Shop for Australia's finest rare coins & banknotes


Proof-1952-Penny-Rev-37408-March-2021
Proof-1952-Penny-Obv-37408-March-2021
COIN
Proof 1952 Penny struck at the Perth Mint
QUALITY
FDC and a briiliant, full original mint red
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
We showed five of the very best Perth Mint copper proofs in our most recent article titled 'Perth Mint Proof Pennies and Halfpennies, 1940 to 1954'. And this coin was one of the five. A spectacular Perth Mint proof penny, it is a superb FDC with full original mint red. This coin embodies the principle that proof coins were created as masterpieces of coining. And that proof coins are rare. We might sight a Proof 1952 Penny on the market every three to four years. One as dazzling as this ... once in a decade, if we are lucky.
STATUS
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The rarity of the Proof 1952 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 fifteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1952.

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 1952 Penny on the market every three to four years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.

History of the Perth Mint

To facilitate the rapid conversion of gold into sovereigns and half sovereigns, the British Government authorised the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855 followed by the Melbourne Mint in 1872.

A gold rush, triggered in Western Australia following the discovery of vast gold fields in Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893, convinced the British Government to authorise the opening of a mint in Perth.

History of the Perth Mint ... continued.

The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and remained a gold producing mint from the year of its opening until 1931 when Australia struck its last sovereign and the coining presses at the Mint ground to a halt. The Perth Mint endured a nine-year period of nil coin production.

That the Melbourne Mint was striking Australia’s Commonwealth coins and that Australia was in the midst of a depression simply meant that the minting facilities at Perth were excess to requirements.

The onset of war created a window of opportunity and in 1940 the Perth Mint took up the reins for striking Australia’s circulating copper coins for the Commonwealth Government.

The Perth Mint continued to strike copper coins until 1964, when two years later Australia converted to decimal currency.

In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation. Some of the pieces were archived. Some were gifted to prominent Australian and overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces. The Royal Mint London, the British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial were just some of the institutions to receive Perth proofs.

There was no hint of commercialism in the production of these pieces. Posterity, the preservation of Australia’s coining heritage … that and a passion for numismatics were the driving forces behind their striking. The collector market was denied access to the coins.

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1930-Penny-aVF-rev-36305-February-2021
1930-Penny-aVF-obv-36305-February-2021
COIN
1930 Penny with two sides of the central diamond and six plump pearls
QUALITY
About Very Fine obverse and a Very Fine reverse
PROVENANCE
Sold by private treaty to a collector in Shepparton, 2003
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
There are some coins that stay firmly fixed in your memory. Coins that are exciting for the extraordinary quality traits they possess. And this 1930 Penny is one of them, last sighted by us in 2003 when we sold it to a Shepparton collector. Yes, the coin has circulated which reflects our obverse grading of About Very Fine. BUT the years of usage have treated it very, very kindly. It is an original, intact, well struck 1930 Penny with glossy fields and minimal signs of usage. If there is one thing that the past eighteen years has taught us is that you do not see 1930 Pennies like this every day. Or every month. Or every year for that matter!
STATUS
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1930-Penny-aVF-obv-36305-February-2021
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Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

Step 1 is to look at the coin in the flesh using just the naked eye.

A truly great coin will always look good to the unaided eye. And this coin is a beauty!

It has strong upper and lower scrolls. The reverse fields are highly reflective and very smooth with even, handsome chocolate brown toning. The inner beading is intact, the legend 'COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA' and date '1930' are powerful. 

Moving the obverse through the light you see the complete lower band of the crown. You also observe the strong design details of the monarch's robes and the minimal wear to the king's eyebrow and moustache. We also comment on the highly reflective obverse fields and the handsome chocolate brown toning.

Step 2 is to take up a magnifying glass and examine the coin in detail.

The eye glass re-confirms what we have seen to the naked eye ... and much, much more.

This coin has two sides of the central diamond showing and six very plump pearls. The oval to the left of the central diamond is three-quarters intact.

Step 3 is to re-visit the coin with the naked eye just to make sure that you have taken everything in.

The final assessment of this 1930 Penny confirms that it is a great coin and passes our three-point assessment with flying colours.

Four reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.  

Reason 1. One of the prime reasons for the popularity of the 1930 Penny is its financial reliability. It is a solid coin. And in times such as we have experienced in 2020 and even now in 2021 this genuinely counts.

Reason 2. In fact, we would go one step further and say that over the long term the 1930 Penny has probably been one of our most consistent and trustworthy numismatic performers.

Reason 3. Another reason for its popularity is that the coin is as Australian as you can get. Struck during the Great Depression, the 1930 Penny is the nation’s glamour coin and is unrivalled for popularity, enjoying a constant stream of demand unmatched by any other numismatic rarity.

Reason 4. The coin is an industry phenomenon, for in a market that is quality focused it is interesting to note that the 1930 Penny is keenly sought irrespective of its quality ranking. And growth over the mid to long term has been significant across all quality levels.

Well circulated (Fine) 1930 Pennies were selling for £50 in the 1950s. A decade later, by decimal changeover, the coins were fetching £255 ($510). By 1988, Australia's Bicentenary, a Fine 1930 Penny had reached $6000. The turn of the century saw 1930 Penny prices move to a minimum of $13,000. Twenty years later prices have more than doubled. And with a 100th anniversary a decade away, the push to acquire Australia’s favourite Penny is really on.

 

yes, i am interested in this 1930 penny
1930-Penny-aVF-rev-TECH-36305-February-2021

Strong date, crisp upper and lower scrolls, uniform inner beading and handsome chocolate brown toning. A 1930 Penny that is impressive and that you would be proud to show your family and friends.

1930-Penny-aVF-obv-TECH-36305-February-2021

Two sides of the central diamond and six plump pearls is just the start. The lower band of the crown is complete and there is minimal wear to the eyebrow and moustache. Highly reflective fields and handsome chocolate brown toning.


1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Obv-37403-March-2021
1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Rev-37403-March-2021
COIN
1920 Kookaburra Square Penny design type 7
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated, a sculpted three dimensional design and stunning mirror fields combine to make this Type 7 the very finest we have handled.
PROVENANCE
The Dan Collection, Queensland
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
The 1920 Square Penny is of the highest rarity. And a quiet achiever. In the early 70s, you could pick up a Type 7 for less than $1000, that's if you could find one! By the 80s prices had moved to $5000 and doubled to $10,000 by the 90s. In 2000 we note we sold a Type 7 Square Penny for $20,000. Today more than two decades later, the 1920 Type 7 Square Penny is offered at $70,000. It is what you would expect for one of the high achievers of one of Australia’s most popular coin series. Technical photos are provided.
STATUS
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1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Rev-37403-March-2021
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The 1920 Square Penny, design type 7, is one of the high achievers of the Square Penny series. And for two prime reasons. The glamour associated with the date '1920'. And its extreme rarity.

The glamour year '1920'

The year '1920' is indeed a glamorous one for the industry for it hosts some of the rarest and most famous coins of the Australian numismatic industry, a stunning line-up that includes:

  • Australia's rarest florin, the 1920 Star Florin.
  • One of Australia's most valuable shillings, the 1920 Star Shilling.
  • Australia's most valuable sovereign, the 1920 Sydney Mint Sovereign.
  • The 1920 Square Halfpenny, the rarest halfpenny of the series and throughout history has always been tagged as "a great Commonwealth coin rarity".

The extreme rarity of the 1920 Type 7 Square Penny

The 1920 Square Penny is a world-class rarity. Our estimate is that in a lifetime of collecting only twelve 1920 Type 7 Square Pennies would become available to collectors.

This is a minuscule number when you consider that the twelve coins are never going to be slapped onto a table in one hit and offered for sale at the one time.

So how often can a buyer realistically expect to see a 1920 Type 7 on the market?

Our research, and our experience, confirms that you might expect to be offered a Type 7 Square Penny perhaps once every four to five years.

Sydney's Nobles Auctions is Australia’s largest auction house and for us, has always been the greatest resource for information on the availability of rare coins.

That a 1920 Square Penny was last offered by them five years ago is testimony indeed to the extreme rarity of the 1920 Type 7 Square Penny.

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The history of the Square Penny

The introduction of the Kookaburra Square Penny underpinned an attempt by the then Labor Government to stir up national sentiment post World War I. To evoke the great 'Aussie' spirit. If you think about it. Putting the nation’s native bird - the kookaburra - onto a coin was a no-brainer to achieving that goal. A drastically changed shape, a square and a new metal - cupronickel - was part of the total package to maximise impact on the population ...

Read more on the history of the square penny series
TECH-1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-Choice-Unc-Obv-37403-April-2021

Obverse of the 1920 Square Penny featuring the circular legend. A chiselled portrait of George V and superb mirror fields. An exceptional Type 7.

TECH-1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-Choice-Unc-Rev-37403-April-2021

Reverse of the 1920 Square Penny. A superb strike and stunning mirror fields combine to make this Type 7 the very finest we have handled.


1889-Proof-Sovereign-Obv-July-2020
1889-Proof-Sovereign-Rev-July-2020
COIN
Extremely rare Proof 1889 Sovereign. One of two known.
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Spink Auction Sydney March 1988
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
This Proof Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint in 1889. The coin is exceedingly rare and was last publicly offered in March 1988 at the now famous Bicentennial Spink Auction. Only one other example has surfaced over the last century and that was in March 1985! (The pattern of long-term holding is typical of this area of the market.) Expertly crafted from 22 carat gold, the coin exudes luxury and wealth echoing the social and financial excesses at the time for in 1889, Melburnians were leading the high-life. The city was booming, its expansion fueled by land speculation that saw the value of property in parts of central Melbourne peak as high as that in London. This Proof 1889 Sovereign is an enduring symbol of our rich and golden past.
STATUS
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1889-Proof-Sovereign-Rev-July-2020
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The magnetism of gold is as strong as it has ever been. Gold jewellery. Gold bullion. Gold coins. Gold is still to this day viewed as a storage of wealth and gold is vigorously traded and possessed.

When it comes to collecting vintage gold coins, a collector has two distinct options.

The first option is to acquire coins that were struck for circulation and meant to be used. The second option is to acquire coins that were struck as presentation pieces to PROOF QUALITY.

The coin on offer is one such presentation piece, a Proof 1889 Sovereign struck at the Melbourne Mint featuring the Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria.

That proof coins were struck in the nineteenth century may surprise some readers. But it has to be said that the striking of proof coins in Australia is not a modern day phenomenon. Nor a product of the decimal era. The nation’s mints were striking proofs of our pre-decimal coinage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the intention was then, as it is today, to create limited mintage coins struck to the highest standards of quality.

Each option, circulating coinage or proof coinage, presents the buyer with a vastly different sized pool of specimens from which to choose.

Average circulating gold sovereigns that are not made special by their date are available in the thousands if not the tens of thousands. Once the collector sets parameters on quality and dates, the pool of specimens narrows and it is true that acquiring a key date gold sovereign that was struck for circulation, particularly if you are looking for one that is in premium quality, can be a journey in time that involves many months, if not years.

