Shop for Australia's finest rare coins and notes


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
QUALITY
FDC, a spectacular proof strike, fully brilliant with a golden obverse and reddish brown reverse
PROVENANCE
The Museum of Victoria Collection
PRICE
$150,000
COMMENTS
This 1945 Penny was held in the Museum of Victoria Collection until 1988. The coin was removed from the museum's archives and offered for the first time ever to the collecting public in the now famous Spink Auctions 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.
STATUS
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
QUALITY
FDC with a brilliant reverse enhanced by stunning golden / blue toning
PROVENANCE
Noble Auction August 2001, The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins
PRICE
$35,000
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.
STATUS
Available now
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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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1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Canberra-Florin-B-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Record-breaking Proof 1927 Canberra Florin.
QUALITY
Superb FDC and one of very best. A brilliant proof with ice-smooth fields, a razor-sharp design and rich golden toning.
PROVENANCE
International Auction Galleries, Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin set a new price record at auction in 2005, achieving a recognition and distinction that will stay with it forever. The coin smashed the $20,000 price barrier, the first time a Proof Canberra Florin had exceeded that level at auction. What drove the record price? The popularity of Proof Canberra Florins. But overwhelmingly the coin's sensational quality. This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is a Brilliant FDC with ice-smooth fields, a razor-sharp design and rich golden toning. The photographs have done justice to this coin. It is simply magnificent.
STATUS
Available now
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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.
     
  • We always look at the tell-tale steps of Parliament House on the Proof Canberra Florins ... one, two or three. And this coin has the three solid uninterupted Parliamentary steps. It's the sign of a great coin.
     
  • 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-1936-Halfpenny-Rev-MOOD-41870-September-2021
Proof-1936-Halfpenny-Obv-MOOD-41870-September-2021
COIN
Proof 1936 Halfpenny struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of five known
QUALITY
FDC with highly reflective glass-like fields radiating superb colours
PROVENANCE
Noble's Auction August 2001
PRICE
$15,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1936 Halfpenny was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint. It is dramatic. And it is 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 $6000, considered a strong price at the time. Bidders at the auction were in agreement with Noble's assessment of the coin. Solid bidding took the final price to $7015, seventeen per cent over the anticipated sale price. This coin in the flesh reflects the light like a piece of glass and radiates stunning colours. The edges are well polished. Whoever brushed the dies to prepare them for the strike did so with gusto, for there are strong striations on both sides of the coin indicating that the dies were carefully prepared to ensure a crisp and strongly three-dimensional design. One of only five known, this stunning, yet affordable Melbourne Mint proof striking is available now.
STATUS
Sold September 2021
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Proof-1936-Halfpenny-Obv-MOOD-41870-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.

Proof-1936-Halfpenny-Rev-TECH-41870-September-2021

Proof 1936 Halfpenny struck at the Melbourne Mint and one of five known. A superb FDC with highly reflective glass-like surfaces radiating magnificent blue colours.

Proof-1936-Halfpenny-Obv-TECH-41870-September-2021

Proof 1936 Halfpenny obverse with fields that are like glass. Heavy striations, on both obverse and reverse, reflect careful preparation of the dies.

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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
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
PRICE
$265,000
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. )
STATUS
Available now
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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. 

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1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-OBV-September-2020
1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-September-2020
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar created from a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Lima Mint, Peru, in 1808.
QUALITY
Good Extremely Fine with handsome toning and glossy fields, making it the finest known Lima Mint Holey Dollar.
PROVENANCE
Exhibited at the "Holey Dollar - A Symbol of Innovation", Macquarie Bank 1 Martin Place Sydney 2 October to 18 October 2013. Also at the "All That Is Holey" Exhibition, Royal Australian Mint Canberra 16 August to 3 November 2019.
PRICE
$495,000
COMMENTS
When a collector acquires a Holey Dollar, they take up a wonderful slice of Australia's history. And when you hold that Holey Dollar in your hand and imagine mint master William Henshall labouring over it, the feelings are profound, a mixture of excitement, great pride and achievement. The feelings are even more profound when that Holey Dollar is the absolute finest of its type. This is the quintessential Lima Mint Holey Dollar … at Good Extremely Fine it is the finest known. And comes with impeccable credentials having been exhibited twice over the past few years. In 2013, at the Macquarie Bank, 1 Martin Place Sydney. And in 2019 at the Royal Australian Mint, Denison Street Canberra. Check out the technical shots below.
STATUS
Available now
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1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-September-2020
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Governor Lachlan Macquarie etched his name into numismatic history forever when in 1812 he imported 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars to alleviate a currency crisis in the penal colony of New South Wales. Macquarie's order for silver dollars did not specify dates. Any date would do. He wasn't concerned about the various mints at which they were struck ... Mexico, Lima, Potosi or Madrid. Nor was he fussy about the quality of the coins.

Concluding that the shipment of 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars would not suffice, Macquarie enlisted the services of emancipated convict William Henshall to cut a hole in the centre of each dollar, thereby creating two coins out of one, a ring dollar and a disc. The donut shaped silver piece, with the hole in the middle, was over stamped around the edge of the hole with the date 1813 and New South Wales to create the 1813 Holey Dollar. Its monetary value was five shillings.

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

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

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


A Holey Dollar defined by superb quality & the rare Lima Mint.

Superb quality 

As the Spanish Silver Dollar was the world’s greatest trading coin, most of the coins in Macquarie's shipment of 40,000 coins would have been well worn. A formal study of the surviving Holey Dollars, undertaken in 1988, confirms the fact. And also confirms that this Holey Dollar is indeed the exception.

Two hundred Holey Dollars are held by private collectors the silver dollars coming from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Spain. And this particular Holey Dollar, with a technical grading of Good Extremely Fine, is ranked number four out of the two hundred.

Which means that only three coins are ranked higher in quality. And one hundred and ninety six are ranked further down the quality scale.

Now if we refine our search and look at only those Holey Dollars that were created from Spanish Silver Dollars minted in Peru, this coin is the absolute finest. It is number one and the very reason why it has been called upon and put on show, at the Macquarie Bank in Sydney and the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.

The rare Lima Mint

Of the two hundred privately owned Holey Dollars, about twenty-two of them (or eleven per cent) were created from silver dollars minted at the Lima Mint in Peru. By comparison, at least eighty percent of the privately owned Holey Dollars were created from silver dollars issued at the Mexico Mint.

