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49720-1813-Dump-Fine-Date-Side-May-2022
49720-1813-Dump-Fine-Non-Date-Side-May-2022
COIN
1813 Colonial Dump Type A/1
PRICE
$7500
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
About Fine
PROVENANCE
Downies, Private Collection Canberra
COMMENTS
Every coin has a story to tell. Whose hands it has passed through. Where it has been. What commodities did it buy. This 1813 Dump could fill a book! It is a much used – and much loved – example of the nation’s first coin, the 1813 Dump. What is remarkable about this Dump is that, despite its obvious usage, it has not sustained any damage. Circulation has treated it very kindly. The fields are smooth and reflective, the coin has toned to a very handsome light-grey. It is just a really, really pleasant example of the nation’s very first coin and perhaps a great one to put away for children or grandchildren.
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49720-1813-Dump-Fine-Non-Date-Side-May-2022
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49720-1813-Dump-Fine-Date-Side-TECH-May-2022

A classically well centred crown with the date and the legend 'New South Wales' legible. We note complete edge milling. 

49720-1813-Dump-Fine-Non-Date-Side-TECH-May-2022

The 'Fifteen Pence' on the reverse also is legible.


The Dump (and the Holey Dollar) are the nation’s first coins, minted in 1813 by order of Governor Lachlan Macquarie to provide a medium of exchange in the penal colony of New South Wales.

The coins are national treasures and are revered and sought after by collectors the world over.

As Macquarie had no access to metal coin blanks to create his currency, he improvised and acquired 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars as a substitute for blanks. To make his new coinage unique to the colony he employed emancipated convict William Henshall to cut a hole in each silver dollar, thereby creating two coins out of one.

The holed dollar was over-stamped around the edge of the hole with the date 1813, the value Five Shillings and the issuing authority of New South Wales. It became the illustrious Holey Dollar.

The silver disc that fell out of the hole was not wasted. It was over-stamped with the date 1813, the issuing authority of New South Wales and the value fifteen pence and became the equally illustrious Dump.

While the original intention was to create 40,000 Holey Dollars and 40,000 Dumps from 40,000 silver dollars, spoilage and the despatch of samples back to Great Britain saw a slightly reduced number of Holey Dollars and Dumps - 39,910 of each - released into circulation.

Today there are approximately 800 Dumps available to collectors with perhaps 200 held in museums.

The best thing about the Dump is that each and every coin is different. No two coins are the same.

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48296-1886-Sovereign-MOOD-OBV-April-2022
48296-1886-Sovereign-MOOD-REV-April-2022
COIN
1886 Young Head Shield Sovereign Melbourne Mint, the key coin of the Queen Victoria Young Head Sovereign Series.
PRICE
$65,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Uncirculated with proof-like fields
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor Collection
COMMENTS
The shield design appeared on Australia's Sovereigns between 1871 and 1887 inclusive and featured Queen Victoria's Young Head portrait on the obverse. The series boasts three extremely rare dates, all struck at the Melbourne Mint - '1880', '1886' and '1887'. Of those, the year '1886' is the jewel of the series, a world-class rarity and definitely the one to own. Our offer of this coin is made even more remarkable because the highest quality ranking available to collectors of the Melbourne Mint's 1886 Shield Sovereign is Uncirculated. The strike is virtually faultless even to the kiss-curl in front of the ear. Simply miraculous!! Also verging on the miraculous, the coin's state of preservation. This sovereign must have been plucked off the production line soon after it was minted and has been well looked after in the interim. The fields are proof-like. The technical shots shown below confirm the fabulous strike.
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48296-1886-Sovereign-MOOD-REV-April-2022
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48296-1886-Sovereign-TECH-OBV-April-2022

1886 Young Head Shield Sovereign Obverse by William Wyon.
Notice the kiss-curl in front of the ear!

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1886 Young Head Shield Sovereign Reverse by Jean Baptiste Merlen. Beautifully struck and proof-like fields.


History confirms the extreme rarity of the Melbourne Mint's 1886 Young Head Shield Sovereign (1886M).

Noble Numismatics is Australia’s largest Auction House holding three auctions annually each comprised of about 3000 lots.

Their auctions provide a plethora of invaluable information on prices realised and importantly, the frequency of sightings ... how often a coin can realistically be expected to appear on the market.

We note that:

  • Only one Uncirculated 1886M Young Head Shield Sovereign has been offered at Nobles in the last eleven years! The coin sold in July 2011 for $38,000. The pre-auction estimate was $35,000. Notice the price and the infrequency!
  • Confirming the rarity of the coin across all quality levels, on average just one 1886M Young Head Shield Sovereign is offered at Nobles annually. And the quality generally ranges from Good Very Fine to Extremely Fine, so circulated. Again we comment on the frequency and the grade.

Three famous Australian gold sovereign collections have been auctioned over the past fifty years and each contained an 1886M Shield Sovereign. The quality is noted as follows:

  • The revered Ross and Carol Pratley Collection sold by Spink Auctions (Australia) in March 1989 held an example in About Uncirculated.
  • The famous Sharpes Pixley Collection auctioned by Spink Auctions (Australia) in November 1989 held an example in Extremely Fine.
  • The inimitable Quartermaster collection, put together by Barrie Winsor for collector Tom Hadley and auctioned in 2009 held an example, also in About Uncirculated.
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49775-Proof-1931-Penny-REV-May-2022
49775-Proof-1931-Penny-OBV-May-2022
COIN
Proof 1931 Penny struuck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint
PRICE
$75,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
A superb brilliant FDC
PROVENANCE
Australian Coin Auctions 28 February 2002, Lot 1689
COMMENTS
A provenance says a lot about a coin. And in the case of this Proof 1931 Penny, it speaks volumes. The auction conducted by Australian Coin Auctions In February 2002 was a water-shed moment for the numismatic industry offering proofs that had never been seen before. And which collectively became known as “super-proofs” because of their exceptional state. The quality was unprecedented. We had never seen anything like it before and twenty years down the track we still haven’t seen anything like it. The vendor indicated that he had bought the collection in the 1950s from renowned collector Roy Farman, who in turn was a close friend of Albert Le Souef, the Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint. We attended the auction and the competition for acquisition was amazing, the coins selling for prices that were way over their estimate. This Proof 1931 Penny is a brilliant FDC, a stunning coin. The year '1931' also is one of the scarce dates of the penny series. The combination of quality and rare date saw the coin sell for $26,000, thirty-six per cent over its then catalogue price.
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49775-Proof-1931-Penny-OBV-May-2022
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Aussies just love their pennies. And within the penny series, the collector preference is for those coins that were struck in limited mintages, that are therefore rare in today's market.

Coins such as the illustrious 1930 Penny, the 1925 Penny and the 1931 Penny: rare dates that were struck in mintages of 1500, 117,000 and 494,000 respectively. (To put these numbers into perspective, 9.8 million pennies were struck in 1936.)

A rare date status has a huge impact on the desirability - and the value - of a proof striking. One only has to look at the $1.5 million dollar price tag on the Proof 1930 Penny to see how it effects values.

The exceptional quality.

The industry contends that the exceptional quality of the 1931 Proof Penny, and the other proofs offered at the auction, was a consequence of Farman’s close relationship with Albert Le Souef. 

Le Souef was, like Farman, a passionate collector, the former occupying a position of influence in the Melbourne Mint that would eventually see him become Deputy Mint Master between 1921 and 1926.

In this era there was nothing untoward, or unethical, with ensuring that a collector friend received the very best proof collector striking. It was a simple matter of selecting the smoothest copper blanks. And polishing the dies to ensure a crisp and highly detailed striking.

A brilliant state of preservation.

This coin has had only three owners over the last one hundred years. That’s as rare as the coin itself. Its state of preservation reflects the minimal number of owners and the care that has been lavished on it along the way.

The Proof 1931 Penny is a Coin of Record.

Australian Pre-decimal Coins that were struck as proofs - but not destined for collectors - are technically referred to as Coins of Record. The term, COIN OF RECORD, is to a large extent self-explanatory. It is a coin that has been minted to put on record a date. Or to record a design.

What is not self-explanatory is that Coins of Record were always struck to PROOF quality as presentation pieces. And were struck in the most minute numbers satisfying the requirements of the mint rather than the wants of collectors. Forget the notion of striking ten thousand proofs as collectors are accustomed to today. Let's talk about striking a total of ten coins ... or maybe less!

For today’s collectors the Coins of Record offer a wonderful link to the past and are extremely rare, two reasons that make them so popular.

There was no commercial angle in the production of Coins of Record. The mints were not out to make money from the exercise. Quite the reverse, striking a proof coin in our pre-decimal era was a very labour intensive (and hence costly) exercise that would have dented the mints annual budget quite considerably. The prime reason why so few coins were struck.

In the striking of a proof coin, the mint’s intention was to create a single masterpiece, coining perfection. Perfection in the dies. Wire brushed so that they are razor sharp. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a ‘picture frame does to a canvass’.

A proof is an artistic interpretation of a coin that was intended for circulation. A proof coin is meant to be impactful, have the ‘wow’ factor and exhibit qualities that are clearly visible to the naked eye. A proof coin was never intended to be used in every-day use, tucked away in a purse. Or popped into a pocket.

So, what happened to these Coins of Record? Where did they go? And if they were struck by the mints for their own use, how did they get into collector's hands?

49775-Proof-1931-Penny-REV-TECH-May-2022

This Proof 1931 Penny is ascribed a technical grading of Brilliant FDC. Take the coin through the light and the degree of brilliance is breathtaking. The upper and lower scrolls are crisp and well defined. As is the inner beading and the edge denticles.

49775-Proof-1931-Penny-OBV-TECH-May-2022

The superb obverse of the Proof 1931 Penny.

In the main, Coins of Record ended up in the mint’s own archives, preserving its history for future generations. Any coins that were surplus to requirements may also have been sent to a museum or public institution.

Coins of Record were also put on display at public Exhibitions. The two known examples of the Proof 1866 Sovereign and Proof 1866 Half Sovereign were especially struck to exhibit as ‘products of New South Wales’ as part of the Colonial Mints display at the International Colonial Exhibition of 1866 and the International Exposition in Paris, 1867. They were discovered in London in the early 1970s.

It is noted that many of the overseas mints have over time sold off Coins of Record that they considered excess to their requirements allowing them to come into collector's hands. The Royal Mint South Africa sold off several Australian gold proofs in the 1990s

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11668-1797-Dominica-Holey-Dollar-and-Dump-Date-May-2022
11668-1797-Dominica-Holey-Dollar-and-Dump-Non-Date-May-2022
COIN
1798 Holey Dollar struck from a 1797 Mexico Mint Spanish Silver Dollar And 1798 Dump. Both issued by the British Colony of Dominica.
PRICE
$23,500
STATUS
Sold May 2022
QUALITY
Holey Dollar - Good Very Fine. Dump - Nearly Extremely Fine.
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor Collection
COMMENTS
The Spanish Silver Dollar was the coin that ruled the world. Fabled as pirate plunder, it was the famous ‘piece of eight’ of the Spanish empire and it was the coin that was used – and abused – by nations across the globe. In 1813, Governor Lachlan Macquarie holed and counter stamped the Spanish Silver Dollar to create Australia’s first coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. And while Macquarie is lauded for his stroke of genius, the reality was the practice of cutting a hole in silver dollars and adapting them as local currency, had been done before, as early as 1760, by the British Colony of Dominica in the Caribbean. This extremely rare 1798 Dominica Holey Dollar was created from a 1797 Mexico Mint Silver Dollar that was pierced with a hole etched by 15 notches. The Dump, also issued in 1798, was the centre plug that fell out of the hole during the striking of the Holey Dollar and features 15 notches, a well-defined script ’D’ and a small star within the ‘D’. Both the Holey Dollar and the Dump show minimal circulation and are extremely well preserved. Moreover the pair is affordable.
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11668-1797-Dominica-Holey-Dollar-and-Dump-Non-Date-May-2022
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The Spanish Silver Dollar. The coin that ruled the world.

Beginning with Columbus in 1492 and continuing for nearly 350 years, Spain conquered and settled most of South America, the Caribbean, and the south west of America.

It was however, the silver rich continent of South America that became Spain’s treasure trove, bank rolling its ascendancy as a world power.

In 1536, Spain established its first colonial mint in Mexico. It was by far the most lucrative of the Spanish mints, coining more than 2 billion dollars’ worth of silver pieces over a 300 year period (1536 – 1821). The Lima and Potosi Mint came on board in 1568 and 1573 respectively.

Not only were the Spanish mint’s prolific but the monarchy in 1537 introduced exacting standards of weight and purity into its coinage. (A diameter of 39mm and a weight of 27.70 grams of pure silver.)

That clever move resulted in worldwide dominance of the Spanish Silver Dollar and its ultimate acceptance as an international currency and medium of exchange.

History of Dominica

Dominica is a Caribbean Island. First sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493, later colonized by the French in the 17th century and a British colony one century later.

Between 1642 and 1650, French missionary Raymond Breton became the first regular European visitor to the island.

In 1660, the French and English agreed that Dominica and St. Vincent should not be settled, but left to the Caribs as neutral territory. But its natural resources attracted expeditions of English and French foresters, who began harvesting timber.

In 1690, the French established their first permanent settlements. French woodcutters from Martinique and Guadeloupe began to set up timber camps to supply the French islands with wood and gradually become permanent settlers.

In 1727, the first French commander, M. Le Grand, took charge of the island with a basic French government; Dominique formally became a colony of France, and the island was divided into districts or "quarters".

Already installed in Martinique and Guadeloupe and cultivating sugarcane, the French gradually developed plantations in Dominica for coffee. They imported so many African slaves to fill the labour demands that the population became predominantly African in ethnicity.

In 1761, during the Seven Years' War in Europe, a British expedition against Dominica led by Andrew Rollo conquered the island along with several other Caribbean islands. In 1763, France ceded the island to Great Britain under the Treaty of Paris.