 

And acquiring a gold proof? How difficult is that?

The pathway to acquiring a proof sovereign can involve many years, if not decades. And this is definitely true of proof sovereigns struck with the Jubilee portrait.

Consider that this coin last appeared at auction in 1988. And the only other known example has not been sighted since 1985.

Rarity is the key word when discussing proof gold. And it is a statement of fact that proof gold is extremely rare and buying opportunities will always be thin on the ground.

And the reasons?

  1. Proof gold coins were NOT struck every year.
  2. And of those dates that were struck as proofs, only one, or perhaps two up to a maximum of three made their way out into the collector market.
  3. Natural attrition has taken its toll on coins out of the original mintages with some of them filtering their way into circulation or being mishandled and thus having their quality marred. So suddenly one, two or three proofs becomes even less.
  4. Great coins tend to be held. The owner of the Madrid Collection held onto his gold proofs for more than twenty years. The Spalding family similarly.

This Proof 1889 Sovereign is a golden opportunity and for just one buyer. Only one other proof sovereign of this date has appeared over the last century.

 

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Proof-1924-Penny-Rev-30021-April-2021
Proof-1924-Penny-Obv-30021-April-2021
COIN
Extremely rare Proof 1924 Penny. One of four known.
QUALITY
FDC with full copper brilliance on the reverse and stunning purple / blue colours on the obverse
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor, Philip Spalding
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
The collecting pursuits of legendary numismatist and author Philip Spalding extended well beyond the nation's colonial coins. Spalding was a long-term owner of Australia's proof coinage: a collection that included this spectacular Melbourne Mint, Proof 1924 Penny. He appreciated the magnificence of proof coins. And with full copper brilliance on the reverse and stunning purple / blue colours on the obverse this Proof 1924 Penny is indeed a magnificent proof. Spalding also relished the exclusivity of Australia's proof coins. And with only three other known examples, this Proof 1924 Penny had the exclusivity that Spalding was seeking. And Philip Spalding's Proof 1924 Penny is available now.
STATUS
Available now
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Proof-1924-Penny-Obv-30021-April-2021
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Proof coins are the nation's story tellers

Proof coins are presentation pieces and were struck to the ultimate levels of quality. They define a mint, an era, or a year, like no other coin. They can also define an occasion and a monarch. They also tend to be connected with a dignitary or an influential collector.

And proof coins are excruciatingly rare.

This Proof Penny defines the operations of the Melbourne Mint in the year 1924 when the mint was commissioned by Australian Treasury to strike pennies for circulation.

To record their work for Treasury and in keeping with the traditions of the Royal Mint London, the mint struck a handful of Proof 1924 Pennies for posterity. Four are known in collector’s hands, one of which is this superb example.

Why wasn't the mintage larger? Surely collectors would have loved to get their hands on one!

Today's collectors can lay their hands on a Royal Australian Mint 2021 Proof Set with ease. In fact, they can buy a box-load of them if they want.

The harsh reality for collectors in the early twentieth century was that, with very few exceptions, proofs minted in the George V era were NOT struck for the collector market.

  • Proofs were struck to be held in archives. Their purpose to record the mint’s circulating coin achievements.
  • Proofs were also struck to send to museums or public institutions, such as the Royal Mint London and British Museum.
  • There were times when proofs were struck to put on display at public exhibitions. So, whilst denying collectors the opportunity of ever owning them, they could at the very least get to look at them. The Exhibitions were however few and far between.

A numismatic masterpiece

Whatever the end destination of the Melbourne Mint proofs - archives, institutions or public exhibitions - the situation demanded the highest quality minting skills. And only a handful of proofs were ever struck.

In the striking of this Proof 1924 Penny, the Melbourne Mint's intention was to create a single masterpiece. And there is not a doubt that the mint's ambitions were fulfilled.

To create this numismatic gem:

  • The copper blanks were hand-picked and highly polished to produce a coin with a mirror shine and ice-smooth fields.
  • The dies were hardened and wire-brushed to ensure the design was sharp.
  • The dies were struck twice onto the blanks to create a well-defined, three-dimensional design.
  • The rims encircling the coins were high, creating a picture frame effect, encasing the coin.
  • The pristine nature of the striking is particularly evident in the denticles. They are crisp and uniformly spaced around the circumference of the coin.
  • The coin edges are square and highly polished.

This is a unique opportunity to acquire an important piece of Australia’s minting history.

 

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1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Rev-37404-March-2021
1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Obv-37404-March-2021
COIN
1921 Kookaburra Square Penny design type 11
QUALITY
Superb Choice Uncirculated with handsome antique toning and highly reflective mirror fields
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
A new doctrine must have been taken up by the Melbourne Mint in 1921 when it struck the Square Penny featuring the design type 11. Perhaps the change reflected the appointment of passionate collector, Albert Le Souef, as Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint in June of the same year. We know that the mintage of the Type 11 was tiny. And the coins tend to be well struck, the design highly detailed. And the fields are highly reflective almost as though they were minted to proof quality. Of course, how a coin starts at the mint - and how it ends up one hundred years later - can be poles apart. But this Square Penny must have been cherished by its original owner, and those thereafter, for its has been brilliantly preserved and is a stunner. Technical shots are provided.
STATUS
Available now
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1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Obv-37404-March-2021
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This 1921 Type 11 Square Penny has a unique design.  

The 1921 Kookaburra Square Penny is a great Australian coin rarity, an Aussie classic.

And, the Type 11 Square Penny, with the kookaburra resting on a branch, has a design that is unique to its type. No other square penny type bears that design.

The coin is cherished by collectors for its novel square shape, perfect kookaburra motif. And for the evocative memories it stirs up of Australia as a nation post-World War I.

This 1921 Type 11 Square Penny is as elegant as it is rare. 

Our estimate is that in a lifetime of collecting only twenty 1921 Type 11 Square Pennies would become available to collectors. (We compare that to the 1930 Penny, where 1000 to 1500 coins are thought to exist.)

This is a minuscule number when you consider that the twenty coins are never going to be slapped onto a table in one hit and offered for sale at the one time.

So how often can a buyer realistically expect to see a 1921 Type 11 on the market?

Our research, and our experience, confirms that you might expect to be offered a Type 11 Square Penny every years, or perhaps every two years.

And as we know not every Square Penny looks like the coin we are offering. Many have been poorly handled over time reducing the pool of quality examples available to collectors.

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The history of the Square Penny.

The introduction of the Kookaburra Square Penny underpinned an attempt by the then Labor Government to stir up national sentiment post World War I. To evoke the great 'Aussie' spirit. If you think about it. Putting the nation’s native bird - the kookaburra - onto a coin was a no-brainer to achieving that goal. A drastically changed shape, a square and a new metal - cupronickel - was part of the total package to maximise impact on the population ...

read more on the history of the square penny series
1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-Choice-Unc-Rev-TECH-37404-April-2021

Handsome antique toning and stunning mirror fields and a design that is unique to the Type 11.

1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-Choice-Unc-Obv-TECH-37404-April-2021

A deeply etched portrait of George V, handsome antique toning and stunning mirror fields.


1813-Dump-C4-about-VF-Rev-1-October-2020
1813-Dump-C4-about-VF-Obv-1-October-2020
COIN
1813 Dump struck with the very rare E/3 dies
QUALITY
Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$20,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Dump is a very rare example of the nation’s first fifteen pence. Struck from a die combination that historians refer to as obverse die ‘E’ and reverse die ‘3’, less than twenty examples are known. Historians suggest that due to the crude nature of the E/3 Dumps, they may have been trials presented to Governor Lachlan Macquarie before production officially commenced. We note the traces of the original Spanish Dollar design (undertype) on the reverse. This is the only E/3 example that we have seen or handled to show the undertype.
STATUS
Available now
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1813-Dump-C4-about-VF-Obv-1-October-2020
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1813-Dump-E3-Crown-side-TECH-32528-April-2021

Type E/3 Dump. Obverse Die E
The dies are poorly engraved and are considered an early effort. The top of the cross points between the 'T & H' of 'SOUTH' in the legend. The '3' in '1813' tilts to the left. The cross at the top of the crown is noticeably lopsided, leaning to the left. The five pearls are irregular in shape, with the far left pearl touching the top of the band.

1813-Dump-E3-15Pence-side-TECH-32528-April-2021

Type E/3 Dump. Reverse Die 3
The upright stroke of 'P' to the right of the upright stroke of 'F'. The 'T' is well left of 'N'. 'FIFTEEN' and 'PENCE' are 5mm apart and the stop is present. We note the presence of undertype below the word 'PENCE'. Exciting!


 

Extremely rare quality E/3 Dump

The industry acknowledges that there are about 800 1813 Dumps available to collectors. Within that collector pool, the Dump appears in four distinctly different styles (or die combinations).

The four styles have been classified by authors Mira and Noble as the type A/1, D/2, E/3 and C/4.

The different styles on the obverse are reflected in the shape of the cross on the crown, the position of this cross in relation to the letters in the legend above it. And in the positioning of the row of jewels (or pearls) in the crown.

On the reverse, differences are found in the distances between the words 'FIFTEEN' and 'PENCE' and in the position of the 'T' in 'FIFTEEN' in relation to the 'N' in 'PENCE'.

The rarest of the four dies is the C/4 with only eight known out of the total pool of 800 Dumps.

Next in line for rarity is the E/3 Dumps with perhaps twenty known.

The E/3 dies produced coins that were very crude and the suggestion is that they may have been test pieces presented to Governor Macquarie before production began.

There are also some suggestions that they may have been contemporary forgeries.

Irrespective, the E/3 Dumps are extremely rare and an essential part of the 'Dump' story.

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1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Rev-37393-March-2021
1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Obv-37393-March-2021
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound, the reverse die featuring a crenellated inner border (struck with the second die)
QUALITY
Uncirculated and fully lustrous on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
The conversation on this Adelaide Pound is far bigger than its Uncirculated, shimmering state. The conversation on this Adelaide Pound must extend to its strike for this coin exhibits design elements that are very rarely seen in second die examples. The legend 'GOVERNMENT ASSAY OFFICE ADELAIDE' is sharp and strongly three-dimensional all the way around. And that's remarkable. The edge denticles are strong and complete, again all the way around. And that's even more remarkable. This coin challenges even the very best of examples making it an absolute exception to the norm. Technical shots are provided.
STATUS
Available now
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Obv-37393-March-2021
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Rev-TECH-37393-March-2021

Complete edge denticles all the way round. And strength in the legend Government Assay Office. This 1852 Adelaide Pound is a stand-out piece. 

The 1852 Adelaide Pound holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first gold coin.

The coin is a classic Australian numismatic rarity, as is the 1813 Holey Dollar and 1813 Dump.

Its status as Australia’s first gold coin ensures that it will always be sought after and strengthens its investment value. Its investment value is also enhanced by its rarity for we estimate that perhaps 250 examples are available to collectors, across all quality levels, from the worst to the very best.