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

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

Well positioned counter stamps

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

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

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

 

1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-Obv-TECH-31683-September-2021

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

1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-Rev-TECH-31683-September-2021

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

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Proof-1956-Penny-rev-39180-May-2021
Proof-1956-Penny-obv-39180-May-2021
COIN
Proof 1956 Penny struck at the Perth Mint.
QUALITY
A magnificent FDC, an intense blazing orange
PROVENANCE
Dr Vincent Verheyen
PRICE
$19,500
COMMENTS
This is a magnificent Proof 1956 Penny struck at the Perth Mint and the quality is what we have come to expect from Dr. Vince Verheyen. The colour is vivid and intense, the surfaces impactful. The designs of the flying kangaroo and Queen Elizabeth II are beautifully etched. Furthermore, the coin shows the classic high squared-off rims that the Perth Mint was, at the time, renowned for. The Proof 1956 Penny is one of the greatest rarities to come out of the Perth Mint, struck in a very tight mintage of 417 coins. That makes it extremely rare. Dr. Vince Verheyen is one of the most revered Australian proof coin collectors and an authority on proof coinage. This is unequivocally, one of the best Perth Mint Proof 1956 Pennies around.
STATUS
Sold September 2021
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Proof-1956-Penny-obv-39180-May-2021
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Four reasons why the Perth Mint Proof Coins (1955 to 1963) are worth owning.

REASON 1.
Brilliantly preserved proof coins of the Perth Mint are unrivalled for quality. The coins not only display superb levels of detail in their design but an intensity of colour that is unmatched by the Melbourne Mint copper proofs from the same era.

When you look at the Proof 1956 Penny shown above, you can only but agree.

REASON 2.
Perth Mint Proof Pennies and Halfpennies are exclusive and were struck in extremely limited numbers. The mintage of the Perth Mint's first proof collector issue (1955) was 301. That of the Perth Mint's second year, (1956) only 417. Mintages in the ensuing seven years averaged around the 1000 mark.

We compare these mintages to the current output of the Royal Australian Mint and Perth Mint where 10,000 is the norm.

In the case of the Proof 1956 Penny, we would be lucky to sight one high quality coin at auction annually. And a coin as magnificent as this must be considered a once-in-a-decade opportunity.

REASON 3.
The series of Collector Proof Coins (1955 to 1963) is an important series in our numismatic history: a catalyst for the introduction of the proof coining program introduced by the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra in 1966.

It also is an affordable one, making it one of the most popular collecting series in the Australian coin market.

REASON 4.
The Perth Mint is still operating. That the Perth Mint is a leading coin producer makes its pre-decimal proofs historical. But also, vibrantly current.

So the ‘Perth Mint’ message remains strong, underpinning future interest.

 

The era 1955 to 1963 is an important one for Australian coin collectors.

In 1955, the Australian Government gave approval for the Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint to start producing proof coins in commercial quantities and sell to collectors in what was to be an annual occurrence. (Similar to what the Royal Australian Mint does today.)

Prior to 1955, proofs were only struck as Coins of Record in minuscule numbers for the mints to place in archives. Mintages tended to be less than twenty, so it goes without saying that collectors were, in the main, denied access to them.

The proof coining program of the Melbourne and Perth Mint came to an end in 1963 just prior to Australia's decimal changeover.

The proofs struck between 1955 and 1963 are a perfect entry point into the Australian rare coin market. Limited edition collector coins at affordable prices. It comes at the top of our list of recommendations for clients looking to tuck something special away for their children or grandchildren.

The coins were specially struck and sold to collectors under provision of the Commonwealth Treasury, the sale price a premium of two shillings above face value. The face value was paid to Treasury and the premium went to the mint. The Government placed only one restriction on the mints. Only those coins they were striking for circulation could be struck to proof quality and sold to collectors.

As the Perth Mint was striking copper circulating coins for Treasury, it could strike only copper proof coins for collectors. (Penny and Halfpenny.) The Melbourne Mint struck their proofs in both silver and copper.

Historical records indicate that the arrangements for striking the collector proofs originated at the Melbourne Mint and were later approved for the Perth Mint largely due to the involvement of famous collector Syd Hagley.

The mintage for the 1955 Proof Set struck at the Melbourne Mint was 1200. At the Perth Mint 301. The mintage in 1956 for the Melbourne Mint Proof Set was 1500. The mintage of the Perth Mint issue (the Proof 1956 Penny) just 417. The much lower mintages are attributed to the late approval from the Commonwealth Treasury to the Perth Mint, coupled with a lack of awareness among collectors on the availability of proofs from the Perth Mint.

The much lower mintages of the Perth Mint 1955 and 1956 issues have proved a bonanza for collectors.

 

Enquire now

Proof-1917-Sixpence-Rev-MOOD-41817-September-2021
Proof-1917-Sixpence-Obv-MOOD-41817-September-2021
COIN
Proof 1917 Sixpence struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of two known
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins, Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$25,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1917 Sixpence is a heritage piece. It is a clue to our past and is an acknowledgment of the evolution of the Australian numismatic industry. In 1916, the Melbourne Mint commenced striking Australia's silver coinage. Consumed with striking coins for circulation, the Melbourne Mint did not strike any proofs. The Mint continued its obligations to Treasury in striking circulating currency in 1917 but took up the mantle of striking proofs. Which means that this stunningly rare Proof 1917 Sixpence is the Melbourne Mint's very first proof striking of the nation’s silver coinage. It is a Coin of Record in the truest sense and is one of two known in private hands. Testimony to its importance, an example is held for posterity in the archives of the Museum of Victoria. You can tell by looking at this coin that it was minted as a presentation piece. The original silver blanks have been polished to achieve a dazzling mirror shine. And there is 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 once held in 'The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins'.
STATUS
Sold September 2021
Enquire Now
Proof-1917-Sixpence-Obv-MOOD-41817-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."

 

Enquire now

1930-Penny-gEF-Rev-2-41089-August-2021
1930-Penny-gEF-Obv-2-41089-August-2021
COIN
A 'Diamond & Pearl' 1930 Penny with a complete central diamond and eight clear pearls. And the finest we have handled.
QUALITY
Good Extremely Fine and ranked number three for quality
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$195,000
COMMENTS
We are going to let the photographs do most of ''the talking" on this impressive ‘Diamond and Pearl’ 1930 Penny. Suffice to say that at Good Extremely Fine, this 1930 Penny has a complete central diamond and eight clear pearls. And it is the presence of the eight pearls in the crown that makes this coin particularly special, identifying it as a leading 1930 Penny and an exception to those most commonly sighted. Of the one thousand-plus 1930 Pennies in existence today, we rate this coin as Number 3 in the pecking order. (Technical shots are provided.)
STATUS
Sold 31 August 2021
Enquire Now
1930-Penny-gEF-Obv-2-41089-August-2021
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1930-Penny-good-EF-Rev-TECH-3-41089-August-2021


Shown above - Reverse 1930 Penny Good Extremely Fine

You don't have to struggle with an eye glass to appreciate the attributes of this Good Extremely Fine 1930 Penny. They are clearly visible to the naked eye. The comparative examples of three lesser quality 1930 Pennies affirms the elite nature of this coin.

