There are some key indicators that collectors look out for when making a numismatic purchase. And all of this is weighed up against the price.
How rare is the coin for the rarer the better. The date is critical. The more important the date, the better. And consideration will now be given to the effigy. George V? George VI or Elizabeth II? How popular is this area of the market. In a supply and demand market, popularity is important. And finally, what about its quality?
This pair of Proof 1955 Penny and 1955 Halfpenny has the lot!
An important date. It is an acknowledged fact that collectors prefer the first year of a series over and above all others. The first year is defining and everlasting.
For collectors, the year 1955 is a key date. It was the first year the Perth Mint kicked off a program to strike proofs in 'commercial quantities' and sell to collectors. Similar to what the Royal Australian Mint does today with its annual proof coining program.
The coins were sold for a premium of two shillings above face value, the face value paid to Treasury and the premium went to the mint. Government placed only one restriction on the Perth Mint. They could only produce proof examples of those coins they were minting for circulation. For the Perth Mint that meant striking proof coppers only.
The series continued for another eight years, ceasing in 1963 just prior to decimal changeover.
An important effigy. The events of the past week, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, has highlighted the role of coinage in charting the course of history.
This Proof 1955 Penny and Proof 1955 Halfpenny were struck with the effigy of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Extremely rare. That the Perth Mint was permitted to strike 'commercial quantities' of proof coins may have some readers thinking 50,000? 10,000? Perhaps 5000?
The mintage of the Proof 1955 Penny and Halfpenny was 301 pairs only.
Natural attrition has taken it toll on the original mintage for the coins were not encased in fancy packaging but housed only in small cellophane holders and despatched to collectors in an envelope. Many of the coins have filtered their way into circulation. Others severely damaged through mishandling making an already small mintage even smaller.
Supreme proof quality. There is a perception amongst collectors new to the market that all proofs are created equal. And therefore should be valued the same. The notion is that because a coin is struck to proof quality it has to be good. Those perceptions are incorrect.
Evidence suggests that those proofs that made their way to the US market in the 1950s and 1960s were superior in quality to those released to the local market.
Correct handling and storage is also a critical issue to preserving the value of proof coins. And these coins have been brilliantly preserved.
In an article published in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia 2005, renowned numismatist Paul Holland contends that the Perth Mint proofs were created for unaided vision, the point here that a collector would not need an eye-glass to take in their beauty. Looking at this pair of 1955 proofs, you can only but agree!
He contends that the Perth Mint modeled their bronze proofs on the Royal Mint London’s 1951-PL proofs, for they, as a general rule, are stunning. Visually impactful. He also comments that the Perth Mint went the extra yards with their production and ground the rims by hand to ensure they were high and squared-off.
A popular series. The series of Perth Mint Proof Coins struck between 1955 and 1963 is an important series in our numismatic history: a catalyst for the introduction of the proof coining program introduced by the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra in 1966.
It also is an affordable one, making it one of the most popular collecting series in the Australian coin market.
That the Perth Mint is today 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.
And the fact that these coins bears the effigy of the late Queen, Elizabeth II, will be a huge boost to their popularity.