While there may be a natural assumption that special care and attention would have been applied during the minting process of the Adelaide Pound. This was certainly NOT the case.

The Adelaide Assay Office was opened one hundred and sixty-nine years ago as a refinery to strike gold ingots.

Except for ensuring the accuracy of the weight and purity of gold in the Adelaide Pound, there was minimal care regarding the overall striking and its eye appeal.

The coins were hammered out and hurled down an assembly line, more than likely into a barrel or bucket.

The Adelaide Pounds were to be used as currency, traded in commerce. Not preserved as collectables. And, as gold is a relatively soft metal, the rigours of circulation have treated most Adelaide Pounds harshly.

We also know from historical records, the striking of the Adelaide Pound was fraught with problems. During the first run of coins, the reverse die cracked.

A second die was used, with a different design, and to minimise the risk of further cracking, the pressure was reduced.

While the reduced pressure extended the life of the dies, it created its own set of problems in the execution of the design detail. The very reason why we always consider the strength of the strike as well as the grading level and aesthetics of the 1852 Adelaide Pound when making our assessment.

Knowing the rough and ready way in which the Adelaide Pounds were struck.

And the problems that occurred within the Assay Office during the minting process, we always consider three aspects whenever we are checking out a second die Adelaide Pound.

 

1852-Adelaide-Pound-Obv-TECH-37393-March-2021

This 1852 Adelaide Pound has a crenellated inner border abutting a beaded inner circle indicating it came from the second production run of Adelaide Pounds.

The first consideration is the grading level.

Well circulated Adelaide Pounds are reasonably readily available, with expectations that a collector would sight several examples annually.

Once a buyer moves up the quality scale however, the pool of available examples rapidly diminishes.

Uncirculated Adelaide Pounds, such as the coin on offer here,  are extremely rare and would become available perhaps once every few years.

The second aspect we consider is the Adelaide Pound's eye appeal.

For us, irrespective of the quality, the coin has to look good. We don't like heavy knocks. And we don't like gouges.

The photographs clearly demonstrate the eye appeal of this coin. The fields are lustrous. The cross on the orb of the crown and the fleur de lis are complete and untouched.

Thirdly, we look at the strength of the strike.

Disaster struck during the early stages of the minting of the 1852 Adelaide Pound. Joshua Payne confirmed as much in an interview in the 1870s indicating that staff had struggled to find the correct pressure levels to exert on the dies to execute a strong design.

When production commenced, the pressure was applied to the edges (to ensure that the denticles and legend were perfect) and it cracked the reverse die in the DWT section of the legend. (The very reason why the coin is often referred to as the Cracked Die Adelaide Pound.)

When the mishap was discovered, minting was temporarily halted. The cracked reverse die was replaced. The critical point being that the new reverse die had a different design. More intricate, it featured a scalloped inner border abutting a beaded inner circle. (The second die Adelaide Pound.)

Relaxing the pressure in the production of the second run of Adelaide Pounds lengthened the die usage but created its own shortcomings. For once the pressure was reduced, the perfection that was achieved in the edges of the Cracked Die was simply not achievable. Most Type II Adelaide Pounds will have weakness in their edge denticles in the Government Assay Office area. And the legend Government Assay Office will be poorly executed. But nearly always, the crown design is sharp and if there are flattened areas in the crown, it is simply due to wear.

The challenge for collectors is to find an Adelaide Pound Type II that shows maximum strength in the edge denticles and the legend 'GOVERNMENT ASSAY OFFICE ADELAIDE'.

And they do exist! This 1852 Adelaide Pound is evidence of such.

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Proof-1899-Melbourne-Mint-Sovereign-rev-36538-February-2021
Proof-1899-Melbourne-Mint-Sovereign-obv-36538-February-2021
COIN
Proof 1899 Sovereign struck at the Melbourne Mint and one of two known
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Murdoch Collection sold Sothebys London 1903, Baldwin Collection, Nobles Auction March 2004
PRICE
$85,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1899 Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint as a presentation piece. The coin made its first public appearance in 1903 when it was sold by Sotheby's London as part of the famous John G. Murdoch Collection. Over the last century only one other example has been sighted. The coin's extreme rarity is typical of this sector of the market and the very reason why they are so popular with collectors. And investors. Their scarcity simply gives people the reason to buy. And this glorious turn-of-the-century Proof 1899 Sovereign is available now.
STATUS
Sold March 2021
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Proof-1899-Melbourne-Mint-Sovereign-obv-36538-February-2021
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The magnetism of gold is as strong as it has ever been. Gold jewellery. Gold bullion. Gold coins. Gold is still to this day viewed as a storage of wealth and gold is vigorously traded and possessed.

When it comes to collecting vintage gold coins, collectors have two distinct options.

They can acquire coins that were struck for circulation: coins that were meant to be used. Or they can collect coins that were struck as presentation pieces to PROOF QUALITY.

The coin on offer is one such presentation piece, a Proof 1899 Sovereign struck at the Melbourne Mint.

That proof coins were struck in the nineteenth century may surprise some readers. But it has to be said that the striking of proof coins in Australia is not a modern day phenomenon. Nor a product of the decimal era. The nation’s mints were striking proofs of our pre-decimal coinage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the intention was then, as it is today, to create limited mintage coins struck to the highest standards of quality.

Each option, circulating coinage or proof coinage, presents the buyer with a vastly different sized pool of specimens from which to choose.

General date (non-key date), average circulating gold sovereigns, are available in the thousands if not the tens of thousands. Once the collector sets parameters on quality and dates, the pool of specimens narrows and it is true that acquiring a key date gold coin that was struck for circulation, particularly one in premium quality, can be a journey in time that involves many months, if not years.

 

The task of acquiring gold proofs of our pre-decimal coinage is far more challenging.

The pathway to proof coinage for buyers can involve many years, if not decades.

Rarity is the key word when discussing proof gold. And it is a statement of fact that proof gold, irrespective of the sector, is extremely rare and buying opportunities will always be thin on the ground.

And the reasons?

Proof gold coins were NOT struck every year.

And of those dates that were struck as proofs, only one, or perhaps two up to a maximum of three made their way out into the collector market.

Natural attrition has taken its toll on coins out of the original mintages with some of them filtering their way into circulation or being mishandled and thus having their quality marred. So suddenly one, two or three proofs becomes even less.

Great coins tend to be held. The owner of the Madrid Collection held onto his gold proofs for more than twenty years. The Spalding family similarly.

The offering today of this Proof 1899 Sovereign is a golden opportunity. Only one other proof sovereign of this date has appeared over the last century.

.

Enquire now

1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-obv-medium-1-size-November-2020
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-rev-medium-size-1-November-2020
COIN
The extremely rare 1852 Adelaide Pound Type I
QUALITY
Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$175,000
COMMENTS
How would today's collectors react if Governor Lachlan Macquarie had produced the first forty Holey Dollars with a style that made them undeniably connected to the very first production run of Australia's first coins. Ecstatic, I would have thought. Unwittingly that is exactly what die sinker and engraver Joshua Payne did when he set up the dies and commenced production of the nation's first gold coin at the Government Assay Office, Adelaide. The reverse die, with its simple, elegant beaded inner circle cracked, the mishap discovered after forty-plus coins were produced. And then, when he swapped over the reverse die, he replaced it with one that had a completely different design. Joshua Payne's actions unknowingly created a rarity of the highest order, the Adelaide Pound Type I, struck during the very first production run of the nation's first gold coin. Defined by a reverse with the beaded inner circle and the tell-tale crack in the DWT area of the legend, perhaps forty examples are known. Technical shots are shown below.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-rev-medium-size-1-November-2020
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-cracked-die-EF-TECH-obv-November-2020

Strength in the edges. But also strength in the 'VALUE ONE POUND' detail. Most Type I Adelaide Pounds show weakness in the inner design area, this coin the exception. 

Minted in the very first production run of coins

We know that the recorded mintage of the nation’s first gold coin, the 1852 Adelaide Pound, was 24,648. And we know that this Adelaide Pound was minted during the very first production run, if not the first day then at the very least the first week.

So how can we be so sure?

Adelaide Pounds from the first production run were struck using a reverse die that had a simple, elegant beaded inner circle.

The coins also reflect the disaster that occurred during those very first few hours of production, when the reverse die cracked in the DWT section of the legend. When the mishap was discovered, minting was temporarily halted.

The cracked reverse die was replaced. The critical point being that the new reverse die had a different design. More intricate, it featured a scalloped inner border abutting a beaded inner circle. (The reverse design mirrored the crown obverse design.)

Extremely rare and highly prestigious

Less than forty Adelaide Pounds out of the first production run survive today making it one of the least available of Australia's classic coin rarities.

There was an upside to the disaster that occurred during the first production run of Adelaide Pounds. While the pressure exerted on the edges cracked the reverse die, that same pressure resulted in the coin having almost perfect edges, beautiful strong denticles framing the central crown design.

There is another upside to the cracking disaster. Because the coin was considered 'imperfect' very few examples were put aside as souvenirs, making high quality Type I Adelaide Pounds extremely scarce.

Most Type I Adelaide Pounds have circulated with the biggest proportion, more than fifty per cent, well circulated and in a quality level of poor to Good Very Fine. And far below the quality level offered here.

1852-Adelaide-Pound-cracked-die-EF-TECH-rev-November-2020

Strength in the edges. But also strength in the detail of the crown. Most Type I Adelaide Pounds show weakness in the crown area, this coin the absolute exception. 

A special place in Australia's history

The 1852 Adelaide Pound holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first gold coin. It was minted in November 1852 at the Government Assay Office, Adelaide using gold that had been brought from the Victorian gold fields.

Minted by authority of the Bullion Act of 1852, coin production commenced in November of that year and finished in February 1853 when the Act expired. South Australia produced just over 24,000 coins in that short three-month time-frame.

The Assay office had opened months earlier on 10 February 1852, its sole purpose to assay gold nuggets brought from the Victorian goldfields and to re-shape them into ingots. No minting expertise was required in the casting of the ingots. While they conformed to a shape and style, they were crude and rough and ready and each had its own unique shape and size depending on the weight of gold assayed.

Nine months later, following agitation from Adelaide’s business community, legislation was passed that authorised the Government Assay Office to strike gold coins.

Suddenly precision was required. The design was intricate, created by colonial die-sinker and engraver, Joshua Payne. So, it was always going to be a tough ask for a factory to start churning out currency to a defined weight and design.

The intention was that the Adelaide Pound would circulate. And be used in every day commercial transactions, as part of a grand plan by South Australia's Governor, Sir Henry Young, to stimulate his state's ailing economy. The coin was never given kid gloves treatment during the production process.

It was struck in what can only be described as a factory, hammered out and hurled down an assembly line, more than likely into a barrel or bucket.

How this coin survived the production process, and more than a century and a half later is still in an almost original state with lustre on both obverse and reverse, is almost impossible to fathom.