1930-Penny-good-EF-Obv-TECH-3-41089-August-2021


Shown above - Obverse 1930 Penny Good Extremely Fine

A complete central diamond that 'knocks you in the eye' and eight clear pearls. The upper and lower band in the crown are complete. The oval to the left of the diamond is strongly three-dimensional and complete. Note the detail in the king's robes and the moustache.


1930-Penny-OBV-Example-2-gVF-41089-August-2021

AS A POINT OF COMPARISON
1930 Penny - Quality Good Very Fine

 

It's a fact that all 1930 Pennies have undergone circulation, with the majority very well circulated and much used.

Struck during the Great Depression and with unemployment tipping 30 per cent, the notion that coins could be saved or kept as a collectible was nonsensical. Any coin that came into a family's hands was used.

It is a simple fact that the point at which the 1930 Penny became a collectible - and was taken out of circulation - determines the extent of wear that the coin sustained. And shapes its price.

This 1930 Penny is graded Good Very Fine and would be in the top fifty examples.

The obverse has a complete central diamond, six clear pearls and the smudging of the seventh and eighth pearls. Wear has started to occur in the upper and lower band in the position of the seventh and eight pearls. A flattening process has also started in the oval to the left of the crown.


1930-Penny-OBV-Example-3-VF-41089-August-2021

AS A POINT OF COMPARISON
1930 Penny - Quality Very Fine

This is a 'Diamond' 1930 Penny with a complete central diamond and six clear pearls.

It is noted that the seventh and eighth pearls, one of the first areas of the design to sustain friction, have been flattened.

Wear has occurred in the upper and lower band in the position of the seventh and eight pearls. Wear has also occurred in the oval to the left of the crown.

There is significant wear to the robes, moustache and eyebrow.

These comments need to be taken in the spirit in which they are intended for they are not criticisms. They are provided as a point of comparison only. 

At Very Fine this coin rests in the top 100-plus examples and is three grades higher than your average 1930 Penny.

 


1930-Penny-OBV-Example-4-GF-41089-August-2021

AS A POINT OF COMPARISON
1930 Penny - Quality Fine to Good Fine

The most popular entry point for 1930 Penny buyers is at the grading level of Fine to Good Fine.

This is your average circulated coin.

The central diamond is obliterated or perhaps just showing the top right-hand side only.

Six pearls are evident in varying strengths. The seventh and eight pearl are totally flattened. And the oval to left of the central diamond is half showing. Obvious wear is creeping into the rest of the band in the crown, the pearls and the remaining oval.

At least 500 1930 Pennies would become available (over time) at this quality level.

 


Header-Coppers-1920s-1930s-41446-August-2021
COIN
Copper rarities struck in the 1920s and '30s
QUALITY
Six coins detailed individually below
PRICE
Six coins detailed individually below
COMMENTS
Australians just love their coppers ... the Penny and the Halfpenny. They are the coins that were within financial reach of the 'man in the street'. Whereas the sovereign was the domain of the privileged few, a copper coin could be enjoyed by everyone. And in top quality or struck to glorious proof quality, the coin became a numismatic treasure. We have put together a treasure trove of six coins for you to enjoy, four stunning proof coins struck at the Melbourne Mint. And two elite coins that were struck as circulating currency, also at the Melbourne Mint. By virtue of their quality and rarity, each coin is at the pinnacle of its type.
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Square-Coppers-1930-gEF-41446-41089-August-2021

Commonwealth of Australia 1930 Penny, Good Extremely Fine and ranked number 3 for quality. 

NOW SOLD

COIN
A 'Diamond & Pearl' 1930 Penny, ranked number three for quality.

QUALITY
Good Extremely Fine with a full central diamond and eight clear pearls.

PRICE
$195,000

COMMENTS
One of the very finest examples of Australia's classic copper rarity housed in a leather lined presentation case constructed from Australian Huon Pine and Blackwood, hand made by craftsman Anton Gerner.


Square-Coppers-Proof-1935-Rev-41446-41110-August-2021

Brilliant Proof 1935 Penny. Also available its partner, the Proof 1935 Halfpenny, perfectly matched to the penny. (See below)

NOW SOLD

COIN
Proof 1935 Penny struck at the Melbourne Mint

QUALITY
Brilliant FDC

PRICE
$25,000

COMMENTS
This Proof 1935 Penny is a numismatic super-star. 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. It is Melbourne Mint proof coining at its best and offers quality that is rarely ever seen.


Square-Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Rev-41446-41133-August-2021

Brilliant Proof 1935 Halfpenny. Available individually. Or as a perfectly matched pair with the Proof 1935 Penny shown above.

COIN
Proof 1935 Halfpenny struck at the Melbourne Mint

QUALITY
A stunning FDC with full copper brilliance

PRICE
$18,500

COMMENTS
If you think the Proof 1935 Penny shown above looks good, then wait until you see this Proof 1935 Halfpenny. The coin is magnificent and the perfect partner to the Proof 1935 Penny. This coin also has glass-like surfaces and original copper brilliance on both reverse and obverse and has a superb strike. A collector will wait decades to acquire proofs of this calibre.


Square-Coppers-Proof-1923-41446-39176-August-2021

The fields of this Proof 1923 Penny are as smooth and as reflective as glass. Under magnification, striations are noted on both obverse and reverse. There is underlying copper brilliance on the reverse and also on the obverse and the edges are highly polished. 

NOW SOLD

COIN
Proof 1923 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint

QUALITY
FDC

PRICE
$45,000

COMMENTS
This stunning Proof 1923 Penny is an acknowledged ‘great’ Australian coin rarity. It is unique. The coin appeared at auction in July 1998 selling for $9900, more than triple its pre-auction estimate. While the quality was enough to gain bidder attention, it was the rarity that drove the price for up until July 1998, a Proof 1923 Penny had never been sighted. And to this day it is the only Proof 1923 Penny known in private hands.


Square-Coppers-1923-chUNC-41446-36525-August-2021

A stunning example of Australia's rarest halfpenny, the 1923 Halfpenny, with highly reflective surfaces that exude beautiful colours.

