and the Melbourne Mint in 1872. 

The Perth Mint was established in 1899 and remained a gold producing mint from the year of its opening until 1931 when Australia struck its last sovereign.

For nine years, the coining presses at the Perth Mint ground to a halt. Then early in November 1940, the Australian Government requested Perth to undertake the coining of Australia’s bronze pennies and halfpennies.

The Melbourne Mint had been called upon to do munitions work during World War II and assistance was sought from the Perth Mint to meet Australia’s currency requirements.

The Perth Mint continued to strike copper coins until 1964, when two years later Australia converted to decimal currency.

Established as a branch of the Royal Mint London, the Perth Mint adopted the practices of its master and struck proofs of those coins being struck for circulation.

In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation. There was no hint of commercialism in the production of these pieces.

Posterity, the preservation of Australia’s coining heritage … that and a passion for numismatics were the driving forces behind their striking. The collector market per se was denied access to the coins.

When the Perth Mint struck a proof penny, its intention was to create a single, copper masterpiece. Coining perfection. Perfection in the dies. Wire brushed so that they were razor sharp. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine.

Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a picture frame does to a canvas. A proof coin was never intended to be used in every-day use, tucked away in a purse. Or popped into a pocket.

Proof coins were struck to be preserved in the mint's archives as a record of Australia’s coining history, time-capsuled for future generations. Proof coins were also used to showcase a mint’s coining skills, to display at major worldwide Exhibitions or sent to other mint’s and public institutions. 

The rarity of the Perth Mint proofs was confirmed in 1995 in an article published in the NAA journal (Volume 8) by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives. He examined the distribution of proof coins recorded in Perth Mint communications and records over the period 1940 – 1954. He noted that two private collectors (most likely Syd Hagley and Ray Jewell) received examples of the pre-1955 proof coins, such was the influence of these collectors.

The balance of the mintage, however, was destined for the mint's own archives with the majority sent to Public Collections and Numismatic Societies. The official list authorised to receive Perth proofs were the Australian War Memorial, Royal Mint London, British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA, National Gallery Victoria, Victorian Numismatic Society, South Australian Numismatic Society and the Australian Numismatic Society.

That the bulk of the mintage was gifted to institutions is the very reason why they are so rare in today's collector market.


PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

© Copyright: Coinworks 


Discover new coins and collections added weekly.
Please provide your first name
Please provide your last name
You must provide an email address
I am not a robot is required