The same year, the British established a legislative assembly, representing only European colonists. French remained the official language, but Antillean Creole was spoken by most of the population. In 1778 the French, with the active co-operation of the population, began the Invasion of Dominica, which was ended by the 1783 Treaty of Paris. French invasions in 1795 and 1805 ended in failure. 


49559-1916-Specimen-Set-REV-Mood-May-2022
COIN
1916 Presentation Set in original case of issue.
PRICE
$95,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Specimen quality, the coins perfectly matched with stunning cobalt-blue, steel-grey, purple and gold colours
PROVENANCE
Monetarium Auction Singapore Number 1, 18 April 2008 Lot 54
COMMENTS
This is a 1916 Presentation Set in its original case of issue. And it was snapped up at Monetarium Singapore's very first auction in April 2008. Monetarium - Singapore's leading coin dealer - was determined to succeed when they launched their very first auction in 2008 and sought consignments of top rarities from across the globe to cater for their international clientele. This 1916 Presentation Set graced the front cover of their Catalogue. The company was aware that a 1916 Presentation Set, in an original case of issue, would always command buyer attention. And they certainly got it! It is a classic piece of Australiana, as distinctive as it is rare. Especially created at the Melbourne Mint in 1916 to commemorate the mint’s inaugural striking of Australia’s Commonwealth coins, the set is comprised of the florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence struck to superb specimen quality. Only seven cased presentation sets have been observed at auction over the last half-century including this set. Described by Monetarium as "absolutely spectacular with stunning cobalt-blue, steel grey, purple and gold toning", the technical shots affirm the glorious state of the coins. The importance of the original case cannot be overstated. Please note, the Monetarium Singapore Catalogue, attesting to its provenance, will be provided.
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Early in November 1915 the Melbourne Mint was formally instructed to commence preparations for the striking of the Commonwealth's silver coinage. The silver was sourced locally from the Broken Hill mines. (Prior to 1915, the nation's silver coinage had been minted overseas at the Royal Mint London and the Heaton Mint in Birmingham.)

Towards the end of November 1915, dies for the set of four denominations were sent from London.

Six weeks after the dies were shipped, the Governor of Victoria Sir Arthur Stanley K.C.M.G, struck the first circulating 1916 shilling. It was logical that the Melbourne Mint would begin striking silver coinage with the shilling denomination given its similar physical size to their familiar sovereign.

The florin was struck almost immediately after, sixpences by the middle of 1916 with the threepences finally in December. More than 11.5 million silver coins were released into circulation that year.

The Melbourne Mint's inaugural striking of Australia's Commonwealth coins was a momentous occasion in minting circles. The Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint, Albert Le Souef, therefore decided to create a Presentation Set. (A Presentation Set records an important moment or event in a nation's history by way of its coinage.)

Each presentation set was comprised of the four silver coins of florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence struck to specimen quality and featured the Melbourne mint mark ‘M’ below the date 1916.

The four coins were housed in a handsome, velvet-lined royal blue case that had been locally sourced.

The availability of the four-coin specimen presentation set was confirmed in November 1916 when Le Souëf recorded an entry of sixty specimen sets in the Mint Museums’ cash accounts with a face value of £11 5/-.

While records show that 60 sets were produced, sixteen were sold, collectors charged 6/- for a cased set. A further 25 sets out of the original mintage were presented to dignitaries and politicians with the precise fate of the remaining sets unknown.

What we do know is that many of the cases have been lost and many of the sets have been broken up and sold as individual coins. We also know that others were accidentally used as circulating coins, their value irreparably reduced through wear.

Over the past 50 years we have sighted only seven sets housed in their original case of issue. The case is a stamp of authority indicating that the coins are presented today as they were originally intended more than a century ago.

49559-1916-Specimen-Set-REV-TECHS-May-2022


Beautifully matched specimen set of florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence, the toning absolutely spectacular with stunning cobalt-blue, steel grey, purple and gold colours.

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49559-1916-Florin-Specimen-Rev-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Florin Reverse
Beautifully struck, with superb detail in all design elements. Smooth surfaces and highly reflective with stunning colours on both obverse and reverse.

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1916 Specimen Florin Obverse
Beautifully struck, with superb detail in all design elements, the coin exhibits the classic striations associated with this controlled specimen striking.

49559-1916-Shilling-Specimen-Rev-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Shilling Reverse
Highly reflective, superbly struck and beautifully toned. The reverse reveals multiple striations (raised parallel lines) across the fields; with those between the scroll and date and behind the emu strongly evident.

49559-1916-Shilling-Specimen-Obv-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Shilling Obverse
Highly reflective, superbly struck and beautiful antique toning. Precise edge denticles and high rim.

49559-1916-Sixpence-Specimen-Rev-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Sixpence Reverse
The Specimen Sixpence is proof-like with beautifully mirrored fields. Very well struck, the denticles on the reverse rim are unusually strong.

49559-1916-Sixpence-Specimen-Obv-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Sixpence Obverse
Beautifully mirrored fields also on the obverse with microscopic striations confirming careful preparation of the dies.

49559-1916-Threepence-Specimen-Rev-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Threepence Reverse
A full brilliant mirror finish with handsome blue and pink toning. The coin is extremely well struck, noticeable in the strength of strike in the star, shield and scroll.

49559-1916-Threepence-Specimen-Obv-TECH-May-2022

1916 Specimen Threepence Obverse
A brilliant strike with blue and pink toning. Strong striations confirm careful preparation of the dies at the Melbourne Mint.


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
PRICE
$175,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
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 in the READ MORE section.
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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 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.

 

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1919-Square-Penny-kooka-side-August-2020
1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
COIN
The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny, extremely rare and featuring the unique type 3 design
PRICE
$35,000
STATUS
Sold May 2022
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with impeccable mirror surfaces
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
COMMENTS
There has never been a better time to buy a Kookaburra Square Penny. The coin is a 'blue-chip' coin rarity. Yet in 2022, prices are a little subdued. This Choice Uncirculated 1919 Kookaburra Penny is offered at $35,000. The price is indicative of a market that has simply forgotten just how extremely rare and important the coin is. We are not phased. It's a pattern that we have seen before amongst Australia's top coin rarities, including the iconic 1930 Penny. Yes, even Australia's favourite copper coin, the 1930 Penny, went through a quiet phase in the lead up to 2022. And it's now taken off and prices have accelerated! Shares, property and rare coins ... subdued prices present great buying opportunities. And at $35,000, this Kookaburra Square Penny is one such opportunity. It’s rare, the quality is fabulous and it’s a definite one-off. The technical shots below re-affirm its superb state.
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1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
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42532-1919-Kookaburra-Square-Penny-T3-REV-TECH-May-2022

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 and enhanced by soft antique toning. The edges are solid.

This Square Penny was struck in the first year of testing at the Melbourne Mint - 1919 - and features a sleek kookaburra with the value 'ONE PENNY' in a modern style.

The design is unique. No other Square Penny has this bird or style of lettering.

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.

42532-1919-Kookaburra-Square-Penny-T3-OBV-TECH-May-2022

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.

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.

The technical shots shown above confirm its glorious state.


The history of the Kookaburra Square Penny.

Australia entered a modern age post World War I and for many Australians, it was a time for breaking out, of questioning and changing old values and behaviour and enjoying the good life.

It was a time of great change. People forgot the ‘old’ and embraced the ‘new’ in an attempt to leave the hardship and struggles of the war behind them. New technology was being created, like toasters and cars, things that today we take for granted. The fashion world was exploding, Australians embracing great change in their styles of dress.

Australians were identifying with their own culture, keen to lessen the emotional and cultural ties with Great Britain.

Creating a new, totally Australian coinage was a part of the deal which is why the Government floated the idea of the Kookaburra Penny envisaging a coin that would be unique to Australia.

The Government's plan was to discard the British-styled penny and halfpenny and to create a coin with a typically Australian design featuring the nation's native bird, the kookaburra.

To maximise impact, a new shape was planned with the move from circular to square. And bronze was to be discarded and a new metal taken up, that of cupro-nickel.

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 began at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and continued for three years with the coins gifted to dignitaries and Government officials to assess their reaction.

Sadly, in 1921, the scheme fell apart. The final decision not to proceed seems to have been based mainly on one consideration – the large number of vending machines then in operation requiring a circular coin.

Today there are approximately 200 kookaburra coins held by private collectors, making it on a par for rarity with the 1813 Holey Dollar, the nation's first silver coin.  And the 1852 Adelaide Pound, the nation's first gold coin.

The best thing for collectors is that the 200 kookaburra pennies do not bear the same design.

The Melbourne Mint tested thirteen different styles introducing enormous interest, personal choice and procurement challenges into the series, for some designs are far rarer than others.

Enquire now

Proof-1949-Half-Penny-Coin-of-Record-REV-43321-October-2021
Proof-1949-Half-Penny-Coin-of-Record-OBV-43321-October-2021
COIN
Proof 1949 Halfpenny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
PRICE
$21,500
STATUS
Available now.
QUALITY
FDC with stunning opaline colours on both obverse and reverse and flashes of original copper brilliance on the reverse
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Tasmania
COMMENTS
Spectacular quality. And extremely rare. Words that are music to a proof coin collector's ears. This Proof 1949 Halfpenny was struck at the Perth Mint in a minuscule mintage of sixteen. As was the custom at the time, the mint gifted the majority of the mintage to museums and overseas mints, retaining only a few for themselves. The very reason for its scarcity for today's collectors. Our own experiences attest to its scarcity. We are keen observers of auctions and we note that a Proof 1949 Halfpenny last came up at a major public auction more than twenty years ago, in November 2001. We also comment that we have sold only one other Proof 1949 Halfpenny during our lifetime of trading. Technical shots are provided and re-affirm this coin's glorious state.
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Proof-1949-Half-Penny-Coin-of-Record-OBV-43321-October-2021
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Proof-1949-Half-Penny-Coin-of-Record-REV-TECH-43321-October-2021

A magnificent interpretation of the flying kangaroo set against a backdrop of brilliant coloured fields. A spectacular proof strike with pristine denticles and highly polished edges. 

The rarity of the Proof 1949 Halfpenny 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 sixteen proof halfpennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1949.

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.

History of the Perth Mint ... 1899 to today


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.

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. Referred to as Coins of Record.

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.

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.

Proof-1949-Half-Penny-Coin-of-Record-OBV-TECH-43321-October-2021

The portrait of George VI designed by Thomas Humphrey Paget. Again we comment on the pristine nature of the denticles and the stunning state of the fields.

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 1949 Halfpenny on the market every five to six years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.

Enquire now

1805-Holey-Dollar-2-Date-April-2020
1805-Holey-Dollar-2-Date-April-2020jpg
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar struck from an 1805 Mexico Mint Spanish Silver Dollar
PRICE
$265,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
About Extremely Fine with counter-stamps Extremely Fine. An impactful coin with lustrous glossy fields.
PROVENANCE
Ray Jewell Collection, Kreisberg-Schulman Auction New York 1966, John Ahbe Collection sold Spink-Stern Auction Melbourne November 1975, Osborne Collection sold Nobles Auction July 1993. Mira Noble Reference 1805/7
COMMENTS
Ray Jewell was a leading light of the Australian rare coin industry and a former owner of this Holey Dollar. And that speaks volumes. An avid collector early on in his career, Jewell's passion became his professional occupation when he began working for Max Stern in Melbourne in the 1960s. What prompted Ray Jewell to add this Holey Dollar to his personal collection? No doubt, the aesthetics of the piece for it is impactful with the monarch’s profile, including the eye and the nose clearly visible, two facets of the design that mint master William Henshall almost always obliterated when he punched out the hole. But Jewell would also have acknowledged its quality, that a Holey Dollar with an ‘About Extremely Fine’ assignation reigns supreme, placing it in the top ten per cent quality-wise. (Technical shots are provided. )
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1805-Holey-Dollar-2-Date-April-2020jpg
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And while we have given considerable attention to Ray Jewell, let's not forget renowned collectors Ahbe and Osborne were also former owners of this piece.

A further affirmation of the magnitude of this Holey Dollar.    

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 circulation.

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.

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.

The pleasure of owning a Holey Dollar is indefinable. The pleasure is heightened when you open one of the leading Holey Dollar reference books, "The Holey Dollars of New South Wales" and see the coin featured and photographed on page 51. A copy of the book will accompany the sale.

1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-Obv-27770-July-2021

This Holey Dollar is impactful, the monarch's eye and nose totally visible, an aspect of the design that was almost always obliterated by mint master William Henshall when he smashed out the hole.

1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-Rev-27770-July-2021

A premium quality 1813 Holey Dollar, the former property of renowned collectors, Jewell, Ahbe and Osborne. 

Enquire now

1813-NSW-D2-Dump-about-EF-Rev-43774-November-2021
1813-NSW-D2-Dump-about-EF-Obv-43774-November-2021
COIN
1813 Dump struck with the rare D/2 dies
PRICE
$85,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Nearly Extremely Fine, supreme quality and exceedingly rare in this grade
PROVENANCE
Strathburn Collection
COMMENTS
The owner of this 1813 Dump is a foremost numismatist with more than fifty years of experience in the industry. As the owner of one of the best Holey Dollars he wanted a comparable Dump. The supreme quality of this piece was especially appealing for at Nearly Extremely Fine, the coin rests in the top five per cent of surviving examples. That the coin was struck using the very rare D/2 dies was a further influence on his purchase decision. As an 'old-time' collector he also valued its eye appeal, relishing the fact that he could hold the coin in his hand and see quite clearly its supreme attributes, not requiring an eye-glass. (The sign of a great coin). We close off with the comment that Coinworks has, over the last three years, sold some magnificent 1813 Dumps all of which have come back from clients that have held them for close to two decades. Some even longer. And that stock has been steadily diminishing. It is an ominous sign from a supply perspective. It may also be a sign that prices are set to rise. We have been commenting for a while about the lack of nice material out in the broader market place, and that includes the 1813 Dump. The message is obviously getting through. At last year's November Noble Numismatic Auction, a well circulated Dump that was five grades lower than this coin (at About Very Fine) sold for nearly $42,000.
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1813-NSW-D2-Dump-about-EF-Obv-43774-November-2021
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The 1813 Dump holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first coin. It is a classic Australian numismatic rarity, as is the 1813 Holey Dollar, the 1852 Adelaide Pound, the Square Penny and the 1930 Penny.

