The rarity of the Proof 1948 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 sixteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1948.
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.
We might sight a Proof 1948 Penny on the market every two to three years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.
Apart from its extreme rarity, we offer four sound reasons why this Proof 1948 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.
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.
3. Collectors are all but guaranteed that the market will never be flooded with examples.
The sector offers financial stability because there are so few Perth Mint Proof Record pieces around (particularly in high quality). 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.