COIN
A 'Diamond & Pearl' 1923 Halfpenny

QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with a full diamond and eight crisp pearls

PRICE
$95,000

COMMENTS
This Choice Uncirculated 1923 Halfpenny was originally part of the famous "Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins". The design has been brilliantly executed, the surfaces are highly reflective and exude beautiful colours. And while these comments are generally reserved for 'proof' coins, this halfpenny was struck to be used in what can only be described as a coining-factory. Today, almost one hundred years later, it is in a miracle untouched state.


Square-Coppers-Proof-1936-41446-40404-August-2021

Proof 1936 Penny, Melbourne Mint proof coining at its best.

NOW SOLD

COIN
Proof 1936 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint

QUALITY
Brilliant FDC

PRICE
$40,000

COMMENTS
This Proof 1936 Penny was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint. The coin has retained its copper brilliance on both reverse and obverse, the fields are like copper-glass, the edges are well polished. Whoever brushed the dies to prepare them for the strike did so with gusto, for there are strong striations on both sides of the coin indicating that the dies were carefully prepared to ensure a crisp and strongly three-dimensional design.


Proof-1948-Penny-2-Rev-41106-August-2021
Proof-1948-Penny-2-Obv-41106-August-2021
COIN
Proof 1948 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
QUALITY
FDC with stunning copper brilliance on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Strand Coins, sale by private treaty to Coinworks, 2007
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
A coin can be rare because so few examples were struck. A coin can also be rare because it has quality traits that make it the absolute exception to the norm, placing it into an elite and very small group of examples. This Proof 1948 Penny is rare on both counts! The original mintage is believed to be sixteen with most of the examples going to public institutions and therefore out of reach of collectors. And the quality is stunning. So that you can appreciate the rarity of a coin at this quality level, we make the comment that we have sold only one other Proof 1948 Penny that we would describe as stunning. And that was acquired by us in 1998 and sold more recently in 2017. We make a further comment. When we wrote our article on the Perth Mint Proof Record pieces we came to realise just how few truly fabulous Perth proofs are around. It is an ominous sign from a supply perspective. It may also be a sign that prices are set to rise. (Technical shots are provided)
STATUS
Sold 6 September 2021
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Proof-1948-Penny-2-Obv-41106-August-2021
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The rarity of the Proof 1948 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 sixteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1948.

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 1948 Penny on the market every two to three years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.

History of the Perth Mint ... 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-1948-Penny-Rev-TECH-41106-August-2021

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

Proof-1948-Penny-Obv-TECH-41106-August-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.

Enquire now

Proof-1936-Penny-Rev-40404-July-2021
Proof-1936-Penny-Obv-40404-July-2021
COIN
Proof 1936 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint. One of four known
QUALITY
Supeb FDC
PROVENANCE
Nobles Auction July 1997, Private Collection Perth
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1936 Penny was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint. And while eighty-five years have elapsed since the coin was minted, it retains its copper brilliance on both reverse and obverse having been brilliantly preserved. The fields are like copper-glass, the edges are well polished. Whoever brushed the dies to prepare them for the strike did so with gusto, for there are strong striations on both sides of the coin indicating that the dies were carefully prepared to ensure a crisp and strongly three-dimensional design. We close off with the comment that Coinworks has, over the last two years, sold some magnificent copper proofs all of which have come back from clients that have held them for close to two decades. And that stock has been steadily diminishing. This coin is quite possibly one of the last of the George V copper proofs to come from our 'original' inventory. It is an ominous sign from a supply perspective. It may also be a sign that prices are set to rise.
STATUS
Sold August 2021
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Proof-1936-Penny-Obv-40404-July-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."

 

Enquire now

Proof-1923-Penny-rev-39176-May-2021
Proof-1923-Penny-obv-May-2021
COIN
Proof 1923 Penny struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and the only known example held by a private collector
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Nobles Auction 1998, Private Collector Perth
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
The Proof 1923 Penny is an acknowledged ‘great’ Australian coin rarity. It is unique. And to add further to its fame, the year is connected with Australia’s rarest halfpenny in the 1923 Halfpenny. The Proof 1923 Penny was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and is a glorious proof striking, the fields as smooth and as reflective as glass. Under magnification, striations are noted on both obverse and reverse. There is underlying copper brilliance on the reverse and also on the obverse. The design is strongly three-dimensional, the denticles crisp and uniformly spaced, the edges highly polished. This stunning Proof 1923 Penny appeared at auction in July 1998, the coin selling for $9900, more than triple its pre-auction estimate. While the quality was enough to gain bidder attention, it was the rarity that drove the price for up until July 1998, a Proof 1923 Penny had never been sighted. And to this day it is the only Proof 1923 Penny known in private hands.
STATUS
Sold August 2021
Enquire Now
Proof-1923-Penny-obv-May-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

1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Rev-37404-March-2021
1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Obv-37404-March-2021
COIN
1921 Kookaburra Square Penny design type 11
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated, almost proof-like with handsome antique toning and highly reflective mirror fields
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
The Kookaburra Square Pennies were struck in 1919, 1920 and 1921 at the Melbourne Mint. Only two designs were tested in 1921 and they are known as the Type 11 and the Type 12. In our view, the Type 11 is the one to own. While both are scarce, the Type 11 is the rarer of the two (by far). And visually, it is extremely attractive, the surfaces proof-like and compelling, perhaps due to the appointment of passionate collector, Albert Le Souef, to the role of Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint. Of course, how a coin starts at the mint - and how it ends up one hundred years later having passed through several collector's hands - can be poles apart. When you look at this Square Penny you can see that it has been cherished by its former owners for it has been brilliantly preserved. Technical shots are provided and they confirm its stunning qualities.
STATUS
Sold August 2021
Enquire Now
1921-Square-Penny-Type-11-FDC-Obv-37404-March-2021
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When the Kookaburra Square Penny was created, Australians were recovering from the war, breaking out socially and lessening 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.

Collectors have a choice of designs when it comes to acquiring a Kookaburra Penny dated 1921.

The first is known as the Type 11 Kookaburra Penny (this coin) and features a well-feathered kookaburra resting on a twig. The second is referred to as the Type 12 which has a relaxed kookaburra resting on a thick branch.

Both coins are scarce, but the Type 11 is by far the rarer of the two.

Our estimate is that in a lifetime of collecting only twenty 1921 Type 11 Kookaburra Pennies would become available to collectors and these would be offered in a broad range of quality levels, from poorly preserved to brilliantly preserved.