Its status as Australia’s first 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 eight hundred examples are available to collectors, less than fifty of which are in the upper quality levels.

Five reasons why this 1813 Dump became part of the Strathburn Collection. 

1. High quality, in the top five per cent

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 six grades higher at Nearly Extremely Fine. We rate it in the top five per cent of surviving examples.

The minimal wear to this coin is shown in the crown, the fleur de lis complete and the pearls on either side of the crown crisp and dainty. Flip the coin over and the words FIFTEEN PENCE are also highly detailed.

The coin has obviously been cherished for it has been brilliantly preserved with beautiful toning and highly reflective fields.

2. Extraordinary strike for a D/2 Dump

Historians suggest that 25 per cent of surviving Dumps were struck using the D/2 dies. (The most readily available being the A/1 Dumps at 70 per cent.)

They also suggest the D/2 dies were quite possibly the first combination used and their usage discontinued because the dies were too large for the silver disc. An examination of the surviving D/2 Dumps supports this contention for most have a partially struck legend 'NEW SOUTH WALES' with the top of the words non-existent. And a partially struck date '1813', with the bottom half of the numbers non-existent. This coin being an exception.

3. Strong denticles that are not always seen

The denticles around the edge of the coin are evident, which again in a D/2 example is not usual.

4. 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.)

5. And the pièce de résistance ... evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design, an aspect that really counts.

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 obverse, both above and below the crown. We refer to it as the under-type and it is not always present. Its existence re-affirms the origins of the Dump and is highly prized.

 

1813-NSW-A1-Dump-Extremely-Fine-Rev-43774-December-2021

The obverse has smooth and highly reflective fields with stunning grey / blue toning. The legend 'NEW SOUTH WALES' is contained in the coin as is the date '1813'. On both left and right in the crown, the fleur-de-lis are complete, the pearls crisp. A stop is clearly seen after 'NEW' and 'SOUTH' in the legend. The dies apparently had shallow depressions for these stops which soon filled with debris and can be difficult (or almost impossible) to discern on pieces even in reasonable condition.

1813-NSW-A1-Dump-Extremely-Fine-Obv-43774-December-2021

The reverse also is smooth and has highly reflective fields with stunning grey / blue toning.

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46239-Proof-1899-Melbourne-Half-Sovereign-rev-February-2022
46239-Proof-1899-Melbourne-Half-Sovereign-obv-February-2022
COIN
Proof 1899 Half Sovereign struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint
PRICE
$80,000
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Murdoch Collection, A. H. Baldwin, Nobles 2004
COMMENTS
This Proof 1899 Half Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint as a presentation piece. A Coin of Record. 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 Half Sovereign is available now.
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46239-Proof-1899-Melbourne-Half-Sovereign-obv-February-2022
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I would like to invest in Proof Gold. Please advise your current inventory.

A comment on recent price movements. The Sincona Auction held in Zurich, November 2021, was a watershed moment for collectors of Australian proof gold sovereigns and proof gold half sovereigns.

Two veiled head proof sovereigns, 1898 and 1901, sold for an equivalent of $100,000 and $190,000, the latter a rarer Perth Mint striking.

While some collectors shook their heads in disbelief, we were elated that the coins are now commanding the respect - and the prices - that they deserve.

Proof gold is stunning and impactful. The coins have a wonderful history, generally linked to a prominent collector.

And they are excruciatingly rare. In the case of the coins sold at Sincona, we have never sold a Proof 1898 Sovereign. And sold only one Perth Mint Proof 1901 Sovereign in June 2013.

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 Half 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.

I would like to invest in Proof Gold. Please advise your current inventory.

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?

  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 1899 Half Sovereign is a golden opportunity and for just one buyer. Only one other proof half sovereign of this date has appeared over the last century.

 

enquire now

48345-1921-Kookaburra-Square-Penny-T12-Non-Date-side-April-2022
48345-Square-Penny-T12-Date-Side-April-2022
COIN
1921 Kookaburra Square Penny
PRICE
$25,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
COMMENTS
We like the quality of this 1921 Kookaburra Penny. The coin is Uncirculated with very light, handsome antique toning. And we particularly like the price of $25,000. It has been deliberately set to engage interest by a vendor that has held the coin for more than twenty years. The Kookaburra Square Penny is a ‘CLASSIC’ Australian RARE coin. We refer to it as a 'classic' because the coin has everlasting appeal, its striking linked to an important moment in time. It is rare because less than two hundred kookaburra pennies are available to collectors making it on par rarity-wise to the Holey Dollar, also regarded as an Australian 'classic'. And this fabulous 1921 design type 12 Kookaburra Square Penny is available now. The technical photographs shown below re-affirm its superior quality.
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48345-Square-Penny-T12-Date-Side-April-2022
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When the Kookaburra Square Penny was created, Australians were recovering from the war and determined to lessen the ties with Great Britain.

The mood even filtered through to our coinage!

The Government planned to introduce a square penny with our native bird on the reverse. And the monarch minus his crown on the obverse!

Provocative and contentious but uniquely Australian.

Australia entered a modern age post World War I. For many Australians, it was a time for breaking out socially, of questioning and changing old values and behaviour and enjoying the good life.

It was a time of great change. People forgot the old and embraced the new in an attempt to leave the hardship and struggles of the war behind them.

New technology was being created, like toasters and cars, things that today we take for granted. The fashion world was exploding, great changes were embraced in styles of dress. Australians were identifying with their own culture, keen to lessen the emotional and cultural ties with Great Britain.

Creating a new, totally Australian coinage was a part of the deal which is why the Government floated the idea of the Kookaburra Penny envisaging a coin that would be unique to Australia.

The Government's plan was to discard the British-styled penny and halfpenny and to create a coin with a typically Australian design featuring the nation's native bird, the kookaburra.

To maximise impact, a new shape was planned with the move from circular to square. And bronze was to be discarded and a new metal taken up, that of cupro-nickel.

Tests began at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and continued for three years, ending in 1921.

Today there are approximately 200 kookaburra coins held by private collectors, making it on a par for rarity with the 1813 Holey Dollar, the nation's first silver coin. And the 1852 Adelaide Pound, the nation's first gold coin.

The best thing for collectors is that the 200 kookaburra pennies do not bear the same design. The Melbourne Mint tested thirteen different styles introducing enormous interest, personal choice and procurement challenges into the series, for some designs are far rarer than others.

48345-Square-Penny-T12-TECH-Non-Date-Side-April-2022

The quality of this 1921 Kookaburra Penny is one of the reasons why this coin will come into consideration.  The legend 'Australia' and 'One Penny' is highly detailed. The surfaces are smooth and reflective. The edges are solid. Most Type 12 Kookaburra Pennies don't come like this! The other reason this coin will come into consideration. The price.

48345-Square-Penny-T12-TECH-Date-Side-April-2022

This 1921 Type 12 Kookaburra Penny features an uncrowned portrait of George V.

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48292-1852-Adelaide-Pound-Date-side-MOOD-GEM-UNC-April-2022
48292-1852-Adelaide-Pound-Non-Date-side-MOOD-GEM-UNC-April-2022
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound, an exhibition piece acknowledged industry-wide as the finest example of the nation's first gold coin.
PRICE
$300,000
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
Gem Uncirculated, a virtually faultless strike and brilliant satin fields.
PROVENANCE
Sale by private treaty to Harold Hastings-Deering. Gifted to Dr. W. Smith under instructions from the Will of the late Hastings-Deering. Barrie Winsor sale by Private Treaty to Queensland Collection 1998. Barrie Winsor sale by private treaty to Melbourne Collection 2005. Exhibited ANZ Dollars & Dumps Exhibition Melbourne 2007. Traders & Investors Expo Melbourne 2007. Eminent Colonials Exhibition Melbourne 2012.
COMMENTS
This 1852 Adelaide Pound has attracted the highest quality ranking of Gem Uncirculated and is the only example of the nation’s first coin to be so awarded. It is acknowledged industry-wide as the absolute finest. The strike is virtually faultless. Miraculous. At the same time the strike is confounding, that such precision could be achieved given the production problems that were occurring in Adelaide's Government Assay Office. Also verging on the miraculous, the coin's state of preservation. It must have been plucked off the production line as soon as it was minted and has been given extra-special care ever since.
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48292-1852-Adelaide-Pound-Non-Date-side-MOOD-GEM-UNC-April-2022
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I would like to invest in an 1852 Adelaide pound. Please advise your current inventory.

Could this Adelaide Pound have been Joshua Payne’s prototype for coins struck using the second die?

It cannot be ruled out. With this coin Payne achieved the ultimate, a pristine crown, strength in the legend 'Government Assay Office Adelaide' and compelling edges.

It is minting perfection and has already been earmarked for an Exhibition in Canberra in 2024.

To understand the miraculous state of this Adelaide Pound it is necessary to provide a snapshot of activities at the Assay Office.

History records that disaster struck during the early stages of the minting of the 1852 Adelaide Pound. Die-maker and engraver Joshua Payne later confirmed that staff had struggled to find the correct pressure levels to exert on the dies to execute a strong overall design.

In the early stages of production, pressure was applied to the edges to ensure that the denticles and legend were strong.

The upside to this decision is that your classic Adelaide Pound from the first production run (Type I) has almost perfect edges and beautiful strong denticles, akin to a picture frame.

The downside to this decision was that the reverse die developed a crack in the legend during the striking of the first forty coins. A further downside occurred. With pressure exerted on the edges, the force applied to the central part of the design - the crown - was softened.

So in summary, an Adelaide Pound from the first production run (Type I) will have strong edges but a soft, poorly executed crown.

Relaxing the pressure in the second production run of Adelaide Pounds lengthened the die usage but created its own shortcomings. For once the pressure was reduced on the edges, the perfection that was achieved in the denticles and legend of the first run of Adelaide Pounds was simply not achievable.

Adelaide Pounds from the second production run will have weakness in the edges and weakness in the 'Assay Office' area of the legend. But, the crown design will invariably be well executed with flattened areas simply due to usage.

So in summary, an Adelaide Pound from the second production run (Type II) will have weak edges, weak legend but a strong crown.

The photographs reveal that this Adelaide Pound has it all. Strong denticles, strong legend and perfectly struck crown. To quote Barrie Winsor (2012), "If an Adelaide Pound had been struck to proof quality, then this coin is it."

I would like to invest in an 1852 Adelaide pound. Please advise your current inventory.
48292-1852-Adelaide-Pound-Date-side-TECH-GEM-UNC-April-2022

You would be forgiven for thinking that this Adelaide Pound came from the first production run, the denticles and legend are so strong. The marvel of this coin is that the crown has been brilliantly executed and we point out the well defined pleats in the cloth, the cross on the orb at the top of the crown, the pearls and the ermine in the lower band. This is perfection in coining.

48292-1852-Adelaide-Pound-Non-Date-side-TECH-GEM-UNC-April-2022

Reverse of the 1852 Adelaide Pound featuring a scalloped inner border indicating that this coin was struck in the second production run.

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30305-Header-Proof-1855-Sov-&-Half-Sov-Pair-March-2022
COIN
Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, the only pair held in Australia.
PRICE
$220,000 (Sovereign), $220,000 (Half Sovereign)
STATUS
Now available
QUALITY
Flawless FDC, ultra cameo, glowing with mirrored lustre
PROVENANCE
Detailed individually below
COMMENTS
This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is the only pair available in Australia. Only one other pair is known, held overseas. The coins are an integral part of Australia's coining history. Treasures of the Sydney Mint, they were struck at the Royal Mint London prior to the opening of the Sydney Mint in 1855.Visually stunning with a provenance that can be traced back to 1903, the coins were held as part of the esteemed John G. Murdoch Collection. And these stunning ultra-rare 1855 Cameo Proofs are available now. Copies of the Catalogues attesting to their provenance will be provided.
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A market that is chasing gold proofs ...

Australia has some of the rarest and most beautiful coins you could imagine, particularly in the proof gold sector. The coins, proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns, have always been popular with local collectors, simply because of their inherent rarity.

Local collectors are now under pressure from overseas investors. Over the last two years international buyers have been steadily encroaching into our market, pushing prices. In the latter part of 2021, overseas investors blitzed an auction in Zurich where Australian proof gold was offered paying top dollar to secure our proof gold coin rarities.

Prices for Australian proof sovereign and proof half sovereigns have, as a result, rocketed overseas. And it will have a flow-on effect into the local market.

 

Proof coins are numismatic works of art. They are the story tellers that define a year or an era like no other coin. Proof coins can also denote an occasion. And they tend to have a connection to a prominent person or an influential collector.

The more potent its history and its narrative, the more influential the coin. And we see this quite clearly in the value the market places on these gold proofs.

Even more compelling ... proof coins are extremely rare. The exclusivity exemplified in this pair. Only one other pair is known, held overseas.

This is the only pair held in Australia.


30305-Proof-1855-Sovereign-Rev-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Australia at centre beneath a crown surrounded by a bowed wreath, ONE SOVEREIGN at the bottom as a curved legend.

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign

In terms of minting expertise and design skills, the British mint did all the heavy lifting to ensure that the Sydney Mint would open its doors in 1855. Two years ahead of the colonial opening the Royal Mint London had finalised designs and created the dies.

Minting protocols were followed and a minute number of presentation pieces were struck to proof quality testing the dies. And the designs.

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign was one such presentation piece.

Only three Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns are known ... the surprising point here is that none are held in museums either here or overseas. Every known example is held by a private collector.

30305-Proof-1855-Sovereign-Obv-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Second young head wearing a wreath of banksia leaves and showing the queen's braided hair drawn around and beneath her ear.

 

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign has an illustrious provenance that can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

  • Sold by Sotheby's London, 1903, as part of the famous John G. Murdoch Collection.
  • Sold by Sothebys London, 1922, as part of the equally famous Nobleman (Baron La Renotiere Ferrari) Collection.
  • Max Stern Melbourne, 1969 (where it was offered privately to Barrie Winsor).
  • Sold by Spink Australia July 1985 for $32,000, the coin's first and only appearance at an Australian Auction.
  • Acquired from Barrie Winsor in 2000 and sold by private treaty to a Sydney collector.

