Proof 1948 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint

1948 Penny date side
Proof 1948 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
Proof 1948 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
$ 35,000
Sold February 2017
Superb FDC
Private Collection Sydney 1998, Private Collection Melbourne
It is our national symbol, the great Australian flying kangaroo. And it’s never looked as good as it does on this stunning limited edition 1948 Perth Mint Proof Penny. This is a brilliantly preserved proof, displaying a superb level of design detail. This coin is a work of art, as individual, and as beautiful, as an opal with qualities and colours that are simply unmatched by those proofs issued from the Melbourne Mint.
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That proof coins were struck during our pre-decimal era may surprise some readers. But it has to be said that proof coins are not just a product of the decimal years. The Perth Mint was striking gold proofs of our pre-decimal coinage in the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century when the mint expanded its repertoire by striking copper proofs as well as gold proofs.

The intention was then, as it is today, to create limited mintage issues struck to the highest quality standards. But with two very glaring differences.

  • The mintages more than a century ago were minuscule.
  • Their target market was not the collector. Some of the pieces were kept by the Perth Mint in archives as a formal record of the striking. The balance was gifted to prominent overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces.

So you join excellent company when you acquire a Perth Mint pre-decimal proof coin. The Royal Mint London, the British Museum, the Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial were just some of the institutions to receive an example of the Perth Mint proofs.


For today’s buyers, the opportunities for purchase of copper proofs is limited by the minuscule numbers struck. During the 1940s, less than twenty pennies were struck each year at the Perth Mint. (Compare this to the tens of thousands of proofs that are produced today from our issuing authorities.)

And, if you are a quality focused buyer, the pool of available examples is even further reduced.

For just because a coin has the word proof attached it doesn’t mean it’s worth buying. The value of a proof coin is as much to do with its state of preservation – how well it’s been cared for in the intervening years - as it is with the clarity and precision of the original striking. Is it spotty? Edge bumps? Harsh and unattractive toning? Scratched? Gouges? Traces of original brilliance?

This means that there are poor quality proofs, mediocre proofs, great proofs – and those you simply can’t take your eyes off because they are truly spectacular. 

The availability of a pre-decimal proof coin – of any year - is an opportunity. If you happen to be offered one of exceptional rarity and quality, such as this 1948 Proof Penny, then the opportunity is even more profound.


PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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