 

Enquire now

Proof-1953-Penny-Rev-37409-March-2021
Proof-1953-Penny-Obv-37409-March-2021
COIN
Proof 1953 Penny struck at the Perth Mint
QUALITY
A spectacular proof strike with original copper brilliance, highly reflective surfaces and dazzling iridescent toning on the periphery
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
A coin can be rare because so few examples were struck. A coin can also be rare because it has quality traits that make it the absolute exception to the norm, placing it into an elite and very small group of examples. This Proof 1953 Penny is rare on both counts! The original mintage is believed to be twenty with most of the examples going to public institutions and therefore out of reach of collectors. And the quality is spectacular. So that you can appreciate the rarity of a coin at this dazzling quality level, we make the comment that we have sold only one other Proof 1953 Penny that we would describe as spectacular. And that was nine years ago to a Melbourne collector.
STATUS
Sold April 2021
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Proof-1953-Penny-Obv-37409-March-2021
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The rarity of the Proof 1953 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 twenty proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1953.

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 1953 Penny on the market every two to three years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.

History of the Perth Mint

To facilitate the rapid conversion of gold into sovereigns and half sovereigns, the British Government authorised the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855 followed by the Melbourne Mint in 1872.

A gold rush, triggered in Western Australia following the discovery of vast gold fields in Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893, convinced the British Government to authorise the opening of a mint in Perth.

History of the Perth Mint ... continued.

The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and remained a gold producing mint from the year of its opening until 1931 when Australia struck its last sovereign and the coining presses at the Mint ground to a halt. The Perth Mint endured a nine-year period of nil coin production.

That the Melbourne Mint was striking Australia’s Commonwealth coins and that Australia was in the midst of a depression simply meant that the minting facilities at Perth were excess to requirements.

The onset of war created a window of opportunity and in 1940 the Perth Mint took up the reins for striking Australia’s circulating copper coins for the Commonwealth Government.

The Perth Mint continued to strike copper coins until 1964, when two years later Australia converted to decimal currency.

In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation. Some of the pieces were archived. Some were gifted to prominent Australian and overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces. The Royal Mint London, the British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial were just some of the institutions to receive Perth proofs.

There was no hint of commercialism in the production of these pieces. Posterity, the preservation of Australia’s coining heritage … that and a passion for numismatics were the driving forces behind their striking. The collector market was denied access to the coins.

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1930-Penny-gF-rev-36345-February-2021
1930-Penny-gF-obv-36345-February-2021
COIN
Complete Australian Penny Collection, including the extremely rare and iconic 1930 Penny
QUALITY
1930 Penny Fine-plus / Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$27,500
COMMENTS
The 1930 Penny that is in this collection is a star in its own right. The coin is very impressive. The edges are complete and the important design details such as the upper and lower scrolls, the inner beading that circles the value of ‘ONE PENNY’, the legend and the date ‘1930’ are all prominent. And the toning is a consistent and a handsome chestnut brown. Take up a magnifying glass and you notice that the fields on both obverse and reverse show minimal signs of circulation. And while the quality of this 1930 Penny should be enough to gain buyer attention, its inclusion in a complete collection of Australian pennies (1911 to 1964) makes this offer irresistible buying. Technical shots are provided below.
STATUS
Sold April 2021
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1930-Penny-gF-obv-36345-February-2021
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Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

Step 1 is to look at the coin in the flesh using just the naked eye.

A truly great coin will always look good to the unaided eye. And this coin is a beauty!

It has strong upper and lower scrolls. The reverse fields are highly reflective and very smooth with even, handsome chocolate brown toning. The inner beading is intact, the legend 'COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA' and date '1930' are powerful.

Moving the obverse through the light you see the complete lower band of the crown. You also observe the strong design details of the monarch's robes and the minimal wear to the king's eyebrow and moustache. We also comment on the highly reflective obverse fields and the handsome chocolate brown toning.

Step 2 is to take up a magnifying glass and examine the coin in detail.

The eye glass re-confirms what we have seen to the naked eye ... and much, much more.

This coin has one side of the central diamond showing and six pearls.

Step 3 is to re-visit the coin with the naked eye just to make sure that you have taken everything in.

The final assessment of this 1930 Penny confirms that it is a great coin and passes our three-point assessment with flying colours.

Four reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.  

Reason 1. One of the prime reasons for the popularity of the 1930 Penny is its financial reliability. It is a solid coin. And in times such as we have experienced in 2020 and even now in 2021 this genuinely counts.

Reason 2. In fact, we would go one step further and say that over the long term the 1930 Penny has probably been one of our most consistent and trustworthy numismatic performers.

Reason 3. Another reason for its popularity is that the coin is as Australian as you can get. Struck during the Great Depression, the 1930 Penny is the nation’s glamour coin and is unrivalled for popularity, enjoying a constant stream of demand unmatched by any other numismatic rarity.

Reason 4. The coin is an industry phenomenon, for in a market that is quality focused it is interesting to note that the 1930 Penny is keenly sought irrespective of its quality ranking. And growth over the mid to long term has been significant across all quality levels.

Well circulated (Fine) 1930 Pennies were selling for £50 in the 1950s. A decade later, by decimal changeover, the coins were fetching £255 ($510). By 1988, Australia's Bicentenary, a Fine 1930 Penny had reached $6000. The turn of the century saw 1930 Penny prices move to a minimum of $13,000. Twenty years later prices have more than doubled. And with a 100th anniversary a decade away, the push to acquire Australia’s favourite Penny is really on.

yes, i am interested in this collection
Penny-Set-Folder-36345-March-2021

This offer is comprised of a complete collection of Australian pennies 1911 to 1964 housed in a Hendo Coin Album (78 coins).  

1930-Penny-gF-rev-TECH-36345-February-2021

An impressive 1930 Penny with nice edges, well defined upper and lower scrolls and inner beading. And strong '1930' date.

1930-Penny-gF-obv-TECH-36345-February-2021

The obverse shows the first side of the central diamond emerging and six pearls. The coin has minimal marks in the field.

Dansco-album-inc-1930-Penny-36345-March-2021

A complete Australian Penny Collection. The holding is comprised of 78 coins, including the extremely rare 1930 Penny and the scarce 1925 and 1946 Pennies. Varieties also included. Quality range of the collection Fine to Uncirculated.


1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1927 Canberra Florin
QUALITY
Superb FDC. A brilliant proof with stunning iridescent colours and one of the finest we have handled.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$30,000
COMMENTS
Two things are clear when you analyse auction realisations of the Proof 1927 Canberra Florin over the past 40 years. The first thing that grabs you is that the coin is extremely scarce. On average, one pristine Proof Canberra Florin appears at auction annually. The second thing we noticed was that the coin has enjoyed solid price growth. In the 1980s, a Proof 1927 Canberra Florin was selling for approximately $1000 at auction. By the 1990s, the coin had doubled in price. The turn of the century saw the Proof Canberra Florin move to $6000. A rapid expansion of the rare coin market, a consequence of the 2000 Sydney Olympics coining program, saw prices on exceptional quality examples exceed $20,000. This is an exceptional quality Proof 1927 Canberra Florin, one of the finest we have handled, and it is available now.
STATUS
Available now
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1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
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Collectors that acquire a Proof 1927 Canberra Florin do so because they value the historical importance of the coin.

The Proof Canberra was minted for one of the most significant events in Australia’s journey to nationhood. The opening of the nation’s first Parliamentary buildings in the national capital.

While Federation occurred in 1901, Federal Parliament sat in temporary accommodation for twenty-six years in Victoria.

The opening of Parliament House in Canberra was a big deal, a milestone in Australia’s pathway to unity. Officiated by the Duke of York (later King George VI), the formal opening of Parliament House was broadcast to more than one million people via radio stations in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Collectors also enjoy the splendour of its design. And appreciate the value that the coin offers from a price / rarity perspective.

And they look to the future in the knowledge that, given its appeal and its very limited availability, the coin will increase in value.

The Proof Canberra Florin is genuinely scarce.

While Melbourne Mint records show a mintage of 400, it is generally accepted that the issue was not a sell-out and a significant number of proofs were re-melted after failing to find a home. According to respected author Greg McDonald, the actual figure could be as low as 150.

The proofs were sold without a case, thereby introducing the possibility of mishandling. So for the buyer that makes quality a priority, the waiting time for a really nice Proof 1927 Canberra Florin to come along will be a minimum of twelve months.

 

 

What makes this Proof Canberra Florin so good?

The first thing we do when we check out a proof coin is to look at it with the naked eye.

  • Move the coin through the light and allow the light to reflect off the fields.
  • On both obverse and reverse this Proof 1927 Canberra Florin has superb highly reflective fields. It is as though you are looking at a mirror.
  • On the reverse, the royal blue peripheral toning on top left and golden peripheral toning on bottom right is magnificent. The golden peripheral toning continues on the obverse and is stunning, highlighting the detailed portrait of King George V.
  • The edges are impeccable.

Having checked out the coin with the naked eye, we then take it under a magnifying glass.

  • The striations, between the 'ONE' in the legend and the oval containing the date 1927, are strong. This tells us is that the dies were well prepared, brushed with a wire-brush to ensure they were sharp.
  • Vertical striations on the obverse are similarly distinct and strong.
  • Heavy striations equates to well brushed dies. Well brushed dies equates to a razor sharp, three dimensional coin design.
  • We always look at the tell-tale steps of Parliament House on the Proof Canberra Florins ... one, two or three. And this coin has the three Parliamentary steps. It's the sign of a great coin.
  • And the fields are unblemished.

This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is an exceptional quality coin.

Enquire now
The Journey to Parliament House Canberra

Australia’s six colonies were united under the name Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. Some of the consequences of Federation, however, did not come to fruition until many, many years later. 

Australia’s Commonwealth silver coinage was not introduced until 1910, our Commonwealth pennies and halfpennies were issued one year later. Our national pride took a bit of a dent when it was realized that Australia’s mints were ill-equipped to strike the nation’s coinage, so our currency had to be struck overseas.

More than a decade after Federation in 1911, Parliament decided on the location of our national capital, Canberra. Three years later, the Government launched a design competition for a permanent Federal Parliament House. The project was suspended due to the outbreak of war and further attempts to revive the project were stifled due to monetary concerns regarding Australia’s war debt.

In 1923 the Government re-started the Parliament House project, with building commencing one year later. 

Federal Parliament, that had been sitting for twenty-six years in temporary accommodation in Spring Street, Melbourne, took up brand new space in Canberra on 9 May 1927 in Australia’s first purpose built Federal Parliamentary building. 

The opening of Parliament House in Canberra was a milestone in Australia’s pathway to unity. And it was a big deal. Officiated by the Duke of York (later King George VI), the formal opening of Parliament House was broadcast to more than one million people via radio stations in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. 

The Federal Government took every opportunity to boast its achievements and used currency as an effective conduit. One million florins featuring Parliament House Canberra were struck at the Melbourne Mint and released into circulation.

A further 400 1927 Canberra Florins were struck by the mint to proof quality and sold to collectors.
 