30305-Proof-1855-Half-Sovereign-Rev-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof half sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Australia at centre beneath a crown surrounded by a bowed wreath, HALF SOVEREIGN at the bottom as a curved legend.

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign

If you are a collector of Australian gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, then the year 1855 is key. The nation's gold coin history began in that year with the opening of our first mint in Sydney. And the issuing of our first official gold coinage.

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign was struck at the Royal Mint London, in preparation for the issuing of Australia's first official gold currency. The coin was struck with a brilliant mirror finish and features a grained edge.

Only two quality proof specimens are held in private collections, one in Australia (this coin) and the other overseas. A third example is known, a confirmed proof, but the coin has circulated and has a quality grading of Good Fine.

 

30305-Proof-1855-Half-Sovereign-Obv-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof half sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Second young head wearing a wreath of banksia leaves and showing the queen's braided hair drawn around and beneath her ear.


This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign has an illustrious provenance that can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

  • Sold Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in 1903, in the liquidation of the John G. Murdoch Collection.
  • Acquired by foremost U.S. collector Virgil Brand, then to  aviation pioneer Captain Vivian Hewitt and then to New York collector, John L. Ahbe.
  • The first public appearance at an Australian auction was in November 1981.
  • A second public appearance occurred in November 1992 at Spink Auctions.
  • Acquired from Barrie Winsor in 2000 and sold by private treaty to a Sydney collector.
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Coinworks recommends


1930-Penny-VF-Rev-40352-July-2021
1930-Penny-VF-Obv-40352-July-2021
COIN
A 'Diamond' 1930 Penny with a complete central diamond and six plump pearls
PRICE
$45,000
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
Very Fine on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
The Patterson Collection, Private Collection Sydney
COMMENTS
One of the most gratifying aspects of owning a top-quality 1930 Penny is that its design attributes are clearly visible to the naked eye. You do not have to rely on an eye glass to take in its positives. And that's the case with this 1930 Penny. The coin has a complete central diamond and six pearls, strong upper and lower scrolls and well defined inner beading. The surfaces are smooth and highly reflective on both obverse and reverse. That classifies this coin as one of the best, putting it in the top ten per cent. This coin will appeal to the buyer that has always wanted a 1930 Penny and has been looking for a top-grade example. It will also appeal to the investor for high quality 1930 Pennies, such as this coin, are extremely rare. We estimate that we would handle one, or at the very tops two, Very Fine 1930 Pennies annually. Technical shots are provided.
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1930-Penny-VF-Obv-40352-July-2021
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1930-Penny-gvF-Rev-TECH-40352-August-2021

A 1930 Penny that presents well and that you would be proud to show your family and friends with a strong date, crisp upper and lower scrolls, uniform inner beading and handsome chestnut toning.

Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

1. Start off by looking at the coin in the flesh using just the naked eye. A truly great coin will always look good to the unaided eye.

This coin has strong upper and lower scrolls. The obverse and reverse fields are reflective and very smooth with even, handsome brown toning.

Moving the obverse through the light you can clearly see the central diamond and a complete lower band of the crown.

You also observe the strong design details of the monarch's robes.

2. Take up the magnifying glass.

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

This coin has a complete central diamond that leaps out and knocks you in the eye. The oval to the left of the central diamond is intact. With most 1930 Pennies the oval is only partially evident.

3. And lastly, take another look 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.

1930-Penny-gvF-Obv-TECH-40352-August-2021

This 1930 Penny has a complete central diamond and six plump pearls. The lower band of the crown also is complete. To the naked eye, and under a glass, the coin has reflective fields with minimal marks in the fields.

The reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.

One of the prime reasons for the popularity of the 1930 Penny is its financial reliability. It is a solid coin. 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.

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.

It 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.

And with a 100th anniversary less than a decade away, the push to acquire Australia’s favourite Penny is really on.

The chart below clearly shows the scarcity of 1930 Pennies graded Very Fine. We refer you to the grey area.

1930-Penny-relative-quantities-chart-May-2020
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1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-1809-Ferdinand-VII-aEF-OBV-43318-October-2021
1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-1809-Ferdinand-VII-aEF-REV-43318-October-2021
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar created from an 1809 Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar
PRICE
$195,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
About Extremely Fine with Extremely Fine counter-stamps. Highly reflective, glossy surfaces and handsome toning.
PROVENANCE
Dr Mark Long, a foremost collector and numismatic author of the nineteenth century
COMMENTS
This 1813 Holey Dollar has a distinctive edge. While most Holey Dollars were created from Charles IV Spanish Silver Dollars, this coin was minted from a Ferdinand VII Silver Dollar. And that makes it one of the rarest Holey Dollars. As evidenced by the photos, it also is supreme for quality. One hundred and ninety-three Holey Dollars are held today by private collectors. But, of those just THIRTEEN were created from Ferdinand VII Mexico Mint Silver Dollars. This coin is one of the thirteen and the very reason why we say it has a distinctive edge. This Holey Dollar is photographed on page 65 of the Mira Noble book, 'The Holey Dollars of News South Wales', a copy of which will be gifted to the new owner. Technical shots re-affirm the quality of this extremely rare Holey Dollar.
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1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-1809-Ferdinand-VII-aEF-REV-43318-October-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. Ferdinand was definitely NOT the reigning monarch. So, the dollar he was about to deface, had an extreme historical peculiarity and rarity that might have made it worth holding onto.

But Henshall was our first mint master and was committed to the task of creating the nation's first coins. Using crude equipment, he cut a hole in the dollar.

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.

And it is at this point - the over-stamping involving the application of the date, value and issuing authority - that 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.

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 with only thirteen Holey Dollars available to private collectors.

A Holey Dollar that has quality, both in the original dollar and the counter-stamps.

The original 1809 Spanish Silver Dollar from which this Holey Dollar was created is graded in the premium quality levels of About 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.

Whoever was mint master during the Ferdinand VII period certainly had his eye off the ball, for many of the Ferdinand Holey Dollars show a weakness in the striking of the original Spanish Dollar. And the weaknesses are noted in even the best examples. It is important to note that a weakness in the strike is different from wear and tear. It just reflects the skills of the minting staff!

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 thirteen surviving privately owned Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars.

The chart below 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
Holey-dollar-chart-March-2020
1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VII-1809-Mexico-Mint-Silver-Dollar-Rev-TECH-42724-October-2021

The original Spanish Silver Dollar features the legend and portrait of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. The counter-stamps are comprised of 'FIVE SHILLINGS', a double twig of leaves with an 'H' for Henshall at the junction and a fleur de lis. They are all crisp and clear and are graded Extremely Fine.  

1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VII-1809-Mexico-Mint-Silver-Dollar-Obv-TECH-42724-October-2021

The 'M' with a circle above it in the legend identifies the dollar as being issued from the Mexico Mint. The counter-stamps New South Wales, 1813 and Five Shillings are graded Extremely Fine.

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.


1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Rev-July-2019
1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Obv-July-2019
COIN
Classic 1930 Penny, with a partial central diamond and six plump pearls
PRICE
$32,500
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
Good Fine / Very Fine, and one of the most impressive 1930 Pennies we have sold with perfect edges and minimal marks in the field, it is a coin that defies the odds.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
COMMENTS
Perfect edges and minimal marks in the fields. That's enough to make a 1930 Penny buyer pounce! This 1930 Penny has been part of the Coinworks stable of rarities for as long as we can recall. Formerly owned by a member of famous 60's Australian rock band, ‘The Groop’, we remember this coin as much for its ties to its legendary owner as to its fabulous quality. It’s one of the nicest 1930 Pennies we have sold. Acquire this 1930 Penny and you will be eager to show it to your family and friends. Even better, it’s such an impressive coin, you know you will get positive feedback. (And perhaps even a touch of envy.) You certainly won’t have to make excuses for the gouges or the rough and ready marks that are evident in most 1930 Pennies. Selecting a good-looking coin is our firm rule for buying 1930 Pennies, irrespective of the quality level. It's a principle that really counts when it comes time for you to realise on your investment and sell. The obverse of this 1930 Penny is graded Good Fine and has a partial central diamond and six plump pearls. The reverse is graded Very Fine and is particularly impressive with strong upper and lower scrolls, prominent ‘1930’ date and intact inner beading.
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1930-Penny-Good-Fine-about-Very-Fine-Obv-July-2019
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46065-1930-Penny-about-VF-Rev-TECH-February-2021

The reverse of this 1930 Penny is very impressive. Strong upper and lower scrolls, well defined inner beading and fabulous edges. The toning is a handsome chocolate brown. And there is minimal marks in the fields.

I would like to invest in a 1930 Penny. Please advise your current inventory.

Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

1. Start off by looking at the coin in the flesh using just the naked eye. A truly great coin will always look good to the unaided eye.

This coin has strong upper and lower scrolls. a prominent date and intact inner beading.

What is particularly noticeable is the state of the fields. They are highly reflective and smooth, quite exceptional for a coin that has circulated. The toning is an even, handsome chocolate brown.

Moving the obverse through the light, the design details of the monarch, his crown and robes are clear.

2. Take up the magnifying glass.

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

This coin has a partial central diamond. And the left hand side of the oval, left of the diamond, is still visible. 

3. And lastly, take another look 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.

I would like to invest in a 1930 Penny. Please advise your current inventory.
46065-1930-Penny-about-VF-Obv-TECH-February-2021

The obverse of this 1930 Penny is equally impressive. There are minimal marks in the fields. They are smooth and reflective. This is a 1930 Penny that you will be proud to show your family and friends.

The reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.

One of the prime reasons for the popularity of the 1930 Penny is its financial reliability. It is a solid coin. 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.

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. It 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.

And with a 100th anniversary less than a decade away, the push to acquire Australia’s favourite Penny is really on.

 

Enquire now

48290-1813-Dump-EF-Date-Side-MOOD-April-2022
48290-1813-Dump-EF-Non-Date-Side-MOOD-April-2022
COIN
1813 Dump struck with the A/1 dies
PRICE
$45,000
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Perth
COMMENTS
We like the superior quality of this 1813 Dump and the technical aspects that it presents. And we particularly like the price. At $45,000 you are acquiring a Dump that is in the top ten percent for quality. The fields are highly reflective and the design is sharp and strongly three-dimensional. Technically, it has 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. And the elusive ‘dot’ above the ‘3’ in 1813 that author Greg McDonald indicates is rarely ever seen. This is a fabulous example of the nation's first coin. And is available now.
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48290-1813-Dump-EF-Non-Date-Side-MOOD-April-2022
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I would like to invest in an 1813 dump. Please advise your current inventory.

The Holey Dollar and Dump are the nation's very first coins, both pieces cut from a Spanish Silver Dollar. The man charged with the responsibility of creating our coinage was William Henshall, a convicted forger.

Henshall began the coining process by punching a hole into a Spanish Silver Dollar. The central disc that fell out of the hole was over stamped with a value of fifteen pence, the date 1813, a crown and the issuing authority of New South Wales. And was known as the Dump.

There are many aspects to this Dump that make it a 'must' to consider.

1. High quality, in the top ten per cent

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 Fine to Good Fine, with this coin four grades higher at About Extremely Fine. We rank it in the top ten per cent of surviving examples. The coin has obviously been cherished for it has been brilliantly preserved with beautiful toning and highly reflective fields.

2. A coin to enjoy and show around

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.

3. 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 whenever it is appears. This Dump clearly shows the ‘H’ for Henshall between the 'FIFTEEN' and the 'PENCE' on the reverse.

4. 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.)

5. And the pièce de résistance ... evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design, an aspect that really counts

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 below the word 'PENCE'.

We refer to it as the under-type and it is not always present. Its existence re-affirms the origins of the Dump and is highly prized.

I would like to invest in an 1813 dump. Please advise your current inventory.
1813-NSW-A1-Dump-Very-Fine-Rev-43773-December-2021

This is a classic Type A/1 Dump with the crown beautifully centred. At About Extremely Fine, the fleur de lis and pearls in the crown are crisp and have not melded into the coin. The legend and date '1813' are strongly three-dimensional. And note the 'dot' above the '3' in the date. This is very rarely seen.

1813-NSW-A1-Dump-Very-Fine-Obv-43773-December-2021

Two extremely important elements are shown on the reverse of this Dump, elements that are not always present in every example. The 'H' for Henshall between the words 'FIFTEEN' and 'PENCE' is three-dimensional. And there is design detail from the original Spanish Dollar from which it was created.

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1823-Macintosh-&-Degraves-Shilling-near-Unc-Rev-42925-October-2021
1823-Macintosh-&-Degraves-Shilling-near-Unc-Obv-42925-October-2021
COIN
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Tasmania Silver Shilling
PRICE
$30,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Nearly Uncirculated, a brilliant strike, brown / grey toning with underlying proof-like brilliance and one of the finest known.
PROVENANCE
Spink & Son London sold to Guy Newton-Brown by private treaty 1968. Nobles Auction July 1998 in the liquidation of Newton-Brown's Collection, selling for $12,100 on a pre-sale estimate of $12,000. Nobles Auction 2005, selling for $30,000 on a pre-sale estimate of $25,000
COMMENTS
Hugh McIntosh and Peter Degraves sailed from England to Hobart Town in 1824 to build a saw-mill. A few years ahead of their departure they financed the striking of Tasmania’s first one shilling emblazoned with a kangaroo and the name 'Tasmania'. It was the earliest depiction of a kangaroo on an item of decorative art available for private ownership. And the first item of decorative art to feature the name Tasmania, rather than Van Diemen's Land. According to Australian author Greg Jeffreys these two gentlemen ultimately changed the course of Australia's history for by 1834 they had built two mills, founded the Cascade Brewery that today is Australia's oldest continually operating brewery. Spearheaded the establishment of Australia's oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal in central Hobart. And facilitated the writing of Australia's first novel by convicted forger and author, Henry Savery. This Macintosh & Degraves Shilling brings history to life with a direct link to two men who were "movers and shakers" in Tasmania’s colonial economy.
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1823-Macintosh-&-Degraves-Shilling-near-Unc-Obv-42925-October-2021
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The industry acknowledges that there are perhaps thirty known examples of the Macintosh & Degraves Shilling. A minuscule number in anyone's language.

