It is a fact that we have been trying to acquire a particular Collection of Proof coins (1955 to 1963) for several years now. We have known where they were held. Melbourne.
We knew their background; that they were acquired in the US in the 1980s while the vendor was residing overseas. Now while that may come as a surprise to many readers, it is a further endorsement on the quality of the coins.
It is a fact that both the Melbourne and Perth Mint had developed a large export market for its early commercial proofs (1955 to 1963); US collectors its prime target market. It is also acknowledged that the quality of those coins sold into the US were superior to those sold locally.
The owner simply didn’t have a reason to liquidate his collection –that is up until now. His imminent retirement became the reason for him to part with his treasured possessions.
He has done the hard work for all of us, painstakingly putting this collection together over a twenty year period. Furthermore he is an expert on Australian proof coinage and has authored many articles on the same. His eye for detail, his knowledge, his appreciation for quality is reflected in each of the coins we acquired.
Those coins that were acquired are as follows:
The collector issues of the Royal Australian Mint and Perth Mint have played a prime role in expanding the numismatic market post 1966.
The mints are today geared to regular production of proof coins to cater to a growing market. The result is that decimal proof sets are plentiful and readily available to the collector.
This may have some collectors believing that pre-decimal proofs were equally abundant; this is simply not the case.
The Perth Mint (and the Melbourne Mint) only began striking proof coins for collectors on a commercial basis in 1955. Approval to embark on the program had to come from Treasury.
The ‘collector’ proof coin series, launched in 1955 to the delight of the collecting public came to a conclusion in 1963, just prior to decimal currency changeover.
Government intervened in just one aspect of the program - only those coins being struck for circulation were to be issued as proofs.
For the Perth Mint, operating as a copper producing mint, this meant the striking of penny and halfpenny proofs only.
The coins were released annually with an official issue price of face value plus a premium of one shilling per coin … mintages averaged around the 1,500 mark.
Each piece was minted to exacting standards – from the selection and polishing of blanks, the preparation of dies and ultimately the actual striking. The result is a coin that is pleasing to the eye, well struck with strong designs and superb smooth background fields.
It is an important series in our currency heritage for it represents Australia’s very first annual proof coining program and the pre-cursor to that taken up by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra in 1966.
|Year||Perth Mint||Mintage||Melbourne Mint||Mintage|
|1955||1d & 1/2d||301||1d & 3d, 6d & 1/-||1200|
|1956||1d||417||1d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||1500|
|1957||1d||1112||3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||1256|
|1958||1d||1028||1d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||1506|
|1959||1d||1030||1d, 1/2d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||1506|
|1960||1d & 1/2d||1030||3d, 6d, 1/- 7 2/-||1509|
|1961||1d & 1/2d||1040||3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||1506|
|1962||1d & 1/2d||1064||3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||2106|
|1963||1d & 1/2d||1100||3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/-||5042|