1919-Square-Penny-kooka-side-August-2020
1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
COIN
The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with impeccable proof-like surfaces
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$55,000
COMMENTS
This Square Penny was struck in 1919, the first year of testing at the Melbourne Mint, and features what is referred to as, the type 3 design. The kookaburra is sleek and the value 'ONE PENNY' is modern in style, making the Type 3 design unique. No other Square Penny shares this design. The coin has an additional feature that collectors enjoy. It is extremely rare for we would be lucky to sight a Type 3 Square Penny on the market every two to three years. So if you are excited by the prospect of owning a 1919 Type 3 Square Penny then you can be even more excited by the prospect of owning this particular example because it has been brilliantly struck and brilliantly preserved. You would be forgiven for thinking that the coin was struck to proof quality for both obverse and reverse fields are mirror-like and highly reflective. Technical shots are shown below.
STATUS
Available now
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1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
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1919-Square-Penny-Type-3-Choice-Unc-TECH-Rev-March-2021

The reverse of this Type 3 Kookaburra Square Penny features a sleek bird on a short branch. The value 'ONE PENNY' is modern in style. The design is unique. No other Square Penny shares the design of the Type 3. The design detail is crisp, the fields are proof-like, the edges are solid.

The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny is a great Australian coin rarity, an Aussie classic.

The coin is cherished by collectors for its novel square shape, perfect kookaburra motif. And for the evocative memories it stirs up of Australia as a nation post-World War I.

The Type 3 Square Penny, with its modern lettering and sleek-style kookaburra, has a design that is unique to its type. No other square penny type bears that design.

The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny has one other redeeming feature. Its acute rarity.

The coins are extremely rare and their infrequent appearances are the very reason why collectors have always faced stiff competition from investors whenever an example appears.

We estimate that fifteen 1919 Type 3 Square Pennies are available to collectors.

This is a minuscule number when you consider that the fifteen coins are never going to be slapped onto a table in one hit and offered for sale at the one time.

So how often can a buyer realistically expect to see a 1919 Type 3 on the market?

Our research, and our experience, confirms that you might expect to be offered a Type 3 Square Penny perhaps once every two to three years.

The history of the Square Penny.

The Melbourne Mint commenced striking Australia's Commonwealth copper pennies in 1919. No sooner had the mint started issuing the coins, than it was directed by Treasury to commence testing an entirely new penny concept, a square coin made from cupro-nickel.

The introduction of the Kookaburra Square Penny underpinned an attempt by the then Labor Government to stir up national sentiment post World War I. To evoke the great 'Aussie' spirit.

 

 

1919-Square-Penny-Type-3-Choice-Unc-TECH-Obv-March-2021

The obverse shows an uncrowned effigy of George V within a circular legend. The Square Pennies were test pieces and were not struck to exacting standards, this coin the absolute exception to those most commonly found. The surfaces are proof-like and the edges are solid.

The history of the Square Penny ... continued.

If you think about it. Putting the nation’s native bird - the kookaburra - onto a coin was a no-brainer to achieving that goal. A drastically changed shape, a square. And a new metal, cupronickel was part of the total package to maximise impact on the population.

The proposal was contentious in that the monarch, King George V, was to be depicted on the obverse without a crown. Some say it was the rumblings of a Republican movement way ahead of its time.

Tests commenced at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 with the test pieces ultimately passed to dignitaries and Government officials to assess their reaction.

Sadly, in 1921 and after three years of testing, the scheme fell apart. The response to Australia’s square coinage was poor with widespread public resistance to change and people generally rejecting the small size of the coins.

However, the final decision not to proceed seems to have been based mainly on another consideration – the large number of vending machines then in operation requiring a circular coin.

The Square Pennies were test pieces struck to assess public reaction. So, they were not struck to exacting minting standards, a tell-tale sign the lack of uniformity in the width of the edges.

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

It is noted that the Kookaburra Square Pennies tone, some more strongly than others, a reflection on their storage in the intervening years. A Square Penny with minimal, attractive toning and beautiful surfaces is a joy to behold. And a prized classic Australian coin rarity.

 

 

Enquire now

1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-rev-FDC-July-2019
1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
COIN
The 1860 Aborigine Threepence created by colonial silversmiths Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen
QUALITY
Struck in silver and presented in mint state, with proof-like surfaces.
PROVENANCE
Sir Marcus Clark KBE, sold by James R. Lawson Auctioneers 1954. Exhibited, 'The Dollars & Dumps' Exhibition ANZ Gothic Bank Melbourne, 2007.
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
The Sir Marcus Clark 1860 Aborigine Threepence is unequivocally an Australian Numismatic Treasure. It became an overnight sensation when the piece first publicly appeared at James Lawson’s Auctions in 1954, the property of Sir Marcus Clarke KBE. The earliest numismatic depiction of an Aboriginal Australian and offered in a superb mint-state, the piece sold for the massive price of £38. For the 50-plus years that I have been involved in the industry, it has always been known as “The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence”. It is an industry icon and of the seven other known examples, this piece is the absolute finest of them all.
STATUS
Available now
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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
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We have always held the 1860 Aborigine Threepence in the highest regard.

It is the earliest numismatic depiction of an Aboriginal Australian and is a piece of cultural significance. And of tremendous national significance.

Furthermore, it is rare. Only seven other pieces are known.

The Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence is in a class all on its own as it is the absolute finest example of the Aborigine Threepence, in mint-state and proof-like.

The first public appearance of this Aborigine Threepence occurred in July 1954 when James R. Lawson Auctioneers sold the collection of the late Sir Marcus Clark KBE. His 1860 Aborigine Threepence was placed in the sale alongside his Holey Dollar and Dump, such was the respect with which it was held.

Selling for £38, the Aborigine Threepence fetched more than twice that of Clark's Extremely Fine Dump that sold for £18. (The Dump is today held with a Coinworks client residing in Perth and is valued in excess of $100,000.)

At £38, the Aborigine Threepence fetched nearly double that of Clark's Extremely Fine 1852 Adelaide Pound Cracked Die (£20) which today would be valued at $150,000-plus.

The potential of the Aborigine Threepence is further highlighted by the realisation of Sir Marcus Clark's Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar in the same 1954 Lawson Auction. Struck on an 1809 Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar, the coin sold for £72. (That very same coin was sold by Coinworks in 2018 for $440,000.)

Marcus Clark's Aborigine Threepence was auctioned again twenty seven years later, and in a fiercely contested bidding war, sold for $23,000 on a pre-auction estimate of $12,500.

The 1860 Aborigine Threepence was minted by jewellers Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen. Scandinavian citizens, Hogarth was a sculptor and silversmith. Erichsen an engraver.

Both migrated to Australia to make their fortunes on the gold fields reaching Sydney on 11 December 1852. Failing to realise their ambitions, they utilised their skills and went into partnership as silversmiths opening their first enterprise at 255 George Street Sydney.

The firm quickly gained a reputation in the development of ‘Australiana’ themed decoration on metalwork and jewellery, which actively promoted the use of indigenous Australian floral and faunal elements and indigenous figures.

Hogarth & Erichsen achieved great success during the 1850s notably through the vice-regal patronage of Governors Young and Denison.

The works of Hogarth and Erichsen are revered and are held by the following institutions, to name but a few.
•    The National Library of Australia, Canberra
•    The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
•    The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
•    The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Hogarth & Erichsen were numismatic trailblazers when in 1860 they created the Aborigine Threepence.

It would be another one hundred and twenty-eight years before Australia would acknowledge the contribution of Aboriginal Australians to our society when a portrait of a tribal elder appeared on the nation's Two Dollar coins created especially for the Bicentenary in 1988.

enquire now

1813-Dump-C4-aEF-Rev-36337-February-2021
1813-Dump-C4-aEF-Obv-36337-February-2021
COIN
1813 Dump, struck using the very rare C/4 dies
QUALITY
Good Fine / About Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Dump is an inordinately rare example of the nation’s first fifteen pence. Struck from a die combination that historians refer to as obverse die ‘C’ and reverse die ‘4’, eight examples are known. Historians suggest that due to the crude nature of the C/4 Dumps, they may have been trials presented to Governor Lachlan Macquarie before production officially commenced. Over and above the rarity of the C/4 Dumps, the quality of this coin is superior. It is one of the finest of the C/4s.
STATUS
Sold March 2021
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1813-Dump-C4-aEF-Obv-36337-February-2021
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Extremely rare and superior quality C/4 Dump

The industry acknowledges that there are about eight hundred 1813 Dumps available to collectors. Within that collector pool, the Dump appears in four distinctly different styles (or die combinations).

The four styles have been classified by authors Mira and Noble as the type A/1, D/2, E/3 and C/4.

The different styles on the obverse are reflected in the shape of the cross on the crown, the position of this cross in relation to the letters in the legend above it. And in the positioning of the row of jewels (or pearls) in the crown. On the reverse, differences are found in the distances between the words 'FIFTEEN' and 'PENCE' and in the position of the 'T' in 'FIFTEEN' in relation to the 'N' in 'PENCE'.

The rarest of the four dies is the C/4 with only eight known out of the total pool of 800 Dumps.

Six C/4 Dumps have been identified at auction. Add the two examples that are privately held, of which this coin is one, and you have a total of eight coins.

This Dump is graded Good Fine / About Very Fine. (Only one other C/4 Dump exists at a similar quality level.) Take out these two coins and the remaining six examples are all well circulated and aesthetically challenging.

The C/4 dies produced coins that were very crude and the suggestion is that they may have been test pieces presented to Governor Macquarie before production began.

Many of the C/4 Dumps have surface cracks and splits supporting the theory that they were used for trials while the correct striking pressure and planchet temperatures were being worked out. There are also some suggestions that they may have been contemporary forgeries.

Irrespective, the C/4 Dumps are extremely rare and an essential part of the 'Dump' story.

yes, i am interested in this 1813 Dump
1813-Dump-C4-aEF-Rev-TECH-36337-March-2021

Type C/4 Dump. Obverse Die C.
The dies show extensive re-cutting and poor engraving in both the legend and the crown. The top of the cross points between the 'T & H' of 'SOUTH' in the legend. The crown is enlarged and the 'N' in New and 'S' in 'SOUTH' have been dropped to a lower level. The '3' in '1813' is upright.

1813-Dump-C4-aEF-Obv-TECH-36337-March-2021

Type C/4 Dump. Reverse Die 4.
The upright stroke of 'P' is to the right of the upright stroke of 'F'. The 'T' is well to the left of 'N'. The 'FIFTEEN' and 'PENCE' are 4mm apart.


