Shop for Australia's finest rare coins & banknotes


1918-Perth-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Rev-Unc-January-2021
1918-Perth-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Obv-Unc-January-2021
COIN
1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign, a rare date in supreme quality
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
The Montgomery Collection
PRICE
$20,000
COMMENTS
There are two aspects to this 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign that must be noted. The first is that the coin is presented as Choice Uncirculated. The addition of the word ‘CHOICE’ takes the quality to a level that is the absolute exception and very rarely seen. A step up from Uncirculated, the coin has satin fields and a strong strike. We remark on the strength in the rider’s leg …. an inherent area of weakness in most 1918s. The second aspect that must be noted is that the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is rare. Respected numismatic author, Greg McDonald, contends that only 200 to 300 pieces are available to collectors. This is a world class coin rarity presented in the supreme quality of Choice Uncirculated and, for the record, this coin is only the third example - in Choice Uncirculated - that we have ever handled. (Technical shots are provided below.)
STATUS
Available now
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1918-Perth-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Obv-Unc-January-2021
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The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is an enigma. It is the coin that according to Perth Mint records was never struck.

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

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

The first appearance of a 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign occurred in 1967 and was noted in the then industry magazine, 'The Australian Coin Review'. Inspired by the coin's first sighting, collectors commenced searching. And over the ensuing years, a few more 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns trickled their way out into the marketplace.

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

Extensive research was undertaken on die usage at the Perth Mint in 1918 and in the years thereafter.

The conclusion was that a mintage of half sovereigns was struck in 1919 and again in 1920 - using the dies dated 1918 - all of which was exported overseas with the majority assumed melted down.

The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is a stand-alone rarity. Its a key coin - the rarest date - in the George V Half Sovereign Series.

But it also is an important date in our entire Half Sovereign series (1855 to 1918) for Australia struck its last half sovereign in 1918.

The 1918 Half Sovereign was struck at the Perth Mint and features the obverse portrait of King George V.

The first Australian half sovereign to depict the portrait of George V was dated 1911. The last half sovereign to depict his portrait was dated 1918.

A complete collection of George V Half Sovereigns involves nine coins.

  1.   1911 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
  2.   1911 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
  3.   1912 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
  4.   1914 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
  5.   1915 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
  6.   1915 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign
  7.   1915 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
  8.   1916 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
  9.   1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign

It is a relatively easy collection to put together. Except for one coin. That being the very last coin in the series and the most elusive, the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign. This coin.

 

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1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign reverse. A strong strike and satin fields. Lovely edges.

1918-Perth-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Obv-Unc-TECH-January-2021

1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign obverse. Highly detailed with satin fields. Lovely edges.

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1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Rev-October-2020
1813-Dump-A1-gVF-aEF-Obv-October-2020
COIN
1813 Dump, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields. An exceptional quality example of the nation's first coin.
QUALITY
Good Very Fine / About Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
This 1813 Dump is impressive, beautifully toned with highly reflective fields that act as the perfect backdrop to a strong crown, legend and date. This is a supreme quality example of the nation’s first coin and is ranked in the top eight per cent. And while the quality should be ample reason for collectors to give due consideration for purchase, it has to be said that this coin has attributes that are highly prized and not always seen in the 1813 Dump. Making it overwhelmingly irresistible buying. The exceptional attributes are described in more detail below but for a start there is the “H’ for Henshall on the reverse, the mark left by the nation’s first mint master guaranteeing his fame. Evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design from which it was created. Intact edge milling, the minting authorities ploy to prevent clipping of slivers of silver from the edges. And edge denticles that act as a picture-frame to the design.
STATUS
Available now
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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 grades higher at Good Very 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 tree-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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1855-Sydney-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Obv-EF-Improved-Background-January-2021
1855-Sydney-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Rev-EF-Improved-Background-January-2021
COIN
1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, Australia's rarest circulating coin
QUALITY
Extremely Fine
PROVENANCE
The Dan Collection
PRICE
$165,000
COMMENTS
There is an expectation that Coinworks will always be able to provide a high-quality rare coin 'at the drop of a hat' ... that we will always have access to top quality material. While it is true for most of Australia's classic coin rarities, in the case of the nation's first half sovereign - the 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign - that is a formidable, almost impossible ask. There are perhaps forty examples of the 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign available to collectors which is in itself a tiny number. And of those, we deem that only three coins are problem-free and have great eye appeal and, interestingly, they have all come from noted collections. This coin is one of the three, ranked as number two in the pecking order. This is a momentous offering.
STATUS
Sold January 2021
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1855-Sydney-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Rev-EF-Improved-Background-January-2021
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Australia's first half sovereign, defined by magnificent, smooth fields.