Amongst the poorer examples, it is noted that some show wear because they have been jingling around in a fob pocket with other coins.

So if you are a collector looking for a top quality Type 11 Kookaburra Penny, you will have a pool of perhaps twelve to fifteen specimens only.

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

Our experience confirms that you may have to wait between one and two years for a Type 11 Kookaburra Penny to come up. A superior quality example might take between two and four years to surface.

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

That a 1921 Kookaburra Square Penny Type 11 was last offered by them in July 2016 is testimony indeed to the extreme rarity of this design type of Kookaburra Penny.

The 1921 Type 11 Square Penny has a unique design.  

The 1921 Kookaburra Square Penny has a design that is unique to its type. No other square penny type bears that design.

Yet another reason to consider this stunning 1921 Kookaburra Penny.

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

An elegant coin with a highly detailed design, handsome antique toning and stunning mirror fields. And a design that is unique to the Type 11. No other kookaburra penny shares the reverse and obverse design of the Type 11.

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

Choice Uncirculated with a deeply etched portrait of George V, handsome antique toning and stunning mirror fields.

read more on the history of the square penny series

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
QUALITY
Very Fine on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
The Patterson Collection, Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$50,000
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.
STATUS
Available now
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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.

When a coin enters circulation, the first signs of wear occur to the high points of the design. In the case of the 1930 Penny, those points are the seventh and eighth pearls in the crown and the central diamond.

With this 1930 Penny there is a full central diamond and traces of the seventh and eighth pearls. The presence of the elusive seventh and eighth pearls places this 1930 Penny in the ‘extremely rare’ category.

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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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-Unc-Obv-2-36932-May-2021
1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-Unc-Rev-2-36932-May-2021
COIN
1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign, Australia's first sovereign and our most important and popular.
QUALITY
Uncirculated, lustrous surfaces, the design detail clearly visible to the naked eye. A supreme rarity in such high quality.
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor Collection, The Dan Collection Queensland
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is an important Australian coin. It is our very first sovereign struck at the nation's very first mint. And it is extremely rare in the supreme quality offered here which makes this coin 'doubly' important. Dealers are aware. As are collectors. Uncirculated 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns are rarely ever offered. We checked our records and noted that we last sold an Uncirculated 1855 Sovereign in May 2017, more than four years ago. TECHNICAL SHOTS are provided and re-affirm the superb state of this coin.
STATUS
Sold August 2021
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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sov-Unc-Rev-2-36932-May-2021
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1855-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Unc-Obv-TECH-36932-July-2021

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign featuring a filleted bust of Queen Victoria designed by James Wyon. The coin is the nation's first sovereign and the first coin of the realm minted at an overseas branch of the Royal Mint London. The portrait only ran for two years, 1855 and 1856.

Our respect for the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is well documented. It is the nation’s first official gold coin and in the upper quality levels is extremely rare, a rarity that far outweighs demand.

Every circulating 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 pie chart clearly shows that those well circulated examples in the quality range of Poor to Good Very Fine are reasonably readily available. The chart also shows that Uncirculated examples are exceptionally scarce. We refer you to the pale blue area.

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign is sought by the collector that is targeting important / key dates ... the very first year of our official gold currency is an important date in Australia’s numismatic and financial history. The coin 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-Unc-Rev-TECH-36932-July-2021

The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign reverse designed by L. C. Wyon was based loosely around contemporary reverse designs of the British Sixpence and Shilling. Its strong point of difference to the British coins, the inclusion of the words 'AUSTRALIA' AND 'SYDNEY MINT'. The design lasted until 1870.   

1855 Sydney Mint Sov Pie Chart
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The 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign: the coin that defines Australia's golden era.

The gold rushes of 1851 had a profound impact on Australia’s social and political development, underpinning the abandonment of the penal system on which the settlement of Australia had been based.

The discovery of significant gold deposits in Australia created sudden wealth and stimulated a vast influx of free immigrants, bringing new skills and professions and contributing to a burgeoning economy. In 1851, Australia's total population was 430,000. Two decades later, it had more than tripled to 1.7 million.

Word of the discovery of gold spread like wildfire across the country and overseas. First was the rush to Ophir near Bathurst in early 1851 and the even greater rush to Ballarat in August of the same year.

Then in quick succession came the rich finds throughout central Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and finally the bonanza in Western Australia.

It is one of the most eventful and extraordinary chapters in Australian history, transforming the economy and the nation's social order, marking the beginnings of a modern multi-cultural Australia.

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The Sydney Mint, the nation's first official mint.

In 1851, the Sydney Morning Herald published an editorial championing the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint in Sydney to buy gold at full price and strike it into sovereigns.

The plan for a branch of the Royal Mint received great support from the diggers. Solid opposition came from the banks and a prominent group of private individuals both of whom had become major buyers of gold on the fields at prices discounted well below the full London price. Profits were at stake! Both factions had earlier joined forces to quash a proposal for a Sydney Assay Office that would have also impacted negatively on their commercial interests.

While it is true that New South Wales had in 1851 formally petitioned the home office in London for a branch of the Royal Mint, the decision had already been made in the British Parliament to give the colonies greater autonomy and establish a branch mint to allow them to strike coins of the realm, the sovereign.  

The Sydney Mint would strike sovereigns to exactly the weight and fineness levels at the Royal Mint but they would have their own design. This was to protect the international reputation of the imperial sovereign in the event that Sydney was unable to meet the exacting standards demanded of the coin.

On the 19 August 1853 Queen Victoria gave formal approval to establish Australia’s very first mint at or near Sydney in New South Wales. In the same year, the Royal Mint London prepared designs of Australia’s first gold coinage and manufactured the dies.

The sovereign obverse design was a filleted bust of Victoria, only slightly different to that used on British sovereigns. The obverse quickly fell out of favour and James Wyon was ordered to engrave a new obverse that would be uniquely Australian to easily distinguish the colonial sovereigns from their British counterparts. To this end, a new portrait was introduced in 1857 that featured Queen Victoria with a banksia wreath in her hair instead of the band.

The reverse design was based loosely around contemporary reverse designs of the British sixpence and shilling. Its strong point of difference to the British sovereigns was the inclusion of the words 'Australia' and 'Sydney Mint'. The use of the word Australia, a 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.

The first Deputy Master of the Sydney Mint was Captain Edward Wolstenholme Ward, a trained member of the Royal Engineers.

Ward arrived in the colony in October 1854 on the ship Calcutta, along with other members of the Royal Engineers, a sergeant, three corporals and twelve privates. The group was deposited on Circular Quay with the bales and boxes of Sydney's new mint, along with the dies.