1887-Half-Sovereign-chUNC-obv-22519-February-2021
1887-Half-Sovereign-chUNC-rev-22519-February-2021
COIN
1887 Queen Victoria Young Head Half Sovereign, Sydney Mint
QUALITY
A highly lustrous, beautifully struck Choice Uncirculated with superb fields and impeccable edges.
PROVENANCE
Hand selected by Barrie Winsor for the Quartermaster Collection in 2006.
PRICE
$12,500
COMMENTS
Barrie Winsor was a gold coin specialist. His personal collecting preference was always Australia’s half sovereigns. The tiny mintages posed challenges for collectors, particularly when top quality was sought. And Barrie always enjoyed a challenge. He also believed that sovereign production was very often influenced by Governments and their need to pay debt. Whereas the half sovereign, was the workhorse of the people and the ebbs and flows of the mintage figures reflected social and economic circumstances. He maintained that the half sovereign had a far greater story to tell than the sovereign. We totally agree.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1887-Half-Sovereign-chUNC-rev-22519-February-2021
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Quality, quality, quality

This coin was hand selected by Barrie Winsor in 2006 for Queensland collector, Tom Hadley ... and doesn't it show.

The coin is lustrous on both obverse and reverse, the design detail crisp, the edges superb.

The half sovereign versus the sovereign

The challenges of collecting half sovereigns is clearly played out in the Young Head Shield era at the Sydney Mint.

The average mintage figure of the half sovereign was 157,000.

The average mintage figure of the sovereign was nearly ten times that number at 1.56 million.

Having accepted the extreme scarcity of half sovereigns over the sovereign, it also has to be said that the half sovereign was the coin of the people and heavily traded in day-to-day transactions. The sovereign to a far lesser extent.

The very reason why top quality half sovereigns are so scarce in today's market.

1887 - a challenging year for the Sydney Mint

The year 1887 must have been an extremely challenging one for the Sydney Mint for a new portrait of Queen Victoria was introduced to mark the monarch's golden jubilee.

So, one year, two portrait designs for the half sovereign (Young Head and Jubilee) ... it obviously became a bit much!

Confusion reigned for the mintage of 134,000 half sovereigns reported by the Sydney Mint to its master, the Royal Mint London, included both portrait designs of Young Head and Jubilee.

Now a mintage of 134,000 is extremely low making both design types very scarce.

But, collectors are a knowing bunch and identified very quickly that the 1887 Half Sovereign struck with the Young Head portrait (this coin) was by far scarcer than that struck with the Jubilee Head.

 

1887-Half-Sovereign-chUNC-obv-22519-TECH-February-2021

1887 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint and featuring the Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria

1887-Half-Sovereign-chUNC-rev-22519-TECH-February-2021

1887 Half Sovereign reverse featuring the 'S' for Sydney Mint below the shield

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1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Rev-October-2020
1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Obv-October-2020
COIN
1813 Dump, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields. An exceptional quality example of the nation's first coin.
QUALITY
Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Dump is impressive, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields that act as the perfect backdrop to a strong crown, legend and date. This is a supreme quality example of the nation’s first coin and is ranked in the top eight per cent. And while the quality should be ample reason for collectors to give due consideration for purchase, it has to be said that this coin has attributes that are highly prized and not always seen in the 1813 Dump. Making it overwhelmingly irresistible buying. The exceptional attributes are described in more detail below but for a start there is the “H’ for Henshall on the reverse, the mark left by the nation’s first mint master guaranteeing his fame. Evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design from which it was created. Intact edge milling, the minting authorities ploy to prevent clipping of slivers of silver from the edges. And edge denticles that act as a picture-frame to the design.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Obv-October-2020
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For the buyer that is keen to grab an example of Australia's first coin - the 1813 Dump - we offer six solid reasons why this coin is worth owning.

Top quality
The 1813 Dump circulated widely in the colony, the extreme wear on most Dumps evidence of its extensive use. The average quality Dump is graded at Fine to Good Fine, with this coin four to five grades higher at Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine. We rate it in the top eight per cent of surviving examples. The coin has obviously been cherished for it has been brilliantly preserved with beautiful toning and highly reflective fields.

Aesthetically pleasing
Struck with the A/1 dies, the crown is classically well-centred. The design details are chunky, strongly three-dimensional ... and by this we are referring to the crown with its fleur-de-lis and pearls, the  legend New South Wales, the date 1813 and on the reverse, the value Fifteen Pence.

Henshall's claim to fame - the elusive 'H'
William Henshall declared his involvement in the creation of the Dump by inserting an 'H' into some (but not all) of the dies used during its striking. Its presence is highly prized. The ‘H’ for Henshall also is present between the 'FIFTEEN' and the 'PENCE' on the reverse.

Strong denticles
The denticles around the edge of the coin are almost complete, a feature that is seldom seen in even the very best examples. A piece of art with out a picture frame is a blank canvas ... and the denticles act like a picture frame to the coin and give it substance.

Oblique milling
Notice the oblique milling around the edge. It is fully evident. (The edge milling was used as deterrent against clipping whereby the unscrupulous shaved off slivers of silver, reducing the silver content of the Dump. And making a small profit on the side.)

Original Spanish Dollar design is evident
While the Holey Dollar clearly shows that it is one coin struck from another, in a less obvious way so too can the Dump. The design detail of the original Spanish Dollar from which this Dump was created is evident on the reverse. We refer to it as the under type and it is not always evident. Its presence re-affirms the origins of the Dump and is highly prized.

 

Governor Lachlan Macquarie enlisted the services of emancipated convict, William Henshall, to cut a hole in 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars, creating two coins out of one.

The Dump, the small disc that fell out of the centre of the holed silver dollar, was then over stamped with the date 1813, a crown, New South Wales and the value of fifteen pence.

The buyer that pursues a top-quality Dump will find the task extremely challenging. It can be years before a premium quality example comes onto the market.

The Dump circulated widely in the colony, the extreme wear on most Dumps evidence that they saw considerable use. So, while the Dump may seem the diminutive partner of the Holey Dollar, the reality is "top quality" Dumps have authority.

So let's define the words "top quality" and establish the levels that are rarely seen.

Every circulated coin has a grading level at which serious rarity kicks in. That is the point at which the balance between acquiring a coin as a collectible - and as an investment - shifts more towards the latter.

For the 1813 Colonial Dump that point is Good Very Fine.

The chart below clearly shows that securing a Colonial Dump in a quality level of Good Very Fine or better is a difficult task.

We would sight a Good Very Fine Dump on the open market perhaps once or twice every year.

1813-Dump-Chart-July-2020
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1813-Holey-Dollar-OBV-1809-Ferdinand-VI-36314-February-2021
1813-Holey-Dollar-REV-1809-Ferdinand-VI-36314-February-2021
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar created from an 1809 Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar, Mira Noble reference number 1809/6
QUALITY
Extremely Fine with glossy, highly reflective surfaces and handsome toning
PROVENANCE
Dr Mark Long, a foremost collector and numismatic author in the nineteenth century
PRICE
$250,000
COMMENTS
An 1813 Holey Dollar is a prize. But an 1813 Holey Dollar that has been created from a Ferdinand VII silver dollar is the ultimate prize. We know today that one hundred and ninety-three Holey Dollars are held by private collectors. Of those, only TWELVE were created from Ferdinand VII Mexico Mint Silver Dollars. The very reason why we say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars are the rarest of the rare. Aside from the extreme rarity of this Holey Dollar, it comes with a fascinating historical connection to Napoleon Bonaparte. And is supreme for quality. (This Holey Dollar is featured on page 65 of the Mira Noble book, 'The Holey Dollars of News South Wales, A Pictorial Record'. A copy will be gifted to the new owner.)
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1813-Holey-Dollar-REV-1809-Ferdinand-VI-36314-February-2021
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The fundamentals of this Holey Dollar

When William Henshall created this Holey Dollar, he grabbed a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck in 1809 at the Mexico Mint and that depicted the legend and portrait of King Ferdinand VII of Spain.

Had Henshall been an avid historian he might have realised that Joseph Bonaparte was King of Spain in 1809 - not Ferdinand - and that the dollar he was about to deface had an extreme historical peculiarity and rarity that made it worth holding onto.

But Henshall was an emancipated convict and our first mint master and using crude equipment, he cut a hole in it.

The Ferdinand VII silver dollar that Henshall was handling was one of 40,000 coins that he would eventually deface in his quest to create the nation's first coin.

Henshall then continued the minting process by over-stamping the inner circular edge of the hole with the words New South Wales, the date '1813' and the value of five shillings.

That’s the point at which the holed silver dollar became the 1813 New South Wales Five Shillings, better known as the 1813 Holey Dollar.

A Holey Dollar that is defined by the monarch Ferdinand VII

While it is acknowledged that quality is the prime force in determining the value of a Holey Dollar, it is not the only force.

Lachlan Macquarie's shipment of 40,000 Spanish Silver dollars was not specific, so any date would do. And any monarch would suffice, Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VI or Ferdinand VII.

And herein lies the key! For some monarchs appear more frequently than others.

Holey Dollars featuring the portrait of Charles IV are the most readily available, followed by Charles III, and Ferdinand VII. A Ferdinand VI Holey Dollar does exist but it is unique and is definitely not for sale. So the rarest monarch from a collector's perspective is Ferdinand VII.

A Holey Dollar that has quality

The original 1809 Spanish Silver Dollar from which this Holey Dollar was created is graded in the premium quality levels of Extremely Fine indicating that it underwent slight circulation before the hole was cut into it in 1813.

The surfaces are glossy and highly reflective. Remarkable when you consider that Spanish Silver Dollar was at the time the world’s greatest trading coin.

The extent of usage of the Holey Dollar after it was released into circulation is evidenced by the wear to the counter-stamps, the over-stamping around the inner circular edge … New South Wales, 1813 and Five Shillings.

The counter-stamps of this Holey Dollar are also graded in the premium quality levels of Extremely Fine, which indicates that as a Holey Dollar, the coin underwent minimal usage.

In summary, this Holey Dollar was created in 1813 by mint-master William Henshall. Officially demonetised in 1829 when most of the coins were sent to the melting pot. So by some fluke, this Holey Dollar avoided the melting pot and was barely used in the interim.

And doesn't it show? We rate this coin as being in the top five of the twelve surviving privately owned Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars.

The chart attached clearly shows the spread of Holey Dollars based on quality. And the relative ready availability of low-quality examples. The chart also confirms the extreme rarity of high-quality specimens.

yes, i am interested in this 1813 holey dollar

A Holey Dollar with a Bonaparte connection

Napoleon Bonaparte emerged as the strongman of Europe in 1799 leading his armies across Europe deposing monarchs and dominating the entire continent.

At the time Spain was ruled by King Charles IV and Spain was an ally of France.

In 1807, Bonaparte’s armies marched through Spain and invaded Portugal.

The alliance between France under Bonaparte and Spain under Charles IV disintegrated the following year when on February 16, 1808, under the pretext of sending reinforcements to the French army occupying Portugal, the French invaded northern Spain.

King Charles IV was pressured into abdicating the Spanish throne in March 1808 to his son Ferdinand VII. The son reigned for less than two months.

Both Charles IV and Ferdinand VII were duped by Napoleon Bonaparte into ceding the Spanish throne to Bonaparte’s older brother Joseph who assumed rule of the Spanish kingdom on 6 June 1808.

