News & Views


While our clients had one eye on Santa over the Xmas break, the other eye appears to have been firmly placed on the Coinworks web site. We recorded strong sales of 1930 Pennies and Adelaide Pounds over the holidays. And our waiting list for Holey Dollars expanded.


1813 HD 1797 Lima Charles IIII rev N&V February 2018

What occurred over the Xmas break was a continuation of what we experienced in 2017, for Australia’s classic rarities were in strong demand throughout the year. We just expected buyers to take a rest over the holidays.

The demand has carried through into January and February of this year.

We were consigned a collection of six Square Kookaburras in December 2017, consisting of five pennies and one halfpenny. The collection was launched to the market this month.

There are times when we feel that our clients must believe that high calibre rarities are simply available at the ‘drop of a hat’. This could not be further from the truth.

The vendor had accumulated his Square Kookaburras for nearly two decades. And he was fussy on quality which meant his journey was particularly challenging.

It is a fact that the Kookaburra coins are particularly difficult to find in premium quality. The reason is simply that the coins were test pieces and were not struck to the exacting standards of proof coining. Given to dignitaries to assess their reaction, there was no packaging and we know that not every dignitary was a collector and would have handled them with the utmost care.

Some of the coins must have been tucked into a fob pocket for they have circulated. Others could have rattled around a top drawer. Or been passed around to colleagues ... introducing a multitude of chances for mishandling.

In the current market our offering of six kookaburra coins was unprecedented. So too the sales result that saw five out of the six coins sell within 24 hours. And several collectors targeting the rarest types left disappointed.

As we speak the 1921 Type 11 Square Penny is still available. Interest has already been expressed from two parties, including an overseas interest. (Yes, the Kookaburra coins have international standing and are very much sought after by overseas collectors.)

1919 Square Penny Type 6 rev Large Slideshow February 2018
1919 type 6 square penny - sold -
1921 Square Penny Type 11 rev Large Slideshow February 2018
1921 type 11 square penny - available now -
1919 Square Penny Type 9 Rev Slideshow February 2018
1920 type 9 square penny - sold -
1919 Square Penny Type 5 Rev Slideshow February 2018
1919 type 5 square penny - sold -
1919 Square Penny Type 3 Rev Slideshow February 2018
1919 type 3 square penny - sold -
1921 Square Halfpenny Type 2 Rev Slideshow February 2018
1921 type 2 square halfpenny - sold -

While the result is obviously satisfying we are left wondering how we will replace the inventory. And at what price? The Type 9 that sold was in our view the finest we have handled over the past forty-plus years. Do the math and you realise that such a quality piece probably won’t come back onto the market for another decade. And definitely not at its $135,000 price tag.

Sometimes offerings such as this one will draw coins out of hibernation. We have just been consigned a fabulous Crowned Head Type 10 Square Penny. The coin came into the Coinworks stable in 1997, more than two decades ago. Again we see the pattern of collectors holding onto top rarities for the long term.

The 1920 Crowned Head Square Kooka has always been dubbed, “one of Australia’s great Commonwealth coin rarities”.

The Square Kookaburra series was extremely contentious at the time, politically provocative in that twelve out of the thirteen coin types depict King George V minus his crown.

The Design Type 10 Square Penny that we have just had consigned is the only coin in the series to depict King George V wearing a crown. A unique design type. And a very important coin.

We have been selling Barrie Winsor’s remarkable collection of British Colonial cut silver dollars over the past few months. Very affordable. History brought to life.

And it is noted that every buyer was asking for more. With enquiries even coming in from the United Kingdom.

The Spanish Silver Dollar was fabled as pirate plunder. It was famous ‘piece of eight’ of the Spanish empire with a diameter of 39mm and weighing 27.70 grams of pure silver. And it was used – and abused – the world over for centuries.

It was the coin that was holed and counter stamped by private individuals, banks and government authorities in the nineteenth century including the penal colony of New South Wales. It also was the coin that was defaced by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to create the Holey Dollar and Dump, the very first coins struck in Australia. 