The Sydney Mint was established in a wing of the 'Rum Hospital' in Macquarie Street, Sydney. The mint began receiving gold on 14 May 1855 and issued its first gold sovereign soon after on June 23.

In their infancy the Sydney Mint sovereigns were legal tender only in the colony of New South Wales.

In January 1856, the British tested the quality of the colonial sovereigns and the results showed that they had a higher intrinsic value than their British counterparts, primarily due to their 8.33% silver content. Once these facts became known, profiteers began melting them down.

The design of the Sydney Mint sovereign lasted until 1870 and was the only time the word Australia appeared on our gold sovereigns. From 1871, Australia's sovereigns took on a traditional British design.

To supplement the coining facilities established in Sydney in 1855, Great Britain opened a second branch of the Royal Mint London in 1872, the location Melbourne. A third mint was opened in Perth, in 1899. Australia continued striking sovereigns until 1931.

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Proof-1935-Penny-Rev-41110-August-2021
Proof-1935-Penny-Obv-41110-August-2021
COIN
Proof 1935 Penny struck at the Melbourne Mint
QUALITY
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
PRICE
$25,000
COMMENTS
A Trans-Tasman connection was alive and kicking when New Zealander, Henry George Williams, financed the striking of a small number of Proof Pennies 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 Penny. 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.
STATUS
Sold September 2021
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Proof-1935-Penny-Obv-41110-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. Available individually or as a pair.

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 Penny (or 1935 Halfpenny) on the open market, perhaps once every year.

Coins of this calibre 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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Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Rev-41133-August-2021
Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Obv-41133-August-2021
COIN
Proof 1935 Halfpenny sold in 2002 with the Proof 1935 Penny as a matched pair
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
PRICE
$18,500
COMMENTS
If you think the Proof 1935 Penny (shown in our SHOP section) looks good, then wait until you see this Proof 1935 Halfpenny. The coin is magnificent and the perfect partner to the Proof 1935 Penny. This 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.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
Proof-1935-Halfpenny-Obv-41133-August-2021
Read More

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. Available individually or as a pair.

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.

Coins of this calibre 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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1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Rev-30453-July-2020
1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Obv-30453-July-2020
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound design type II
QUALITY
Uncirculated, lustrous on both obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
This Type II 1852 Adelaide Pound is offered in the remarkable state of Uncirculated. The coin is lustrous, in fact fully lustrous on both obverse and reverse. The only explanation we can offer as to its condition is that the coin must have been tucked away soon after it was minted. Dealers are aware, as are collectors, that Uncirculated Adelaide Pounds are rarely offered. We would be lucky to handle an Adelaide Pound at this quality level once every few years.
STATUS
Available now
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Obv-30453-July-2020
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The 1852 Adelaide Pound holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first gold coin. It is a classic Australian numismatic rarity, as is the 1813 Holey Dollar and 1813 Dump, the Square Penny and the 1930 Penny.

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.

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-eight 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.

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 an Adelaide Pound that has been struck with the second die.

The first consideration is the grading level.

Well circulated Adelaide Pounds are reasonably available, with expectations that a collector would sight a few examples each year. 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 note 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. Given the difficulties that occurred during the minting of the nation's first coin, we examine just how well the design was executed.

There is strength in the legend in the ASSAY area which is not always seen. The ermine in the lower band of the crown is visible. The pleats in the fabric in the crown also are highly detailed.

 

1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-TECH-30453-Rev-July-2021

1852 Adelaide Pound obverse with a fully struck up crown and strength in the legend

1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-TECH-30453-Obv-July-2021

1852 Adelaide Pound reverse with a scalloped inner border abutting a beaded inner circle

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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
QUALITY
Gem FDC, stunning fields and heavy striations indicating carefully prepared dies
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions 1978, Spink Auctions 1982
PRICE
$40,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1927 Shilling is today regarded as one of Australia’s grand coin rarities. Only two examples have ever surfaced. Originally it was struck as a presentation piece at the Melbourne Mint. A Coin of Record created in 1927 to define the operations of the mint as it worked for Treasury striking the nation's circulating currency. 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 for the general public, this spectacular Proof 1927 Shilling was always a centrepiece. It is Melbourne Mint proof coining at its very best, the quality stunning and the coin excruciatingly rare. And this grand historical gem is available now.
STATUS
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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1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Rev-37403-March-2021
1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Obv-37403-March-2021
COIN
1920 Kookaburra Square Penny
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated, a sculpted three dimensional design and stunning mirror fields combine to make this coin the very finest Type 7 Kookaburra Square Penny we have handled.
PROVENANCE
The Dan Collection, Queensland
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
The Kookaburra Pennies were struck in 1919, 1920 and 1921. If you are fortunate enough to be offered all three dates, then you should pounce on the coin dated 1920, simply because of its extreme rarity. That scarcity has underpinned considerable capital growth. This 1920 Kookaburra Square Penny has what we call the Type 7 design. In the early 70s, you could pick up a Type 7 for less than $1000. By the 80s prices had moved to $5000 and doubled to $10,000 by the 90s. In 2000 we note we sold a Type 7 Kookaburra Penny for $20,000. Today more than twenty years later, this 1920 Kookaburra Square Penny is offered at $65,000. That is a consistent and enviable growth path for one of Australia's leading coin rarities.
STATUS
Sold July 2021
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1920-Square-Penny-Type-7-chUnc-Obv-37403-March-2021
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The 1920 Kookaburra Square Penny, design type 7, is one of the high achievers of the Square Penny series. And for two prime reasons. The glamour associated with the date '1920'. And its extreme rarity.