Of those, only two pieces are rated highly at About Uncirculated, with none higher. The two pieces are this shilling, formerly owned by barrister Guy Newton-Brown and that of the late Sir Marcus Clark.

An early written reference to the Macintosh & Degraves Shilling occurred in the 1864 Numismatic Chronicle by the President of the Royal Numismatic Society, William Sandys Wright Vaux.

He commented that the London National Collection had acquired a Macintosh and Degraves Shilling in 1848.

 

1823 Macintosh & Degraves documents

Formerly owned by Melbourne barrister Guy Newton-Brown this Macintosh & Degraves Shilling is sold with historical papers including an invoice from Spink & Son London, dated 18 November 1968.

Major Hugh Macintosh
An ex-officer of the British East India Company, a veteran and a hero of some of India's bloodiest battles. After India, Macintosh went to Persia as a military advisor to the Shah and became a close friend and advisor to the Persian Crown Prince. He was a highly cultured man, a painter and violinist and fluent in five languages.

Macintosh emigrated from England in 1824 on his ship 'Hope'. After purchase of the ship, plants and material required to start a new life, it was documented that Macintosh still had disposable capital of £5000. (The more cash, the more land grant entitlements private citizens could expect.)

Hugh Macintosh was also in a relationship with Mary Reibey, an emancipated convict who by 1820 had become Australia's richest businesswoman. The plan for a private issuing of a silver shilling was said to have hatched from discussions with Reibey when she returned to England in 1821.  

Peter Degraves
Degraves emigrated from England with his brother-in-law Hugh Macintosh. He was a brilliant engineer, inventor, architect and an innovative businessman. He was also a thief, a bully, a conman and a prolific liar and by 1850 one of Australia's richest, yet most ruthless men.

The Macintosh and Degraves partnership
The Cascade estate was originally a saw milling operation run by a partnership called Macintosh and Degraves Sawmills. The mills began operating in 1825 and the brewery was founded in 1832 by Hugh Macintosh while Peter Degraves was in Hobart prison serving a five year sentence for non-payment of debts accrued in England.

After his release in 1832, Degraves took over running and expanding the brewery. After the death of Macintosh in 1834, Degraves began falsifying the history of the Cascade Brewery, fabricating it for his own prosperity making sure that Macintosh was viewed as having played a minor role.

Research by Australian historian Greg Jeffreys showed that the major partner in the Cascade Mills and Brewery had actually been Macintosh.

The Macintosh and Degraves Shilling is one part of history that could not be altered with Macintosh's name before Degraves, acknowledging him as the main shareholder. This Shilling represents an historical truth that without Hugh Macintosh, the existence and success of the Cascade Saw Mill and Brewery would never have materialised.

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1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-CharlesIII-1777-EF-OBV-43320-October-2021
1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-CharlesIII-1777-EF-REV-43320-October-2021
COIN
A Holey Dollar defined by a rare monarch, remarkable quality, an early date and outstanding credentials. This 1813 Holey Dollar was created from a Charles III Spanish Silver Dollar that was issued at the Mexico Mint in 1777
PRICE
$525,000.
STATUS
Sold April 2022
QUALITY
Original silver dollar: Extremely Fine, the surfaces highly reflective and attractively toned. Counter-stamps: About Uncirculated with original silver lustre, the 'H' for Henshall at the intersection of the two twigs is well formed.
PROVENANCE
First publicly offered Jacques Schulman Auction Amsterdam, 30 March 1914. Second public offering Künker Auction Berlin, 4 February 2016. Illustrated in Burgio's Diccionario De La Moneda Hispanoamericana, Volume II, page 135 Santiago 1958. Historical papers and catalogues attesting to the coin's provenance will be provided.
COMMENTS
This 1813 Holey Dollar was struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar that was minted in 1777 during the reign of King Charles III of Spain. Now, when it comes to Holey Dollars, Charles III is important. And extremely rare. Of the one hundred and ninety Holey Dollars held by private collectors, only twenty-two were created from silver dollars struck during the reign of Charles III. And this Charles III Holey Dollar is the finest of them all. In fact, we would go one step further and say that its quality state is nothing short of ‘miraculous’. ‘Miraculous’ simply because somehow, the silver dollar escaped the rigours of circulation for thirty-six years from the day it was struck in 1777 until 1813 when it finally came into the hands of the nation’s first mint master, William Henshall, who grabbed it from a barrel. And pounded a hole into it. Its state of preservation is extraordinary and inexplicable and the very reason why at its last auction appearance in Europe, the coin set a new price record. At Extremely Fine this is the finest Charles III Holey Dollar available to collectors. And with the original silver dollar minted in ‘1777’, it is the earliest Charles III Holey Dollar available to collectors.
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1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-CharlesIII-1777-EF-REV-43320-October-2021
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i would like to invest in an 1813 holey dollar. please advise your current inventory.

A Holey Dollar defined by a rare monarch, remarkable quality, an early date and outstanding credentials.

Charles III Holey Dollars are extremely rare.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars to create the nation's first currency. His order was not date specific. Any year would suffice. Quality was irrelevant. And he didn't care where they were minted, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia or Spain. The reigning monarch at the time was also immaterial, King Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VI or Ferdinand VII.

And it is the interplay of these attributes - date, quality, monarch and mint - that define a Holey Dollar and leads us to say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, some are far rarer than others.

Of the one hundred and ninety privately owned Holey Dollars, twenty-two (or twelve per cent) were created from silver dollars that were struck during the reign of Charles III.

By comparison, at least seventy five per cent of the privately owned Holey Dollars were created from silver dollars depicting the legend and portrait of Charles IV.

In a career that is approaching the half-century mark, this is only the fourth Charles III Holey Dollar we have offered.

Furthermore, with a quality grading of Extremely Fine, this is the finest Charles III Holey Dollar available to collectors.

Remarkable quality and an early date.

This Holey Dollar was struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar that was struck at the Mexico Mint in 1777.

If a Holey Dollar had been struck from a bright and shiny brand-new piece of silver, we would accept that some, maybe many, would survive today relatively unscathed.

The Holey Dollar, however, was struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar, a commodity that was far from shiny and brand-new. The coin was heavily traded worldwide with most well-used and worn.

This Holey Dollar is in a miraculous state when you consider that the original silver dollar circulated for thirty-six years before it was imported into the colony of New South Wales by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and plucked out of the barrel by his cohort William Henshall and defaced by cutting a hole in it.

More than three and a half decades. Plenty of opportunities for wear. And plenty of opportunities for defects. None of which are evident. There is only a hint of wear to the high points.

Now, we have handled a Holey Dollar that was struck from a Potosi Mint 1807 Spanish Silver Dollar. Graded at Extremely Fine, it's an exciting coin because Holey Dollars at this quality level are extremely scarce, in the top seven per cent of known surviving examples.

But which coin is the more remarkable? An Extremely Fine Holey Dollar struck from an 1807 Spanish Silver Dollar that circulated six years before William Henshall got his hands on it. Or an Extremely Fine Holey Dollar struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar that was minted in 1777 and circulated thirty-six years before Henshall punched the hole into it. The answer is obvious.

The earlier the date of the Spanish Silver Dollar, the greater the period of circulation before it came into Henshall’s hands. So, the earlier the date, the more remarkable the occurrence of finding a top-quality Holey Dollar.

The conundrum of this Holey Dollar is how the 1777 Spanish Silver Dollar escaped being used. How did it retain its pristine condition during the thirty-six years before it arrived in the colony and was grabbed out of a barrel by William Henshall?

In the eighteenth-century Spain ruled the world and the Spanish Silver Dollar dominated trade. It was an international currency and medium of exchange the world over. The reason why most Holey Dollars are found today well worn.

But this is not just an 'early date'. This coin is the earliest Charles III Holey Dollar available to collectors.

This Holey Dollar comes to the market with an impeccable record.

The coin's first recorded sighting was in 1914 when it was offered at auction by Jacques Schulman, Amsterdam.

Held in the one family for more than a century it was then offered for sale in 2016 by German Auction House, Künker, the coin attracting worldwide interest and ultimately establishing a record auction price of $410,388.

i would like to invest in an 1813 holey dollar. please advise your current inventory.
1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-CharlesIII-1777-EF-OBV-TECH-43320-October-2021

1813 Holey Dollar struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar that was struck at the Mexico Mint in 1777. An impressive piece with glossy surfaces. The counter-stamps are graded About Uncirculated, the 'H' for Henshall at the intersection of the two twigs is well formed. (Not just a smudge as we see in most Holey Dollars.)

1813-Holey-Dollar-created-from-CharlesIII-1777-EF-REV-TECH-43320-October-2021

The coin is glossy and highly impactful. The counter-stamps 'New South Wales' and '1813' have silver lustre and beautiful colours in the lettering.

Holey Dollar Schuman catalogue 1914 November 2018
Kunker cover feb 2016

1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Record-breaking Proof 1927 Canberra Florin.
PRICE
$25,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Brilliant FDC and one of very best with ice-smooth fields, a razor-sharp design and rich golden toning.
PROVENANCE
International Auction Galleries, Private Collection Melbourne
COMMENTS
You are in no doubt when you view this florin that it is indeed a specially struck PROOF 1927 Canberra Florin. A superb FDC with a highly detailed design set against a backdrop of smooth, brilliant fields enhanced by rich golden and blue toning on the periphery. And if you think Parliament House looks impressive on the reverse, wait until you see the obverse. The design detail of George V is awesome and the silver fields, which occupy a greater area than the reverse, are like mirrors and blemish-free. They sparkle reflecting the light. Its glorious state is the very reason why this Proof Canberra Florin set a new price record at auction in 2005. And if you are technically-minded then we confirm there is heavy striations on both obverse and reverse reflecting solid preparation of the dies producing a pristine strike.
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1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
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Four reasons why the Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is so popular.

1. Genuine rarity

While Melbourne Mint records show a mintage of 400, it is generally accepted that the issue did not 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 gifted to politicians and sold to the general public (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 can be a minimum of two years. Perhaps even longer.

2. Historically important

The Proof Canberra is Australia's first commemorative coin, 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 in 1927. The coin is distinguished by a unique obverse featuring an enlarged bust of King George V, designed by Sir Edgar Mackennal.

3. A design that resonates with all Australians

In an article published in the CAB Magazine, February 2007, author and respected numismatist Vince Verheyen declared the Proof 1927 Canberra Florin "arguably Australia's most attractive predecimal silver coin". (We can only but agree.) The reverse of 'Old Parliament House' was designed by George Kruger-Gray.

4. Value and appreciating value

Two things are clear when you analyse auction realisations of the Proof 1927 Canberra Florin over the past forty years. The first thing you notice is that the coin is extremely scarce. On average one pristine Proof Canberra Florin appears at auction every few years. 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. Five years into the 21st century, the Proof Canberra Florin was exceeding $20,000. More than a decade later, top quality Proof Canberra Florins are commanding in excess of $30,000.

What makes this Proof Canberra Florin so good?

  • Use the naked eye and 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.
  • Under a magnifying glass we note, 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.
  • The fields are unblemished. Amazing for a coin struck nearly a century ago. Our comment here is that this coin's former owners have always respected and cherished its quality for its state of preservation is remarkable. 

This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is an exceptional quality coin.

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The historical significance of the 1927 Parliament House Canberra Florin

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, gifted to politicians and sold to collectors.
 


Proof-1952-Penny-Rev-37408-March-2021
Proof-1952-Penny-Obv-37408-March-2021
COIN
Proof 1952 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
PRICE
$45,000
STATUS
Sold March 2022
QUALITY
FDC and a brilliant, full original mint red
PROVENANCE
Nobles Auction April 2013
COMMENTS
This Perth Mint Proof 1952 Penny is as good as it gets. The coin is vibrant, like molten copper, the fields super-reflective and as smooth as glass. The edges are perfect and also super-smooth, the denticles pristine. It is quality that is very rarely seen and once sold, it is quality that will be impossible to replace. At its first and only auction appearance in 2013, this Proof 1952 Penny certainly impressed the crowd. Solid bidding at Noble's Auction, saw the coin rapidly move from its pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to a final knockdown of $34,000, seventy per cent over the anticipated sale price. This coin is all class. And while we might sight a Proof 1952 Penny on the market every three to four years. One as dazzling as this coin, is a once in a decade opportunity. And this vibrant Perth Mint Proof 1952 Penny is available now.
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Proof-1952-Penny-Obv-37408-March-2021
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In an article published in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia 2005, renowned numismatist Paul Holland contends that the Perth Mint proofs seemed to have been created for unaided vision, the point here being that a collector would not need an eye-glass to take in their beauty.

He also contends that the 1951-PL proofs from the Royal Mint London came to be viewed as the best possible model for what Perth Mint bronze proofs should look like for the PL copper proofs, as a general rule, are stunning. Visually impactful.

When you look at this Proof 1952 Penny you can't help but feel that Holland was spot-on with his assessment.

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.

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.

Proof-1952-Penny-REV-TECH-37408-November-2021


Stunning reverse of this Perth Mint Proof 1952 Penny.

Proof-1952-Penny-OBV-TECH-37408-November-2021

Equally stunning obverse of this Perth Mint Proof 1952 Penny.