Pieces of 8 front
the spanish silver dollar. holed. cut. and stamped.
7004 Rothsay Cotton Mills Token
the rothsay cotton mills token, scotland.
7017 1813 Circular segment from a Spanish Silver Dollar
1813 circular segment by the british colony of dominica.
7018 Circular segment from Spanish Silver Dollar by British colony of Dominica
1813 circular segment by the british colony of dominica.
7023 Cut fifth segment of a charles IIII Silver Dollar Curacao
cut fifth segment, by curacao, british occupation.
7037 Cut half spanish Silver Dollar of Tortola
cut half spanish dollar of tortola.
171205-584 St Vincent Half Dollar B&B February 2018
1797 cut half dollar of st vincent.
SN 7025 SILVER FOUR BITS rev B&B February 2018
1814 cut third segment of grenada.
SN 7026 & 7030B B&B February 2018
cut centre segment, tabago 1798 (l) & guadaloupe 1811 (r).
SN 7110 1786 CSTAMPED 8 REALES rev B&B February 2018
1786 lima mint charles III spanish silver dollar.

When cut into quarters, half or three-quarter segments and stamped with the insignia of a colony, it served as small change for that dependency. Such practises were widely used throughout the British colonies of the Caribbean and several African nation’s including Sierra Leone.

Talk to Barrie Winsor and he contends that these pieces are seriously undervalued. That the British Colonial Holey Dollars in particular were fetching prices in excess of Australian Holey Dollars over the last century.

Our buyers can relish in the knowledge that they were taking the same journey as some of the greatest collectors of our time, John G Murdoch and Baron Philip Ferrari de La Renotiere. Flip open the Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge (SWH) Murdoch Catalogue of 1903 and the SWH Nobleman Catalogue of 1922 and the British Colonial cut and holed silver dollars are featured prominently.

Holey Dollars have been going gangbusters.

Holey Dollars below $100,000 have always been well supported. It’s the price point. The lower the price point, the greater the audience, buyers acknowledging that at the lower price levels, the coins will be well circulated. The Holey Dollar is a prized piece at all quality levels.

It also is a fact that Holey Dollars above $400,000 have their own clientele, be it smaller.

It’s the number of buyers seeking Holey Dollars priced in between the lower and top end that have undergone a rapid expansion, if not explosion both here and overseas over the last six months

Coins that we would expect to sell for a price well under $200,000 have far exceeded expectations with a most recent result in Germany of a Very Fine Mexico Mint Holey Dollar selling for approximately $275,000. A mind blowing result.

The first two months of 2018 have been genuinely exciting. And there is plenty of excitement ahead. Below, three highlights of what’s coming up.

The 1893 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign is Australia’s rarest circulating half sovereign with five examples known, two of which are held in the Royal Australian Mint Canberra.

We have just been consigned the finest known example. Graded Extremely Fine this coin is far superior to even that held in the famous Quartermaster Collection.

To add further distinction to our offering we also have the 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign struck to proof quality. This piece is unique. And is quite possibly the finest proof that we have handled. Impeccable.

We have always considered the sale of the nation’s Number One banknote (M000001) our proudest achievement. A very close second was the sale of banknotes 4 and 5 of former Prime Minister Andrew Fisher. Andrew Fisher was one of Australia’s longest serving Prime Ministers and is remembered as one of our greatest nation-building leaders. Our current political class should take a leaf out of his book.

An imminent retirement by the owner sees notes 4 and 5 back on the market.

We also have some stunning quality proof coins from the series 1955 to 1963, struck at both the Perth and the Melbourne Mints. We have come to expect that the copper proofs of the Perth Mint will be a blazing orange. But when the copper proofs of the Melbourne Mint come equally so … you know you have some great coins.

These coins are the perfect entry point into the Australian rare coin market. Limited edition collector coins at prices ranging from $3000 to $5000. They come at the top of our list of recommendations for clients looking to tuck something special away for their children or grandchildren.

A reminder to all our readers that not everything we sell is placed on our web site so if you have a particular want, then please let us know what you are looking for.  

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