The glamour of the year '1920'

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

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

The extreme rarity of the 1920 Type 7 Kookaburra Square Penny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The history of the Kookaburra Square Penny

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

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

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

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

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


Proof-1924-Sixpence-Rev-40368-July-2021
Proof-1924-Sixpence-Obv-40368-July-2021
COIN
Proof 1924 Sixpence struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint and one of five known
QUALITY
A superb Gem FDC
PROVENANCE
Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins, Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$15,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1924 Sixpence was struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint during the tenure of Mr A M Le Souef as the mint’s Deputy Master. It is a superb Gem FDC. The Melbourne Mint reached its pinnacle during Le Souef’s term, particularly in the striking of its silver proofs, perhaps a reflection of his personal passion for silver coinage. This Proof 1924 Sixpence 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. 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. This Proof 1924 Sixpence is well preserved and has obviously been cherished in the intervening years. We note that it was formerly held in 'The Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins'.
STATUS
Sold July 2021
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Proof-1924-Sixpence-Obv-40368-July-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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Proof--1921-Penny-39177-Rev-May-2020
Proof--1921-Penny-39177-Obv-May-2020
COIN
Proof 1921 Penny, struck as a Coin of Record at the Melbourne Mint, and the only known example held by a private collector.
QUALITY
FDC, the reverse with full copper brilliance, crisp and uniformly spaced denticles, the rims highly polished. The obverse also full mint red.
PROVENANCE
Nobles Auction August 1999, Private Collection Perth
PRICE
$50,000
COMMENTS
We have handled some spectacular copper proofs in our time, but this coin is quite possibly the absolute finest of them all. The reverse of this Proof 1921 Penny is simply sensational with full copper brilliance, crisp and uniformly spaced denticles, the rims highly polished. And that's not to decry the obverse for it also has full mint red. It is easy to overlook the fact that this coin was struck one hundred years ago to the year. It is a miraculous proof striking. The coin appeared at auction in August 1999. Described as brilliant with full original mint red, it sold for $11,800, the pre-auction estimate was $6000. While the quality was exceptional, it was the rarity that drove the price for up until August 1999, a Proof 1921 Penny had never been sighted. And to this day it is the only Proof 1921 Penny known in private hands.
STATUS
Sold July 2021
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Proof--1921-Penny-39177-Obv-May-2020
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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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1923-Halfpenny-chUNC-rev-36525-May-2021
1923-Halfpenny-chUNC-obv-36525-February-2021
COIN
A 'Diamond and Pearl' 1923 Halfpenny with a fully defined central diamond in the crown and eight pristine pearls
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated and one of only three known at this quality level
PROVENANCE
Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins, The Dan Collection
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
This Choice Uncirculated 1923 Halfpenny was acquired in 2008 by the owner of the "Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins". At its zenith, the "Madrid Collection" held the largest inventory of Australian proof coins. So why does a collector with a passion for Australian proof coins, decide to include in his holding a coin that was not struck to proof quality but was originally intended to circulate? He was aware that the 1923 Halfpenny was an important coin held in high regard by collectors. He marvelled at its quality, the design detail and proof-like surfaces. And he acknowledged the magnitude of owning a coin that was struck in factory-like conditions with the intention that it would circulate. And yet be found almost one hundred years later in a miracle untouched state. Technical shots are provided below.
STATUS
Available now
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1923-Halfpenny-chUNC-obv-36525-February-2021
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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 known examples of the nation’s scarcest halfpenny. It is proof-like in its appearance and is one of three known at this quality level.

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.

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.

1923-Halfpenny-chUNC-rev-36525-July-2021

A stunning reverse, highly reflective surfaces that exude beautiful colours.

1923-Halfpenny-chUNC-obv-36525-July-2021

An amazing obverse. The diamond is sharp and complete. The pearls, eight of them, plump and untouched. Smooth, highly reflective fields exude beautiful colours.

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1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Rev-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Obv-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
COIN
The finest known 1921 Square Penny.
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor 1995, Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$37,500
COMMENTS
Could this 1921, design type 12, Square Penny have been struck at the Royal Mint London? The quality of this piece suggests that it is indeed a possibility. We know that the Royal Mint prepared the dies and sent them to Melbourne in February 1921. And we also know they struck coins testing the dies. The quality of the surfaces and the depth of the strike of this Square Penny are so vastly different from those that we regularly see around that this explanation has to come into play. We do know the background of its recent owners. It was acquired from respected dealer Barrie Winsor in 1995 and held in a Sydney collection until 2016. An early retirement now sees the current vendor parting with this Square Penny gem.
STATUS
Available now
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1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Obv-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
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The rarity of the 1921 Square Penny

The 1921, design type 12, Square Penny (in any quality) is exceedingly rare for there are less than fifty (50) coins of this design available to collectors.

A comparison to our industry standard, the 1930 Penny, with fifteen hundred (1500) available affirms the Square Penny's relative rarity.

Now let's factor quality into the buying exercise because most Type 12 Square Pennies have flat and lifeless surfaces. And they tone badly with many of them having unsightly black marks in the fields, or streaky toning, making them aesthetically quite challenging.

Careless handling from the outset has limited the availability of superior examples in today's market

It has to be remembered that the Square Pennies were test pieces struck to gauge public opinion. Given to dignitaries to assess their reaction, there was no packaging and we know that not every dignitary was a collector and would have handled them with care and worn gloves. Some of the coins must have been tucked into a fob pocket for they have circulated. Others could have rattled around a top desk drawer. Or passed around to colleagues ... introducing multi possibilities of mishandling.

This coin is the absolute exception. A Square Penny with the type 12 design is seen on the market perhaps once or twice annually.

But this is not 'just any Square Penny'. It is the finest of its type and an exceptional opportunity for the buyer looking for an outstanding example of a 1921 Square Penny.

The rising value of the Square Penny

The Square Kookaburra coins were thrown into the spotlight in 1954 when Sir Marcus Clark K.B.E. sold his extensive and famous collection of Australian coin rarities. It is on record that his 1921 Square Penny and 1921 Square Halfpenny sold for £36. Even more interesting is that in the same auction an Extremely Fine Ferdinand VII Holey Dollar sold for just over twice that amount at £72 10/-.

The popularity of the kookaburras continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s with extensive reporting of their appearances occurring in the then industry magazine, 'The Australian Coin Review'.

Strong collector interest in the Square Kookaburra coins continues to this very day. That demand for the Square Kookaburra coins spans more than half a century is comforting for new buyers entering the market.

The history of the Square Penny

The Melbourne Mint commenced striking Australia's Commonwealth copper pennies in 1919.

No sooner had the mint started issuing the coins, than it was directed by Treasury to commence testing an entirely new penny concept, a square coin made from cupro-nickel.

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

If you think about it. Putting the nation’s native bird - the kookaburra - onto a coin was a no-brainer to achieving that goal.

A drastically changed shape, a square. And a new metal, cupronickel was part of the total package to maximise impact on the population.

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

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

Sadly, in 1921 and after three years of testing, the scheme fell apart.

The response to Australia’s square coinage was poor with widespread public resistance to change and people generally rejecting the small size of the coins.