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1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-Rev-36898-March-2021
1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-Obv-36898-March-2021
COIN
Australia's rarest circulation coin, the 1922/21 Threepence.
PRICE
$70,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Virtually Uncirculated with a full central diamond and eight pearls and the very finest example.
PROVENANCE
International Auction Galleries September 2010, Wright Collection Perth
COMMENTS
The 1922/21 Overdate Threepence is legendary. It is Australia’s rarest threepence. The coin's influence, however, extends beyond the threepence series for the mintage - believed 900 - is the smallest of any Australian circulation coin. Respected numismatist and author, Greg McDonald, declares the 1922/21 overdate threepence as “one of the true rarities of the Australian series.” And he confirmed this coin is the finest. Paul Hannaford, Director of IAG Auctions, declared this coin as “the most exciting coin I have seen for a while” and concurred with Greg McDonald regarding its quality, and its status as the finest. That this coin has generated such a euphoric response from industry leaders reflects its rarity. Its supreme quality and its standing as the best! Technical shots are provided including a snapshot of the band showing eight pearls.
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1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-Obv-36898-March-2021
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The 1922/21 overdate threepence is Australia’s rarest circulation coin with only 900 believed minted.

How it was struck and why it was struck is still an enigma to this day.

There is, however, one indisputable fact relating to the striking. Only one reverse die was used. All the known 1922/21 overdate threepences have the same diagnostic 'pimple' of metal at the juncture of the legs of the kangaroo!

It is also a fact that most of the overdate threepences that have come onto the market over the last century have been defined by their short comings, their extensive usage and the resultant obliteration of the design.

Only four examples are noted as being at the higher end of the grading scale, including this coin.

We have ranked the four from highest to lowest and they are:

1. This 1922/21 threepence at Virtually Uncirculated - a problem-free premium quality example that has been well struck and well preserved, underlying brilliance and strong edges.

2. The 'Fenton Collection' 1922/21 threepence. Also Virtually Uncirculated but sadly defined by a large and very obvious scratch on the obverse. It is noted that the Fenton overdate was sold at auction in November 2021 for $52,500. 

3. The 'Carol Jaggard' 1922/21 threepence, at Good Extremely Fine, currently held by a Coinworks client.

4. The 'Benchmark' Collection 1922/21 threepence at Extremely Fine.

We invited leading numismatist and author Greg McDonald to declare his views on the 1922/21 overdate threepence, knowing that the Australian overdate coin series is one of his passions.

His article is re-produced below with permission and our sincere thanks.

Despite its diminutive size, the 1922/21 overdate threepence  punches well above its weight in claiming its rightful place as part of numismatic folklore.

Even in very worn condition, the counter stamp “2” over “1” is obvious. 

It’s the “how “ it exists and the “why” it exists, that has had collectors and mint officials at loggerheads, an argument that has raged for well over 80 years with the same futile result as trying to change someone’s opinion on religion, politics or tea versus coffee.

(Much like the discussions over the origins of the 1930 Penny,  where the controversy has only fueled interest and demand.) 

The outcome of all the research – and speculation – on the overdate threepence has done little to unite the various factions.

Probably the closest we will ever get to forming a consensus is to borrow a quote from British wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. 

In attempting to explain the machinations of the post war Soviet Government, the whimsical MP suggested it was akin to a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

This tiny lightweight has been the subject of countless club magazines and newsletter articles since the mid-1950’s. In 1971, the Royal Australian Mint tried to end the speculation by issuing a press release claiming the “overdate” was nothing more than a “filled die.”

Wizened dealers and collectors would have none of it!  To them it was a deliberate attempt for the government of the day to save money. 

Probably not the most effective way to introduce a convincing argument; but the fact remains that as 1922 dawned, the Melbourne Mint had a number of unused 1921 dies but no fresh 1922 replacements available until January 29th.

Many numismatic enthusiasts, including myself, believe that one of these superseded dies was, literally, pressed into service by placing a punch with a numeral “2” over the last “1” of the date and giving it a good whack with a suitably blunt instrument.

1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-snippet-36898-date-March-2021

A close-up of the band in the crown showing a complete central diamond and eight pearls.

36898-1922-21-OD-Threepence-aUNC-rev-January-2022

The 1922/21 overdate threepence showing the '2' over '1' as the last numeral in the date.

36898-1922-21-OD-Threepence-aUNC-obv-January-2022

The obverse has underlying brilliance, the coin defined by a full central diamond and eight pearls in the crown.

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READ MORE ON AUSTRALIA'S OVERDATE COINAGE FROM CELEBRITY AUTHOR GREG MCDONALD.

It’s Australia’s rarest circulation coin and despite its diminutive size, the 1922/21 overdate threepence punches well above its weight in claiming its rightful place as part of numismatic folklore.

Even in very worn condition, the counter stamp “2” over “1” is very obvious.  It’s the “how “ and “why” it exits, in the first place, that has collectors and mint officials at loggerheads.  It’s an argument that has raged for well over 80 years with the same futile result as trying to change someone’s opinion on religion, politics or tea versus coffee.

The outcome of all this research – and speculation – has done little to unite the various factions. Probably the closest we will ever get to forming a consensus is to borrow a quote from British wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.  In attempting to explain the machinations of the post war Soviet Government, the whimsical MP suggested it was akin to a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

This tiny lightweight has been the subject of countless club magazines and newsletter articles since the mid-1950’s. In 1971, the Royal Australian Mint tried to end the speculation by issuing a press release claiming the “overdate” was nothing more than a “filled die.”

Wizened dealers and collectors would have none of it!  To them it was a deliberate attempt for the government of the day to save money.  Probably not the most effective way to introduce a convincing argument; but the fact remains that as 1922 dawned, the Melbourne Mint had a number of unused 1921 dies but no fresh 1922 replacements available until January 29th.

Many numismatic enthusiasts, including myself, believe that one of these superseded dies was, literally, pressed into service by placing a punch with a numeral “2” over the last “1” of the date and giving it a good whack with a suitably blunt instrument.

This was the argument that the first Controller of the Royal Australian Mint, Mr Len Henderson, tried to downplay in his report 50 years ago. He argued that no self-respecting employee of a mint bearing the Royal cipher would either produce, or condone, such a crude piece of workmanship.

While it is commendable that Mr Henderson tried to protect the reputation of the mint, his explanation was a bit light on facts for many numismatists.

When Mr Henderson put forward his explanation that the overdate was the result of a chipped, oily, or rusty die, he neglected to acknowledge the list of other ‘elephants’ in the room!

Hiding in plain sight, collectors were quick to point out the existence of at least three other examples of coins bearing altered dies that appeared in the George V series alone. All came after the 1922/21 overdate; so if these were also the result of a faulty die, the precision and neatness of the end result is truly remarkable.

As well as another threepence contender from the 1930’s, other examples – and denominations include the 1933/32 penny; the 1925/23 One Shillling and the 1934/33 overdate threepence.

While it could be argued that the artistic workmanship of the 1922/21 overdate resembled a train crash, the same could not be said of the other above-mentioned pieces.  The placement of the date punch and its ability to almost completely obscure the original date underneath is a thing of beauty.

Two of the above overdates, the penny and the threepence, coincided with the Great Depression that engulfed most of the globe from 1929 to around 1936.  Perhaps, again, these issues were a means of belt tightening during difficult times and an attempt by the government not to waste taxpayers money.  Let’s just go with that thought anyway!  

The 1934/33 raises another issue that, may or may not, have a connection to the 1930-penny. Like the 1922/21 threepence, it is not hard to get into an argument about how the 1930 penny came into being and how, and why, examples filtered into circulation.

There is no disputing that dies for a proposed general issue of 1930 pennies were prepared.  The fact that the issue was not produced in large quantities was probably because there were already enough coins in circulation to support the shrinking economy.

This raises the conundrum surrounding the 1934/33 overdate threepence.  The coin in question is certainly an unmistakable 1934 issue.  Improved photographic and scanning techniques clearly show that the underscored numeral is a three. 

This would indicate that the elephants are really starting to herd and in need of another insightful comment from Sir Winston to explain.  The short answer is, there were no 1933 threepences struck for circulation.

Could this be a case that is similar to the 1930 penny? Dies were produced but existing levels of circulating threepences were sufficient, In short, there was no need for more threepences. 

This logic seems to be bourne out by studying the production of other denominations in 1933. There were no 1933 sixpences struck; the 1933 shilling is the rarest date with a mere 220,000 struck and the 1933 florin being the second lowest mintage behind the 1932 florin.  Without trying to labour the point, it would appear that an economically responsible government was keen to convert unwanted 1933 dies into useful 1934 circulation coins.

The 1925/23 overdate shilling is a similar – but different!  While passing as a 1925 issue, it appears to have been originally a 1923 dated piece.  No circulation coins dated 1923 are known to exist; as was the case with the 1933 threepences.

What makes this coin unique as an overdate is that it is the only issue that appears as a Proof.  Such coins are usually produced from specially prepared dies. The proof example in the Museums Victoria collection is an overdate.

Again this could be considered as another cost cutting measure. If this is the case, then extended scales of economy would suggest that even the specially prepared and polished dies were pressed into service once the VIP and record strikings were completed.

An article that appeared on the internet suggests that an unopened mint roll of 1925 shillings were found alongside a similar roll of 1931 shillings.  Of interest, according to the source, all the 1925 coins were overdates.

What is also interesting is that the 1922/21 has garnered so much attention when compared to the other four coins. Admittedly the 1922/21 overdate is more defined and easier to identify than the other issues that have almost seamless features.

Probably one factor that helped promote the 1922/21 overdate above all others was the introduction of the “Hendo” cardboard, fold out albums in the mid 1960’s.  These allowed a circular hole [supposedly] the same diameter as the denomination.  Each space was dated and the idea was to push the coin into the void.  

Not all holes were created equal, and I now shudder to recall that some coins needed to be persuaded to fit neatly in the hole with the help of a hammer.

This was especially so with the pennies.  Not that I ever got the chance to “flatten” a 1930 penny.  My album offered a subtle hint that I wasn’t going to find the elusive rare date.  My album didn’t have the space for the 1930 coin fully punched out. It was sort of covered with a perforated plug that could be removed if the impossible happened.  It never did!

For a long time I thought the chance of finding a 1922/21 overdate threepence was half reasonable as there was a bespoke spot for the overdate along with a space for the 1922M and 1922 no M.

I was none too pleased to find out, years later that at around 900 known examples I had at least double the chances of getting a 1930 penny that had a ‘guesstimated’ mintage of 1,500 to 3,000.

The other common denominator both coins share is that nearly all the known examples have been well circulated. Even the lowest standard grade of “good” is being generous to most 1922/21 overdate threepence.

A grade described as ‘clapped out” would cover most of the known survivors and not nearly be as confusing as the grades “Good” and “Very Good” that really lose something in translation as a grade.  It’s a bit like saying that Donatella Versace’s plastic surgery has made her look “Good” or “Very Good” rather than someone who had an “Extremely Fine” chance of applying for Witness Protection.

Up until recently only four overdate threepences were known to be at the higher end of the grading scale.

 The example offered here by Coinworks is the best of the best and carries on the firm’s long held reputation of trading in high quality numismatic items.


1913-Collins-Allen-Ten-Shillings-Front-43726-November-2021
1913-Collins-Allen-Ten-Shillings-Back-43726-November-2021
NOTE
1913 Presentation Note of the Commonwealth of Australia's first paper currency. A Ten Shillings hand-numbered M000091 in red ink and secured in a ballot by Jim Mathews, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, 1906 - 1931. The only known example signed by the then Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher. Sold with official Treasury letter confirming original ownership.
PRICE
$120,000
STATUS
Sold February 2022
QUALITY
Virtually Uncirculated, with NO pin holes and NO folds. One of the absolute finest of seventeen known.
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions, March 1984, Spink Noble March 1988, Madrid Collection of Australain Rare Coins
COMMENTS
Prime Minister Andrew Fisher fulfilled a promise to the nation when he introduced the Commonwealth of Australia’s first banknote in 1913. The note, a Ten Shillings with the signatories of James Collins and George Allen, enjoyed a grandiose release on 1 May 1913 at Melbourne's King’s Warehouse in front of Australia's political and social elite. The notes were printed in sheets of four and cut into single banknotes. Precisely at 3pm, under the supervision of Note Printer Thomas Harrison, a numbering ceremony began, each note individually numbered by hand in red ink. One hundred and two Presentation Notes were distributed by ballot to ensure a fair distribution, paid with the equivalent of a half sovereign. This Presentation Note is hand-numbered M000091 and was secured in the ballot by Jim Mathews, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports and is sold with his letter confirming success in the ballot. The pristine state of the note suggests that Mathews may have collected his prize (as distinct from being pinned to the letter and sent by mail to the recipient) for this Ten Shillings does not have pinholes. Nor has it been folded. Mathews also managed to secure the signature of the Prime Minister Andrew Fisher on the reverse. This Presentation Note and accompanying ballot letter is an investment in history and is available now.
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1913-Collins-Allen-Ten-Shillings-Back-43726-November-2021
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The rarity of the 1913 Presentation Note.

History records that of the five hundred notes hand numbered at the ceremony, Presentation Notes numbered 1, 2 and 3 were gifted to the Governor General, Lord Denham, and his two children.

The remaining notes numbered 4 to 102 were distributed by ballot to thirty-six VIPs that attended the ceremony. (Several attendees requested and received multiples.)

Author Greg McDonald contends that notes 103 to 500 were either destroyed or went into circulation, the former the most likely scenario thereby maintaining the integrity of the presentation notes.

Seventeen presentation notes have come to the market at auction over the last fifty-plus years.

Our research confirms that most presentation notes show serious signs of mishandling with some accidentally making their way into circulation.

Only three out of the seventeen presentation notes come up for special mention for their exemplary state, with no folds, no tears, no pin holes. And no signs of wear. 

They being notes numbered 4 and 5 (received by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher) and note numbered 91 (this note, received by James Mathews).

The most recent sale of a Presentation Note occurred in October 2020. The note numbered M000076, described as having a light centre fold and six small pin holes, sold at I.A.G. Auction for $109,800.

Our thanks to respected author and numismatist Greg McDonald for his extensive research on the 1913 Presentation Notes.

 

click here to view the letter full size

A defining symbol of Australia’s nationhood.

Andrew Fisher was one of Australia’s longest serving Prime Ministers. He is remembered as one of Australia’s greatest nation-building Prime Ministers. Committed to politics, he was elected to the Queensland Parliament in 1893 and in 1901, following Federation, became an inaugural member of the first Federal Parliament of Australia.