And while the upper echelons of the Spanish Government accepted Ferdinand's abdication and Napoleon's choice of Joseph as King of Spain, the Spanish people did not. Uprisings broke out throughout the country.

The Mexico Mint refused to acknowledge Bonaparte as the Spanish King and protested by continuing to strike their silver dollars with the legend and portrait of the exiled Ferdinand VII.

It’s politics 101. Played out in the nineteenth century.

By 1813 the French position in Spain became untenable and Napoleon withdrew his troops and released Ferdinand VII from Valencay, France, where he had been imprisoned.

Ferdinand VII returned triumphantly to Madrid and re-claimed the Spanish crown early in 1814.

Holey-dollar-chart-March-2020

1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-OBV-September-2020
1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-September-2020
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been minted at the Lima Mint, Peru, in 1808.
QUALITY
The original coin, Good Extremely Fine. The counter stamps, About Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Exhibited at the "Holey Dollar - A Symbol of Innovation", Macquarie Bank 1 Martin Place Sydney 2 October to 18 October 2013. Also at the "All That Is Holey" Exhibition, Royal Australian Mint Canberra 16 August to 3 November 2019.
PRICE
$525,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Holey Dollar comes with impeccable credentials. It is an inordinately rare Holey Dollar because the Spanish Silver Dollar, from which it was created, originated in the Spanish colony of Peru. (Most Holey Dollars were created from silver dollars that were minted in the Spanish colony of Mexico.) Over and above its rarity, the quality of this coin is absolutely supreme. Unequivocally it is the finest of those Holey Dollars that have ties to the Lima Mint. The buyer will note that this Holey Dollar comes with a revered provenance having been exhibited twice over the past few years. In 2013, at the Macquarie Bank, 1 Martin Place Sydney. And in 2019 at the Royal Australian Mint, Denison Street Canberra. Check out the technical shots in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-September-2020
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Governor Lachlan Macquarie etched his name into numismatic history forever when in 1812 he imported 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars to alleviate a currency crisis in the penal colony of New South Wales.

Macquarie's order for silver dollars did not specify dates. Any date would do. He wasn't concerned about the various mints at which they were struck ... Mexico, Lima, Potosi or Madrid. Nor was he fussy about the quality of the coins.

Concluding that the shipment of 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars would not suffice, Macquarie enlisted the services of emancipated convict William Henshall to cut a hole in the centre of each dollar, thereby creating two coins out of one, a ring dollar and a disc.

The donut shaped silver piece, with the hole in the middle, was over stamped around the edge of the hole with the date 1813 and New South Wales to create the 1813 Holey Dollar. Its monetary value was five shillings.

When William Henshall created this Holey Dollar he picked up a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck in 1808, the critical point here was that the silver dollar had been struck at the Lima Mint in Peru.

Had Henshall been a numismatist, or had the time and the inclination, he may have noticed that the majority of Spanish Silver Dollars that he was handling had been struck in Mexico. That silver dollars from the Lima Mint were extremely scarce.

But, committed to the task of creating holey dollars from silver dollars, he proceeded to cut a hole in the silver dollar and continued the minting process by over-stamping the inner circular edge of the hole with the words New South Wales, the date 1813 and the value of five shillings.

In so doing, he created this 1813 Holey Dollar.


THIS 1813 HOLEY DOLLAR IS DEFINED BY SUPERB QUALITY AND THE VERY RARE LIMA MINT.

SUPERB QUALITY 

As the Spanish Silver Dollar was the world’s greatest trading coin, most of the coins in Macquarie's shipment of 40,000 coins would have been well worn.

A formal study of the surviving Holey Dollars, undertaken in 1988, confirms the fact. And also confirms that this Holey Dollar is indeed the exception.

Two hundred Holey Dollars are today held by private collectors, both in Australia and overseas. And more than fifty percent of those occupy the lower quality ranges of Fair through to Good Fine, offering a coin that is heavily circulated, perhaps even damaged. Nearly 30 per cent are found in a quality range of About Very Fine to Very Fine. Ten per cent of Holey Dollars are found in the higher quality ranges of Good Very Fine to About Extremely Fine. Four per cent of Holey Dollars are found in an Extremely Fine quality. Only two per cent of Holey Dollars are found in the the elite level of Good Extremely Fine to Uncirculated. One of which is this coin. 

This Holey Dollar is a coin of influence.

Two hundred Holey Dollars are held by private collectors. This particular Holey Dollar, with a technical grading of Good Extremely Fine, is ranked in the top four.

Now, if we look at only those Holey Dollars that were created from Spanish Silver Dollars minted in Peru, this coin is the absolute finest. The very reason why it has been exhibited twice, at the Macquarie Bank in Sydney and the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.

THE VERY RARE LIMA MINT

Eleven per cent of the two hundred privately owned Holey Dollars were created from silver dollars minted at the Lima Mint in Peru. By comparison, at least eighty percent were created from silver dollars issued at the Mexico Mint.

In a career that is approaching the half-century mark, this is only the FIFTH Holey Dollar we have offered that has ties to the Lima Mint in Peru.

The very reason why we say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, some are far rarer than others.

WELL POSITIONED COUNTER STAMPS

The counter stamps New South Wales, 1813 and Five Shillings are graded About Uncirculated indicating minimal use after the silver dollar was converted to a Holey Dollar.

Over and above the outstanding quality of the counter stamps, they are well positioned with 'New South Wales' and '1813' in the same vertical vista as the date '1808'. This is rarely seen and is the optimum position of the counter stamps.

A study of the surviving Holey Dollars reveals that Henshall's application of the counter stamps was wildly random and haphazard. Uniformity of the counter stamps, such as we see in this coin, is rarely evident.

 

1808-Holey-Dollar-Lima-Tech-OBV-September-2020

This Holey Dollar is one of the very few struck with the counter stamps 'New South Wales' and '1813' in the same vertical vista as the date '1808'. Aesthetically, this is the optimum position of the counter stamps. 

1808-Holey-Dollar-Tech-Lima-REV-September-2020

. REX . LMAE . 8R .
 The distinctive mintmark LMAE of the Lima Mint is featured in the legend on the left hand side of this Holey Dollar.

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1855-Sydney-Mnt-Sovereign-good-EF-Obv-1-October-2020
1855-Sydney-Mnt-Sovereign-good-EF-Rev-1-October-2020
COIN
1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign, a lustrous example of the nation's very first sovereign
QUALITY
Good Extremely Fine, with strong design details and highly reflective fields
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$29,500
COMMENTS
For collectors looking to obtain just one gold sovereign, the nation’s very first issue - the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign - is the obvious choice. The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign offers so much to the collector. There is the challenge of acquisition because the coin is extremely rare in the quality level offered here. We would be lucky to sight one, perhaps two, high quality 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns on the open market annually. The coin also offers collectors exceptional value. A quick check on the availability and price of comparable quality 1852 Adelaide Pounds and 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns affirms the value that the sovereign presents in today's market. Held by a Coinworks client since 2007, this stunning, yet affordable, 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is available now.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1855-Sydney-Mnt-Sovereign-good-EF-Rev-1-October-2020
Read More

There are four things we know about the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign. Widespread appeal. Extremely rare. Unique status. And great value for your investment dollars.

We expand upon these four points below.

Widespread appeal

The 1855 Sydney Mint sovereign has appeal that extends well beyond the traditional numismatic/collector market. Sovereigns have universal appeal, regarded by many families as having heirloom qualities. Among the myriad of dates that the sovereign series offers, the nation's very first (1855) has prime appeal.

Extremely rare

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is rare and high quality examples, are particularly so. We would expect to sight one, perhaps two premium examples on the market annually.

Unique status

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign holds a unique status as Australia's first gold sovereign struck at the nation's very first mint, the Sydney Mint. History fuels demand, and provides a relevance for purchase, ensuring that the 1855 Sovereign will always be sought after, now and into the future.

And great value for your investment dollars

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is undervalued at its current price structure. We contrasted the 1852 Adelaide Pound and the 1855 Sovereign in the comparable quality of Good Extremely Fine, checking availability and price.

We noted that there are four times as many Adelaide Pounds available to collectors as there are 1855 Sovereigns. And yet price-wise, the 1855 Sovereign commands less dollars.

Over time we believe this price disparity will be addressed. Which is why we maintain that high quality 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns are great coins to tuck away for the future.

A final comment on the supreme quality of this 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign as demonstrated by the chart below.

Every circulated coin has a grading level at which serious rarity kicks in. That is the point at which the balance between acquiring a coin as a collectible - and as an investment - shifts more towards the latter.

The bar chart below clearly shows that rarity for the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign really cuts in at ‘About Extremely Fine’. And that as the quality gets higher, from Good Extremely Fine (this coin), About Uncirculated up to Uncirculated (and better), the availability of examples rapidly diminishes.

yes, i am interested in this high quality 1855 sydney mint sovereign

the story of australia's first sovereign
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-good-EF-TECH-Obv-November-2020
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-good-EF-Rev-November-2020
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Bar-Chart-July-2020



1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-Rev-September-2020
1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-Obv-September-2020
COIN
1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign, the rare date in the George V Half Sovereign series
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Perth
PRICE
$12,500
COMMENTS
The Perth Mint has struck many of Australia's greatest pre-decimal coin rarities, including this 1918 Half Sovereign. It is an important coin on many fronts. Australia struck its last half sovereign in 1918, making it a highly historical date. The end of an era. And it is extremely rare. Respected numismatic author, Greg McDonald, contends that only 200 to 300 pieces are available to collectors. Important. Extremely rare. And available at $12,500. Excellent buying.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-Obv-September-2020
Read More

The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is an enigma. It is the coin that according to Perth Mint records was never struck.

Now, that’s a story we have heard before. The 1930 Penny is yet another Australian coin rarity that according to its mint of origin, the Melbourne Mint, was also never struck.

In both cases the mystery surrounding their striking has added to their appeal, underpinning collector demand.

The first appearance of a 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign occurred in 1967 and was noted in the then industry magazine, 'The Australian Coin Review'.

Inspired by the coin's first sighting, collectors commenced searching. And over the ensuing years, a few more 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns trickled their way out into the market place.

The extreme rarity of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign challenged historians and numismatists to come up with a plausible reason for the minuscule mintage.

Extensive research was undertaken on die usage at the Perth Mint in 1918 and in the years thereafter. The conclusion was that a mintage of half sovereigns was struck in 1919 and again in 1920 - using the dies dated 1918 - all of which was exported overseas with the majority assumed melted down.

1918-Perth-Half-Sov-Unc-TECH-2-Rev-November-2020
1918-Perth-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Unc-2-Obv-November-2020
Enquire now

1823 Macintosh & Degraves obv
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
COIN
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Shilling
QUALITY
nearly Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Guy Newton-Brown, Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$ 50,000
COMMENTS
That historians have traced a business transaction involving the 1823 Macintosh & Degraves Kangaroo Shilling back to 1848 attests to the importance of this iconic piece of Australiana. The transaction was a purchase for the esteemed London National Collection. The Kangaroo Shilling has a remarkable history with a connection that lives on today to Tasmania's Cascade Brewery.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
Read More

This particular Macintosh and Degraves Shilling is the finest of 15 known examples. Excessively rare, consistently in demand, this piece stands shoulder to shoulder with some of Australia’s great coin rarities.