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

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1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-obv-medium-1-size-November-2020
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-rev-medium-size-1-November-2020
COIN
The extremely rare 1852 Adelaide Pound Type I.
QUALITY
Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$175,000
COMMENTS
How would today's collectors react if Governor Lachlan Macquarie had produced the first forty Holey Dollars with a style that made them undeniably connected to the very first production run of Australia's first coins. Ecstatic, I would have thought. Unwittingly that is exactly what die sinker and engraver Joshua Payne did when he set up the dies and commenced production of the nation's first gold coin at the Government Assay Office, Adelaide. The reverse die, with its simple, elegant beaded inner circle cracked, the mishap discovered after forty-plus coins were produced. And then, when he swapped over the reverse die, he replaced it with one that had a completely different design. Joshua Payne's actions unknowingly created a rarity of the highest order, the Adelaide Pound Type I, struck during the very first production run of the nation's first gold coin. Defined by a reverse with the beaded inner circle and the tell-tale crack in the DWT area of the legend, perhaps forty examples are known. Technical shots are shown below.
STATUS
Available now
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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 the recorded mintage of the nation’s first gold coin, the 1852 Adelaide Pound, was 24,648. And we know that this Adelaide Pound was minted during the very first production run, if not the first day then at the very least the first week.

So how can we be so sure?

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

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

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

Extremely rare and highly prestigious

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

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

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

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

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

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

A special place in Australia's history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.
QUALITY
Virtually Uncirculated with a full central diamond and eight pearls and the very finest example.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Perth
PRICE
$95,000
COMMENTS
The 1922/21 overdate threepence is one of the few Australian coins to have gained an ‘iconic’ status. The 1930 Penny is one other. The secret to their gaining that iconic status is that each coin has a story to tell that firmly imprints them into numismatic history. Respected numismatist and author, Greg McDonald, declares the 1922/21 overdate threepence as “one of the true rarities of the Australian series.” He confirmed this particular overdate example is the finest. Paul Hannaford, Director of IAG Auctions, declared this coin as “the most exciting coin I have seen for a while” and also confirmed it as the finest. That this coin has generated such a euphoric response from industry leaders reflects its iconic status as Australia's rarest circulation coin. And its supreme quality and standing as the best! Technical shots are provided including a snapshot of the band showing eight pearls.
STATUS
Sold July 2021
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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. 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, obvious scratch on the obverse.

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.

1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-Rev-TECH-36898-April-2021

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

1922---21-Overdate-Threepence-about-Unc-Obv-TECH-36898-April-2021

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.


1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-rev-FDC-July-2019
1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
COIN
The 1860 Aborigine Threepence created by colonial silversmiths Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen.
QUALITY
Struck in silver and presented in mint state, with proof-like surfaces.
PROVENANCE
Sir Marcus Clark KBE, sold by James R. Lawson Auctioneers 1954. Exhibited, 'The Dollars & Dumps' Exhibition ANZ Gothic Bank Melbourne, 2007.
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
The Sir Marcus Clark 1860 Aborigine Threepence is unequivocally an Australian Numismatic Treasure. It became an overnight sensation when the piece first publicly appeared at James Lawson’s Auctions in 1954, the property of Sir Marcus Clarke KBE. The earliest numismatic depiction of an Aboriginal Australian and offered in a superb mint-state, the piece sold for the massive price of £38. For the 50-plus years that I have been involved in the industry, it has always been known as “The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence”. It is an industry icon and of the seven other known examples, this piece is the absolute finest of them all.
STATUS
Sold July 2021
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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
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We have always held the 1860 Aborigine Threepence in the highest regard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Rev-October-2020
1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Obv-October-2020
COIN
1813 Dump, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields. An exceptional quality example of the nation's first coin.
QUALITY
Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$55,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Dump is impressive, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields that act as the perfect backdrop to a strong crown, legend and date. This is a supreme quality example of the nation’s first coin and is ranked in the top eight per cent. And while the quality should be ample reason for collectors to give due consideration for purchase, it has to be said that this coin has attributes that are highly prized and not always seen in the 1813 Dump. Making it overwhelmingly irresistible buying. The exceptional attributes are described in more detail below but for a start there is the “H’ for Henshall on the reverse, the mark left by the nation’s first mint master guaranteeing his fame. Evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design from which it was created. Intact edge milling, the minting authorities ploy to prevent clipping of slivers of silver from the edges. And edge denticles that act as a picture-frame to the design.
STATUS
Available now
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1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Obv-October-2020
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For the buyer that is keen to grab an example of Australia's first coin - the 1813 Dump - we offer six solid reasons why this coin is worth owning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1813-Dump-Chart-July-2020
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1823 Macintosh & Degraves obv
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
COIN
1823 Macintosh and Degraves Shilling.
QUALITY
nearly Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Guy Newton-Brown, Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$ 50,000
COMMENTS
That historians have traced a business transaction involving the 1823 Macintosh & Degraves Kangaroo Shilling back to 1848 attests to the importance of this iconic piece of Australiana. The transaction was a purchase for the esteemed London National Collection. The Kangaroo Shilling has a remarkable history with a connection that lives on today to Tasmania's Cascade Brewery.
STATUS
Available now
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1823 Macintosh and Degraves Rev
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This particular Macintosh and Degraves Shilling is the finest of 15 known examples. Excessively rare, consistently in demand, this piece stands shoulder to shoulder with some of Australia’s great coin rarities.

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

1823 Macintosh & Degraves documents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VI-1809-Mexico-REV-40760-July-2021
1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VI-1809-Mexico-OBV-40760-July-2021
COIN
1813 Holey Dollar created from an 1809 Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar
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
PRICE
$250,000
COMMENTS
An 1813 Holey Dollar is a prize. But an 1813 Holey Dollar that has been created from a Ferdinand VII Spanish Silver Dollar is the ultimate prize. We know today that one hundred and ninety-three Holey Dollars are held by private collectors. Of those, only TWELVE were created from Ferdinand VII Mexico Mint Silver Dollars. The very reason why we say that while all Holey Dollars are rare, Ferdinand VII Holey Dollars are the rarest of the rare. Aside from the extreme rarity of this Holey Dollar, it comes with a fascinating historical connection to Napoleon Bonaparte. And is superior for quality. This Holey Dollar is photographed on page 65 of the Mira Noble book, 'The Holey Dollars of News South Wales'. A copy will be gifted to the new owner. (Technical shots are provided.)
STATUS
Available now
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1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VI-1809-Mexico-OBV-40760-July-2021
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The fundamentals of this Holey Dollar.

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

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

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 twelve 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-VI-1809-Mexico-REV-TECH-2-40760-July-2021

The original Spanish Silver Dollar features the legend and portrait of King Ferdinand VII of Spain.

1813-Holey-Dollar-EF-Ferdinand-VI-1809-Mexico-OBV-2-TECH-40760-July-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.


CONTACT

PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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