Andrew Fisher served three terms as Prime Minister, 1908 – 1909, 1910 – 1913 and his last term of 1914 - 1915.

Fisher sought to construct a nation from the former colonies and to invest it with new, all embracing symbols. He breathed a national spirit into all facets of his political and his personal life. It was the Fisher Government that radically changed the Australian Coat of Arms to reflect a more nationalistic vision of Australia.

Andrew Fisher’s vision for Australia included a Commonwealth banknote issue that would provide a stable, unified currency to facilitate economic growth and to re-invigorate confidence in a banking sector that had all but collapsed two decades earlier.

He believed the notes would underpin his efforts to unify Australia as a nation.

To promote a greater sense of public involvement in the new note issue, the Government launched a competition, offering a £50 prize for the winning design. A formal announcement of the competition appeared in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 5 November 1910. 

The brief was simple. The note had to be attractive with subdued harmonious colours and it had to baffle the forger. The new Coat of Arms was required to be a prominent part of the successful design for the face of the new Australian currency, while a scene of Australia was required to adorn the back of the note.

Artist Hugh Patterson, who re-designed the Coat of Arms was appointed by Fisher to the committee supervising the design competition. The winning design was however deemed unsuitable by the Committee.

The Government turned to London and engaged the services of Bradbury Wilkinson & Co plate engravers.

 

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1923-Halfpenny-Uncirculated-Rev-43776-November-2021
1923-Halfpenny-Uncirculated-Obv-43776-November-2021
COIN
A 'Diamond & Pearl' 1923 Halfpenny with a full central diamond and eight crisp pearls
PRICE
$42,000
STATUS
Sold March 2022
QUALITY
Uncirculated and extremely rare at this quality level
PROVENANCE
Monetarium Adelaide 2007, Private Collection Queensland
COMMENTS
This 1923 Halfpenny is fabulous. Fabulous, because the coin has great eye appeal, highly reflective fields, crisp design details and superb edges. But, it's under the eye glass that this coin truly shines. The collector that owns this 1923 Halfpenny, also owned the Holey Dollar and Adelaide Pound we sold late last year. Sold in a flash we add. He pursued Australia's classic coin rarities, the 1930 Penny, 1923 Halfpenny, Holey Dollar and Adelaide Pound, his priorities always that the coins had to be visually appealing. And they had to be technically correct. He waited a long time to acquire this coin and our research confirms the reason why. High quality 1923 Halfpennies are excruciatingly rare. This is the second only Uncirculated 1923 Halfpenny we have sold in our entire career. (Technical shots are provided in the READ MORE section and attest to its supreme state.)
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1923-Halfpenny-Uncirculated-Obv-43776-November-2021
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The 1923 Halfpenny is a classic Australian rarity with an elite status.

The coin is Australia's rarest halfpenny and enjoys a constant stream of demand. 

Furthermore, the coin is scarce. Only 15,000 are believed to have been struck.

It's also extremely rare in high quality because the halfpenny, as a low denomination coin, was well used.

Our research confirms that a collector that is looking for a high grade 1923 Halfpenny (quality level of Good Extremely Fine or better) will check out at least one hundred coins before he finds one worth considering. And how long will it take for the one hundred coins to come around? Not quickly, that's for sure. 

This 1923 Halfpenny is a stand-out piece. Brilliantly struck and obviously cherished in the ninety-nine years since its striking. Its state of preservation is remarkable.


43776-1923-Halfpenny-Unc-Rev-TECH-February-2022

A stunning reverse, highly reflective surfaces with original lustre. Solid inner beading and date '1923'.

43776-1923-Halfpenny-Unc-Obv-TECH-February-2022

An amazing obverse. The diamond is sharp, complete and three-dimensional. The eight pearls are pristine. Smooth, highly reflective fields.


Australian collectors just love their copper coins.

While not everyone could hold onto (or even gain access to) a gold coin, the nation’s coppers were accessible to the man in the street.

And while there is no doubt that Australia’s 1923 Halfpenny has benefited from the emotional feelings stirred up by its side-kick, the 1930 Penny, the ’23 stands on its own merits as Australia’s rarest halfpenny.

And an Aussie icon.

This coin is one of the finest examples of the nation’s scarcest halfpenny.

It is in a remarkable state of preservation with highly reflective, smooth surfaces.

As a company we appreciate top quality. But more than top quality we love to see the words ‘exceptional quality’ ascribed to a piece. And this coin is exceptional for quality.

A rarity that defied the mintage figures.

That the Sydney Mint in its Annual Report recorded the striking of 1,113,600 halfpennies in 1923 would tend to suggest that it was a common date coin.

For decades collectors challenged the point, drawing on their experience that the 1923 Halfpenny was the least available coin in the halfpenny series.

John Sharples, at the time Curator of Australia’s National Coin Archives set the record straight when he undertook an analysis of die production and die usage at both the Sydney and Melbourne Mints.

His research confirmed that the 1,113,600 halfpennies struck at the Sydney Mint were in fact dated 1922.

The 1923 Halfpenny was in fact struck at the Melbourne Mint in a mintage of approximately 15,000, confirming its status as Australia’s rarest circulating halfpenny.

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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-gEF-aUnc-Obv-July-2020
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-gEF-aUnc-Rev-July-2020
COIN
1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign, a high quality and lustrous example of Australia's very first sovereign
PRICE
$35,000
STATUS
Sold February 2022
QUALITY
Good Extremely Fine / About Uncirculated with original lustre on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
COMMENTS
This 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is impressive. In the flesh, the coin sparkles under the light. And the edges are fabulous. The surfaces are highly lustrous and there are minimal marks in the fields. Quite remarkable for a piece that was struck one hundred and sixty-seven years ago. And was denied any kid-gloves treatment during the manufacturing process. Impressive and extremely rare. We might see an 1855 Sovereign, at this quality level, once every year. The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign has always been one of our preferred coins. It's the nation’s first official gold currency minted at the Sydney Mint, the nation’s very first mint. Given its history, the coin will always be in demand, today and in the future. And it is the combination of quality, history and rarity that underpins this sovereign's value and its potential into the future for capital growth. And this stunning 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is available now, offered at $35,000. For collectors with an eye for detail, there is amazing strength in the crown and in the word 'AUSTRALIA'. The technical shots attest to the glorious state of this coin.
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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-gEF-aUnc-Rev-July-2020
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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-gEF-aUnc-Obv-TECH-July-2020

This 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is a stunner in the flesh with a highly lustrous obverse, a strong date and minimal marks in the fields. Note the edges. They are intact and act as the perfect picture frame to the coin.

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign has pride of place in every Australian sovereign collection. It is the nation’s first gold sovereign minted at the Sydney Mint, the nation’s very first mint, and brings to any collection a wonderful and everlasting history.

But, there is so much more to the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign than its historical place. In the quality level offered here the coin also offers exceptional rarity.

In the twenty years that Coinworks has been in business, you can count on the fingers of two hands the number of 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns that we have sold at Good Extremely Fine.

This is a clear affirmation of the coin’s limited availability in the upper quality echelons.

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 chart below clearly shows that rarity really cuts in at the ‘About Extremely Fine’ quality level.

And that as the quality gets higher, from Good Extremely Fine, About Uncirculated up to Uncirculated (and better), the availability of examples rapidly diminishes.

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign has widespread appeal.

  • It is sought by the collector that is targeting key dates. The very first year of our official gold currency is an important date in Australia’s numismatic and financial history.
  • The 1855 Sovereign also appeals to the sovereign collector.
  • And given the scarcity of the '55 sovereign in the upper quality levels, it also appeals to the investor.
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Bar-Chart-July-2020
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-gEF-aUnc-Rev-TECH-July-2020

Very impressive, 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign with a highly lustrous reverse and amazing strength in the crown and in the word 'AUSTRALIA'. Note the edges. They are intact and act as the perfect picture frame to the coin.

The history of the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign

On the 19 August 1853 Queen Victoria gave approval to establish Australia’s very first mint at or near Sydney in New South Wales.

Captain Edward Wolstenholme Ward, a sergeant, three corporals and 12 privates of the Royal Engineers were deposited on Circular Quay with the bales and boxes of Sydney new mint many months later.

Ward and his men brought with them, along with the bits of machinery and pre-fabricated building, the dies of the first Sydney Mint Sovereigns, patterns of which had been struck at the Royal Mint in 1853.

The final blue print was for one coining press, worked by animal power, capable of producing five million sovereigns per year: the whole lot, buildings included, to cost no more than £10,000. But when the Legislative Council learnt about the donkey engine another £10,000 was added to the budget for steam power.

The mint was set up in a building of Sydney’s Rum Hospital taking in its first gold in May 1855 and turning out its first sovereign one month later.

It was decided that, as the coin would only be legal tender in the colonies, a design specifically attributed to the Sydney Mint should be produced. Designs of Australia’s first gold coinage were prepared in 1853 at the Royal Mint London. The Royal Mint also manufactured the dies.

The reverse design incorporated the words Australia and Sydney Mint, the inclusion of the word Australia, a point of fascination with historians. At the time the nation was operating as separate colonies. Australia did not operate under a single Government until Federation in 1901.

In their infancy the Sydney Mint sovereigns were legal tender only in the colony of New South Wales. In 1857, the legal scope was widened to include all Australian colonies and Mauritius, Ceylon and Hong Kong. In 1868 the Sydney Mint Sovereigns became legal tender throughout the British Empire.

The design of Australia's first sovereigns - referred to as the Sydney Mint design -  lasted until 1870 and was the only time the word Australia appeared on our gold sovereigns.

From 1871, Australia's sovereigns and half sovereigns took on a traditional British design.

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Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Rev-41133-August-2021
Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Obv-41133-August-2021
COIN
Proof 1935 Halfpenny struck at the Melbourne Mint
PRICE
$18,000
STATUS
Sold March 2022
QUALITY
An exceptional coin, a stunning FDC with full copper brilliance. And one of the finest we have handled.
PROVENANCE
Sold by private treaty to a Shepparton Collector, 2002
COMMENTS
A Trans-Tasman connection was alive and kicking when New Zealander, Henry George Williams, financed the striking of a small number of Proof Halfpennies in 1935 at the Melbourne Mint. In so doing, Williams unwittingly created an Australian 'numismatic star'. The term 'numismatic star' falls well short in describing this particular Proof 1935 Halfpenny. It is a NUMISMATIC SUPER-STAR for the coin has glass-like surfaces and original copper brilliance on both reverse and obverse. Heavy striations reflect zealous preparation of the dies resulting in a superb strike. This coin was sold to the vendor in 2002. It is Melbourne Mint proof coining at its best and offers quality that is seldom seen. A collector will wait decades to acquire proofs of this calibre.
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Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Obv-41133-August-2021
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The pride and satisfaction associated with owning a special coin is markedly enhanced with knowledge of both the people associated with its production and previous owners through whose hands it has passed.

New Zealand numismatist, Henry George Williams played a key role in persuading the Melbourne Mint to issue proof coins on a commercial basis in 1935.

Williams was captivated by the golden-eye appeal achieved by the Melbourne Mint with their proof coppers and ordered 126 pennies and 126 halfpennies.

Williams sold the majority of pairs into the advanced collector markets in the U.K. and the U.S, the very reason why the coins are so scarce in the Australian market.

That Williams did not request the minting of any proof silver coins in 1935 reflected his personal preference and his insight into the market, that demand for the bronze coins far outweighed that for the silver.

As the photos reveal, the strike detail and the finish of the coins is unsurpassed by any other proofs out of the George V era.

Historical letters confirm that the proofs of 1935 were struck from especially hardened blanks, and were struck twice with fresh dies in the presses. The lack of bag marks is consistent with the coins being made effectively by hand.

Proof-1935-Halfpenny-and-Penny-Pair-41110-41133-August-2021

Brilliant Proof 1935 Penny and equally brilliant and matching, Proof 1935 Halfpenny. The Penny has sold. The Halfpenny is available now.

Natural attrition has taken its toll on the original mintage with many of the pairs broken up and individual coins sold-off.

We would expect to sight a Proof 1935 Halfpenny (or 1935 Penny) on the open market, perhaps once every year.

One of the calibre of this Proof 1935 Halfpenny can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a keen collector.


With on-line ordering and toll-free phone numbers, buying your favourite collector coin from the Royal Australian Mint has never been easier. Collectors in the nineteenth and twentieth century however were not afforded the same consideration from the operating mints.

The Sydney Mint opened in 1855 as a branch of the Royal Mint London and closed in 1926. Throughout its entire history, the mint did not strike proofs for collectors on a commercial basis. The Melbourne Mint, Australia’s second coining facility, opened in 1872. During its first forty-four years of operation, the mint did not strike coins for collectors on a commercial basis.

The Melbourne Mint’s first commercial foray for collectors occurred in 1916 when the mint especially created a presentation set to commemorate its inaugural striking of the Commonwealth’s silver coins.

Sadly, for collectors, the 1916 Presentation Set did not set a precedent for further coin issues. Government policy dictated that minting resources be applied to the striking of circulating coins for Treasury, rather than pandering to the whims of collectors through the regular issuing of proofs.

Over the next thirty-eight years, from 1916 to 1953, the Melbourne Mint played ‘cat and mouse’ with collectors by releasing only another seven proof and/or specimen issues. The issues were ad hoc. The mintages inconsistent.

The years in which the collector issues occurred were 1916, 1927, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1953.
We refer to these eight issues as ‘The Collector Coins of the Melbourne Mint, 1916 to 1953’.

They were pivotal in changing Australia's coin collecting landscape in the twentieth century, the pre-cursor to the series taken up by the Royal Australian Mint in 1966.