Formerly owned by Melbourne barrister Guy Newton-Brown it is sold with historical papers from Spink & Son London, 1968.

1823 Macintosh & Degraves documents

Fondly referred to as the ‘Smiling Rat’, the design was reputedly based on a drawing that was sent back to London in the late 1780s, said to be the first depiction of an Australian kangaroo.

It is our first Australian token and the only piece to be struck in this denomination.

When Hugh McIntosh and Peter Degraves organised the striking of this token for the Cascade Saw Mills in 1823, they could hardly have foreseen that it would one day become a prized collector piece. 

The token is remarkable for a number of reasons, all of which adds to its value today.

  • For a start, there’s that creature. Anyone who has taken even a passing interest in our colonial history would have seen it elsewhere: it’s reputedly based on a drawing that was sent back to London in the late 1780s, said to be the first depiction of an Australian kangaroo.
  • Then there’s the ‘Tasmania’ legend on the token. Until 1853 the island colony was known officially as Van Diemen’s Land, although Tasmania was used in print as early as 1824.
  • Messrs McIntosh and Degraves did not arrive in the colony until April 1824 – the year after the token’s ostensible date. What’s more, the Cascade Saw Mills for which it was struck didn’t commence operations until four months later.
  • It’s generally acknowledged that the Macintosh and Degraves token was struck in London in 1824 prior to their departure from England, most likely at the Soho Mint of Matthew Boulton fame. Furthermore, it is believed that it was never issued, the majority melted down following a well-documented custom’s seizure involving the partners’ cargo.

That we don’t know the full story has tantalised numismatists and historians for decades.

Does it really matter? Definitely not – after all, it simply adds to the magic. 

enquire now

1805-Holey-Dollar-2-Date-April-2020
1805-Holey-Dollar-2-Date-April-2020jpg
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar struck on an 1805 Mexico Mint Spanish Silver Dollar
QUALITY
About Extremely Fine with counter stamps, Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Ray Jewell, Schulman Auction New York 1966, John Ahbe, Spink-Stern Auction Melbourne, 1975, Osborne Collection, Mira Noble Reference 1805/7
PRICE
$275,000
COMMENTS
This Holey Dollar is impactful. Notice the monarch’s eye and nose. Two facets of the design detail that are almost always obliterated in a Holey Dollar. Over and above the aesthetics of this coin, at About Extremely Fine this Holey Dollar is in the top 10 percentile for quality and has toned to a handsome charcoal grey with superb glossy surfaces. Check out the technical shots in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Available now
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When William Henshall created this Holey Dollar in 1813, he grabbed an 1805 Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Mexico Mint.

If William Henshall had been a numismatist he would have acknowledged that the 1805 Spanish Silver Dollar that he was about to deface showed minimal signs of wear. Given that he was holding the world's greatest trading coin, that in itself was a miracle.

Committed to the task of creating holey dollars from silver dollars, he cut a hole in the dollar and continued the minting process by over-stamping the inner circular edge of the hole with the words New South Wales, the date 1813 and the value of five shillings, thereby creating this 1813 Holey Dollar.

The original 1805 Spanish Silver Dollar used to create this Holey Dollar is graded in the premium quality level of About Extremely Fine indicating that it underwent minimal circulation before the hole was cut into it in 1813.

The extent of usage of the Holey Dollar after it was released into circulation is evidenced by the wear to the counter-stamps, the over-stamping around the inner circular edge … New South Wales, 1813 and Five Shillings.

The counter-stamps of this Holey Dollar are graded in the premium quality levels of Extremely Fine indicating that as a Holey Dollar this coin also underwent minimal use.

The Holey Dollar is one of Australia’s most desirable coins.

The status of the Holey Dollar as Australia’s first coin ensures that it will never be forgotten and, as time passes, its historical value can only increase.

Talk to those fortunate enough to own one, either private collectors or institutions such as Macquarie Bank, National Museum of Australia and the Mitchell Library, and they will tell you that the Holey Dollar is viewed as the jewel in their collection. And that statement is made irrespective of the quality level.

The coin is rare. And the coin is steeped in history.

And yet it is refreshingly current. The ingenuity of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in creating our first coin is reflected in the naming of the Macquarie Bank and the bank’s ultimate adoption of the Holey Dollar as its logo.

1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-April-2020
1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-Rev-April-2020
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1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Obv-June-2020
1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Rev-June-2020
COIN
1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$25,000
COMMENTS
It is a fact. The 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign is an elusive coin in any quality. But the coin on offer here is just not ‘any quality’. This coin is ascribed the higher grading level of Choice Uncirculated. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of premium quality 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereigns that we have sold. Given that this sovereign was struck in the factory-like conditions of the nation’s first mint, there can only be one explanation as to its remarkable state. The coin must have been put aside soon after minting. Put aside but also especially cared for in the interim for the coin has been brilliantly preserved, the fields lustrous. When it was presented to us, it had been painstakingly wrapped up in tissue paper into a minute parcel, seemingly hidden away for decades. Technical shots have been included in the READ MORE section.
STATUS
Available now.
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1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Rev-June-2020
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1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Unc-Obv-January-2021

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Obverse. 

1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Unc-Rev-January-2021

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Reverse. 

This 1860 Sovereign will have widespread appeal. To the sovereign buyer that targets key dates. To the sovereign buyer that just wants top quality. And to the investor for this is a classic numismatic investment piece. The combination of a key date and superb quality.

The year 1860 is a key date of the series.

Every series has its key dates, those years that are harder to find than others. In the case of the Sydney Mint Sovereign series, the 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign is one of the great rarities.

The Sydney Mint Sovereign series ran from 1855 until 1870 with the first obverse design appearing between 1855 and 1856 and the second between 1857 and 1870.

Two dates are regarded as the absolute key dates of the second obverse design series they being 1858 and this coin, the 1860.

 

Superb quality. And a great rarity.

The value of any coin is a combination of two elements. The finesse of the striking. And just how well it has been cared for in the intervening years. And this 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign scores highly on both counts. Brilliant strike. And painstakingly preserved.

It is a fact that the 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign is an elusive coin in any quality. But the coin on offer here is just not ‘any quality’. This coin is ascribed the higher grading level of Choice Uncirculated. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of premium quality 1860 Sydney Mint Sovereigns that we have sold.

Sydney mint - our first gold sovereign series.

Australia’s gold coinage history began in 1855 with the introduction of the Sydney Mint design. It was a style that rejected the protocols of London and which imparted a uniquely Australian flavour into the nation’s first official gold coinage.

For the first - and only time - the word AUSTRALIA appeared on our sovereigns. The Sydney Mint design continued until 1870. In 1871 Australia’s gold coinage took on the more traditional English designs of St George and the Dragon and the Shield.

 

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PROOF-1855-BANNER-1-JULY-2020
COIN
Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign struck at the Royal Mint London. One of two pairs known.
QUALITY
Flawless FDC and the finest known.
PROVENANCE
As detailed below.
PRICE
$525,000
COMMENTS
The Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign were struck at the Royal Mint London in 1853. Presented in mint state, a flawless FDC, these coins are the pinnacle of the industry, representing the market ideals of quality, rarity and historical significance.
STATUS
Available now
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PROOF 1855 SYDNEY MINT HALF SOVEREIGN

SUMMARY STATEMENT
This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign was struck in 1853 at the Royal Mint London, as part of the preparations for striking the nation's first official gold currency.

The coin was struck with a brilliant mirror finish and features a grained edge.

Three proof specimens are held in private collections, this being the finest. Two proof specimens are held in public institutions, the British Museum and the Museum of Victoria, the latter, however, has circulated.

PRICE
Not available individually. Available only as a pair, the two coins offered at $525,000.

QUALITY
A flawless mint state, this coin is the finest of three known examples. An example is held in the Quartermaster collection which we have scrutinised.  A third example was offered at auction in March 1985. A confirmed proof, but with a quality grading of Good Fine, the vendor had kept it as a pocket piece.

OBVERSE
The obverse was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon and features Queen Victoria with a wreath of banksia leaves in her hair, a knotted braid curving under her ear terminating into a bun at the nape of her neck.

REVERSE
The reverse was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon and features the word ‘AUSTRALIA’ at centre, a crown above and a laurel wreath tied with a bow above the words ‘HALF SOVEREIGN’.

PROVENANCE
This coin made its first public appearance at an Australian auction in November 1981. The provenance in the auction catalogue indicated that the coin was originally held as part of the J. G. Murdoch Collection, sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in 1903.

Acquired by foremost U.S. collector Virgil Brand, the coin was later sold to aviation pioneer Captain Vivian Hewitt. The last name publicly attached to this coin is New York collector, John L. Ahbe.

Coinworks sold this Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign by private treaty to a Sydney collector in 1999.

Proof-1855-Sydney-Mint-Half-Sov-Obv-SQ-July-2020

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign - obverse

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Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign - reverse


PROOF 1855 SYDNEY MINT SOVEREIGN

SUMMARY STATEMENT
This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign was struck at the Royal Mint London as part of the preparations for striking the nation's first official gold currency.

The coin was struck with a brilliant mirror finish and features a grained edge.

Three proof specimens are held in private collections. None are held in public institutions.

QUALITY
A flawless mint state, this coin is one of three known and reputed to be the finest. An example is held in the Quartermaster collection and is inferior to this coin.   

OBVERSE
The obverse was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon and features Queen Victoria with a wreath of banksia leaves in her hair, a knotted braid curving under her ear terminating into a bun at the nape of her neck.

REVERSE
The reverse was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon and features the word ‘AUSTRALIA’ at centre, a crown above and a laurel wreath tied with a bow above the words ‘ONE SOVEREIGN’.

PROVENANCE
This coin made its first and only public appearance at an Australian auction in July 1985.

Coinworks sold this Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign by private treaty to a Sydney collector in 1999.

 

In 1851, New South Wales petitioned for a branch mint of the Royal Mint London. Royal consent was finally given in August 1853 to establish a mint in Sydney. Captain Edward Wolstenholme Ward, a sergeant, three corporals and twelve privates of the Royal Engineers were deposited on Circular Quay with the bales and boxes of Sydney's new mint, many months later. Ward and his men brought with them, along with the bits of machinery and prefabricated building, the dies of the first Sydney Mint Sovereigns, patterns of which had been struck at the Royal Mint in 1853. The mint was set up in a building of Sydney’s Rum Hospital receiving its first gold bullion on May 14, 1855 and striking its first sovereign on June 23, a bit over a month later. The Sydney Mint continued striking sovereigns for over seventy-one years.

 

Proof-1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-Obv-SQ-July-2020

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign  - obverse.

Proof-1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-Rev-SQ-July-2020

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign  - reverse.

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CONTACT

PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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