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1927-Proof-Shilling-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1927 Shilling struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of two known
PRICE
$35,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
Gem FDC, stunning fields and heavy striations indicating carefully prepared dies
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions 1978, Spink Auctions 1982
COMMENTS
Exhibiting the very best Australian rare coins has, over the years, defined Coinworks for who we are. And what we do best. And when it came to putting together a display of Australian proof coins, this spectacular Proof 1927 Shilling was always a centrepiece. Attracting the interest of the public and fellow dealers. It is Melbourne Mint proof coining at its very best, the quality stunning and the coin excruciatingly rare. A grand Australian coin rarity, only two examples of the Proof 1927 Shilling have ever surfaced. It was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint to define the mint’s operations working for Treasury in striking the nation's circulating currency. And this grand historical gem is available now.
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1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
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Australian Pre-decimal Coins that were struck as proofs - but not destined for collectors - are technically referred to as Coins of Record.

The term, COIN OF RECORD, is to a large extent self-explanatory. It is a coin that has been minted to put on record a date. Or to record a design.

What is not self-explanatory is that Coins of Record were always struck to proof quality as presentation pieces. And were struck in the most minute numbers satisfying the requirements of the mint rather than the wants of collectors. Forget the notion of striking ten thousand proofs, as collectors are accustomed to today. Let's talk about striking a total of ten coins ... or maybe less!

For today’s collectors the Coins of Record offer a wonderful link to the past and are extremely rare, two reasons that make them so popular.

There was no commercial angle in the production of Coins of Record. The mints were not out to make money from the exercise. Quite the reverse, striking a proof coin in our pre-decimal era was a very labour intensive (and hence costly) exercise that would have dented the mints annual budget quite considerably. The prime reason why so few coins were struck.

So, what happened to these Coins of Record? Where did they go? And if they were struck by the mints for their own use, how did they get into collector's hands?

In the main, Coins of Record ended up in the mint’s own archives, preserving its history for future generations. Any coins that were surplus to requirements may also have been sent to a museum or public institution.

Coins of Record were also put on display at public Exhibitions. The two known examples of the Proof 1866 Sovereign and Proof 1866 Half Sovereign were especially struck to exhibit as ‘products of New South Wales’ as part of the Colonial Mints display at the International Colonial Exhibition of 1866 and the International Exposition in Paris, 1867. They were discovered in London in the early 1970s.

It is noted that many of the overseas mints have over time sold off Coins of Record that they considered excess to their requirements allowing them to come into collector's hands. The Royal Mint South Africa sold off several Australian gold proofs in the 1990s.

 

Respected author, Greg McDonald, provides us with an insight as to why Coins of Record are so limited in numbers when he shared with us a definition put out by the Royal Mint London of a proof coin.

“Struck on a slow-moving coining press using carefully polished dies which are frequently cleaned during use. The materials from which the coins are made are specially processed and the coin blanks are carefully selected and polished before use. Blanks and minted coins are individually handled to prevent accidental damage.

The essential characteristics of proof coins are highly polished fields, fully reproduced designs free from any flaw, and square edges. Milling where present should be regular and free from any defect.

Because of the very high standard set in manufacture, such coins are slow to make and relatively expensive to produce.”

Coinworks interpretation of a proof coin is as follows.

"When a mint struck a proof coin, its intention was to create a single masterpiece. Coining perfection. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a picture frame does to a canvas."

 

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1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Rev-37393-March-2021
1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Obv-37393-March-2021
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound struck using the second die featuring a crenellated inner border
PRICE
$95,000
STATUS
Available now.
QUALITY
Uncirculated and fully lustrous on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
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.
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Obv-37393-March-2021
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37393-TECH-1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Rev-January-2022

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.

 

37393-TECH-1852-Adelaide-Pound-aUnc-Obv-January-2022

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-1924-Shilling-Rev-41489-August-2021
Proof-1924-Shilling-Obv-41489-August-2021
COIN
Proof 1924 Shilling struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of only three known
PRICE
$35,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
FDC, fully brilliant with stunning gold toning on the periphery and sage green toning on the interior of the reverse. Strong striations reflect careful preparation of the dies.
PROVENANCE
Richard Williams Collection, The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins
COMMENTS
This Proof 1924 Shilling is a showpiece and commands attention, which is exactly what the Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint, Mr A. M. Le Souef, intended when he authorised its striking. The coin was not struck for collectors as part of any mass-marketing sales campaign. It was struck for the mint's archives and the privileged few. Because it was a specially arranged striking of presentation pieces, only a handful were struck. Only three examples have surfaced over the last half-century. The original silver blanks were hand selected and polished to achieve a dazzling mirror shine. Furthermore, the coin has strong striations in the fields indicating that the dies were heavily brushed and well prepared to achieve a brilliant strike. We note that it was formerly owned by renowned collector, Richard Williams. And was also held in 'The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins' two collections that re-affirm the exceptional quality and rarity of this stunning piece.
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Proof-1924-Shilling-Obv-41489-August-2021
Read More

Australian Pre-decimal Coins that were struck as proofs - but not destined for collectors - are technically referred to as Coins of Record. The term, COIN OF RECORD, is to a large extent self-explanatory. It is a coin that has been minted to put on record a date. Or to record a design.

What is not self-explanatory is that Coins of Record were always struck to proof quality as presentation pieces. And were struck in the most minute numbers satisfying the requirements of the mint rather than the wants of collectors. Forget the notion of striking ten thousand proofs, as collectors are accustomed to today. Let's talk about striking a total of ten coins ... or maybe less!

For today’s collectors the Coins of Record offer a wonderful link to the past and are extremely rare, two reasons that make them so popular.

There was no commercial angle in the production of Coins of Record. The mints were not out to make money from the exercise. Quite the reverse, striking a proof coin in our pre-decimal era was a very labour intensive (and hence costly) exercise that would have dented the mints annual budget quite considerably. The prime reason why so few coins were struck.

So, what happened to these Coins of Record? Where did they go? And if they were struck by the mints for their own use, how did they get into collector's hands?

In the main, Coins of Record ended up in the mint’s own archives, preserving its history for future generations. Any coins that were surplus to requirements may also have been sent to a museum or public institution.

Coins of Record were also put on display at public Exhibitions. The two known examples of the Proof 1866 Sovereign and Proof 1866 Half Sovereign were especially struck to exhibit as ‘products of New South Wales’ as part of the Colonial Mints display at the International Colonial Exhibition of 1866 and the International Exposition in Paris, 1867. They were discovered in London in the early 1970s.

It is noted that many of the overseas mints have over time sold off Coins of Record that they considered excess to their requirements allowing them to come into collector's hands. The Royal Mint South Africa sold off several Australian gold proofs in the 1990s.

 

Respected author, Greg McDonald, provides us with an insight as to why Coins of Record are so limited in numbers when he shared with us a definition put out by the Royal Mint London of a proof coin.

“Struck on a slow-moving coining press using carefully polished dies which are frequently cleaned during use. The materials from which the coins are made are specially processed and the coin blanks are carefully selected and polished before use. Blanks and minted coins are individually handled to prevent accidental damage.

The essential characteristics of proof coins are highly polished fields, fully reproduced designs free from any flaw, and square edges. Milling where present should be regular and free from any defect.

Because of the very high standard set in manufacture, such coins are slow to make and relatively expensive to produce.”

Coinworks interpretation of a proof coin is as follows.

"When a mint struck a proof coin, its intention was to create a single masterpiece. Coining perfection. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a picture frame does to a canvas."

 

Enquire now

Proof-1945-Penny-Rev-41102-August-2021
Proof-1945-Penny-Obv-41102-August-2021
COIN
Australia's rarest penny, the 1945 Penny, struck at the Melbourne Mint
PRICE
$150,000
STATUS
Available now.
QUALITY
FDC, a spectacular proof strike, fully brilliant with a golden obverse and reddish brown reverse
PROVENANCE
The Museum of Victoria Collection
COMMENTS
This 1945 Penny was held in the Museum of Victoria Collection until 1988. The museum parted with the coin, taking it out of their own archives and offering it to the collecting public in the now famous Spink Auctions 1988 Bicentennial Sale. The coin is Australia's rarest penny. By a mile. Now let's be clear. And don't get excited if you happen to have a 1945 Penny in your bottom drawer! More than ten million pennies were struck in 1945 at the Perth Mint making it one of Australia's most readily available pennies, a dot after the 'Y' in 'PENNY' identifying that it was struck at Perth. The Melbourne Mint, on the other hand, struck only FOUR pennies in 1945 - minus the dot. The four prized coins were retained by the mint for posterity. And this example is one of the four. In a market that values rarity - and quality - above all else, this coin takes the prize for it is the nation's rarest penny. A superb FDC, with full brilliance on both obverse and reverse, this magnificent piece of Australian numismatic history is available now.
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Proof-1945-Penny-Obv-41102-August-2021
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Ask most collectors - or most Australians for that matter - what is Australia's rarest penny and they will respond with the answer, 'the 1930 Penny'.

The correct answer is however the 1945 Penny struck at the Melbourne Mint.

Only four coins were struck to test new master tools before new dies were prepared for the Perth Mint. The Melbourne Mint retained the four prized coins.

In 1978 the Melbourne Mint Collection was transferred to the Museum of Victoria, the collection included the four Proof 1945 Pennies.

Very little was known about Australia's rarest penny until 1988, when the Museum of Victoria decided to sell off one of their coins at auction as part of the nation's Bicentennial celebrations. This coin!

As you would imagine, collectors pounced. The opportunity to acquire Australia's rarest and most prestigious penny too good to resist, the coin selling for $16,100 on an estimate of $8000. (Interestingly a well above average Holey Dollar sold for the same amount in the very same auction)

In 2009, the Museum of Victoria was again tempted to sell off a second example. Again, as you would expect, it fetched a new price record.

It is a fact that Australians love their pennies more than any other coin. Even the zeal for the sovereign (which is very strong) pales into significance when compared to the penny.

Now within the penny series, there are six dates that stand out for their rarity ... 1925, 1930, 1931, 1937, 1945 and 1946.

Of these six dates the 1930, 1937 and 1945 Pennies are regarded as being elite coins.

Elite coins earn their notoriety, partially, through their rarity. A coin does not however achieve an elite (or pinnacle) status on the basis of rarity alone. Those coins that are pinnacles of the industry represent a chapter in Australia's history.

In the case of the 1930 Penny, the era we are talking about is the Great Depression. The 1937 Penny represents the abdication of Edward VIII from the throne. And the 1945 Penny, the cessation of World War II.

Aside from the status of being Australia's rarest penny, this coin, with full brilliant mint red, is simply spectacular.

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Proof-1924-Florin-Rev-MOOD-41822-September-2021
Proof-1924-Florin-Obv-MOOD-41822-September-2021
COIN
Proof 1924 Florin struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of five known
PRICE
$35,000
STATUS
Available now
QUALITY
FDC with a brilliant reverse enhanced by stunning golden / blue toning
PROVENANCE
Noble Auction August 2001, The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins
COMMENTS
This Proof 1924 Florin was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint. It is a brilliant coin. Very impressive. Furthermore, it is extremely rare. The coin first came to our attention in August 2001, when it was offered at Noble's Auction, Melbourne. The auction house acknowledged its superb state by classifying it as FDC and setting a sale price estimate of $15,000, considered a strong price at the time. Bidders at the auction obviously agreed with Noble's assessment of the coin. Solid bidding took the final price to $18,640, twenty-four per cent over the anticipated sale price. Two points of interest about this coin. First up, Mr A. M. Le Souef was Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint when this Proof 1924 Florin was struck. The coin was not struck for collectors as part of any mass-marketing sales campaign. It was struck for the mint's archives and the privileged few and Le Souef, himself a passionate collector, would have been the impetus behind the strike. Second point of interest is that it was formerly held in ‘The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins’, a collection made famous by the coins that it held and in particular, its proof coinage.
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Proof-1924-Florin-Obv-MOOD-41822-September-2021
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Australian Pre-decimal Coins that were struck as proofs - but not destined for collectors - are technically referred to as Coins of Record. The term, COIN OF RECORD, is to a large extent self-explanatory. It is a coin that has been minted to put on record a date. Or to record a design.

What is not self-explanatory is that Coins of Record were always struck to proof quality as presentation pieces. And were struck in the most minute numbers satisfying the requirements of the mint rather than the wants of collectors. Forget the notion of striking ten thousand proofs, as collectors are accustomed to today. Let's talk about striking a total of ten coins ... or maybe less!

For today’s collectors the Coins of Record offer a wonderful link to the past and are extremely rare, two reasons that make them so popular.

There was no commercial angle in the production of Coins of Record. The mints were not out to make money from the exercise. Quite the reverse, striking a proof coin in our pre-decimal era was a very labour intensive (and hence costly) exercise that would have dented the mints annual budget quite considerably. The prime reason why so few coins were struck.

So, what happened to these Coins of Record? Where did they go? And if they were struck by the mints for their own use, how did they get into collector's hands?

In the main, Coins of Record ended up in the mint’s own archives, preserving its history for future generations. Any coins that were surplus to requirements may also have been sent to a museum or public institution.

Coins of Record were also put on display at public Exhibitions. The two known examples of the Proof 1866 Sovereign and Proof 1866 Half Sovereign were especially struck to exhibit as ‘products of New South Wales’ as part of the Colonial Mints display at the International Colonial Exhibition of 1866 and the International Exposition in Paris, 1867. They were discovered in London in the early 1970s.

It is noted that many of the overseas mints have over time sold off Coins of Record that they considered excess to their requirements allowing them to come into collector's hands. The Royal Mint South Africa sold off several Australian gold proofs in the 1990s.

 

Respected author, Greg McDonald, provides us with an insight as to why Coins of Record are so limited in numbers when he shared with us a definition put out by the Royal Mint London of a proof coin.

“Struck on a slow-moving coining press using carefully polished dies which are frequently cleaned during use. The materials from which the coins are made are specially processed and the coin blanks are carefully selected and polished before use. Blanks and minted coins are individually handled to prevent accidental damage.

The essential characteristics of proof coins are highly polished fields, fully reproduced designs free from any flaw, and square edges. Milling where present should be regular and free from any defect.

Because of the very high standard set in manufacture, such coins are slow to make and relatively expensive to produce.”

Coinworks interpretation of a proof coin is as follows.

"When a mint struck a proof coin, its intention was to create a single masterpiece. Coining perfection. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a picture frame does to a canvas."

 

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