A sovereign in June 1855 and a half sovereign in July of the same year.

The Sydney Mint opened on 14 May 1855, striking its first sovereign on the 23 June.

The first batch of half sovereigns was struck by the mint on Friday 27 July and was comprised of 3000 coins. The second and final batch of 18,000 was struck on Saturday 18 August.

The mintage of the sovereign was 501,000. The mintage of the half sovereign a minuscule 21,000.

This statement is said to simply set the scene as to why the 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is so scarce.

What makes this coin so special ....

It is a fact that most of the 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereigns that have come onto the market over the last century have been defined by their shortcomings, their extensive wear and the resultant obliteration of the design. Or they have been defined by their defects. The gouges that have occurred in the fields when the coin has hit the metal detector. Or been dug up by a spade.  

The half sovereign, as a low denomination piece, was intended as the currency 'workhorse' of the colony. As distinct from the sovereign that was more often than not stored in banks.

The scarcity of the 1855 Half Sovereign in today's market and the extensive wear of surviving examples was clearly demonstrated at the Reserve Bank of Australia (R.B.A.) Auction in 2005. The bank liquidated its holding of gold coins, currency that had been withdrawn from the public and accumulated between 1929 and 1976.

Consider that over this 47-year time frame, the R.B.A. had garnered only seven 1855 half sovereigns, all of which had heavily circulated. The highest quality R.B.A. example was graded at a well circulated About Fine, with the remaining six coins even further down the scale virtually denuded of any significant design detail.

1855-Sydney-Mint-Half-Sovereign-Rev-EF-TECH-January-2021

Australia's first half sovereign with beautiful old gold tone.

Quality and quality ranking

This 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is graded Extremely Fine and is ranked number two for quality. The coin has smooth fields that are highly reflective. Sharp edges act as a picture frame to the design. The coin was originally held in the private collection of the esteemed Barrie Winsor and was sold by Coinworks to the Dan Collection. The coin is offered for sale today by private treaty for $165,000.

The highest ranking 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is graded at About Uncirculated and was sold by Coinworks in 2017 for $375,000. The coin had been formerly held by A. H. F. Baldwin (London), Canadian dealer Bill Barrett and finally via Barrie Winsor into Tom Hadley's Quartermaster Collection.

And last and by no means least, number three is the Roy Brook 1855 Half Sovereign that was sold by Coinworks to a Melbourne collector in March 2003 for $97,500. The coin is graded Good Very Fine and is again hallmarked by lovely fields, original mint bloom and sharp edges.

In 1851, New South Wales petitioned for a branch mint of the Royal Mint London. Royal consent was finally given in August 1853 to establish a mint in Sydney. Captain Edward Wolstenholme Ward, a sergeant, three corporals and twelve privates of the Royal Engineers were deposited on Circular Quay with the bales and boxes of Sydney's new mint, many months later.

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

The mint was set up in a building of Sydney’s Rum Hospital receiving its first gold bullion on May 14, 1855 and striking its first sovereign on June 23, a bit over a month later.

The Sydney Mint continued striking sovereigns for over seventy-one years. And half sovereigns for sixty-one years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Proof Canberra Florin is genuinely scarce.

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

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

 

 

What makes this Proof Canberra Florin so good?

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

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

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

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

This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is an exceptional quality coin.

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The Journey to Parliament House Canberra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Proof-1924-Halfpenny-FDC-Rev-1-October-2020
Proof-1924-Halfpenny-FDC-Obv-1-October-2020
COIN
Proof 1924 Halfpenny, Melbourne Mint
QUALITY
FDC, with full brilliance on both the obverse and reverse
PROVENANCE
Philip Spalding, Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$14,500
COMMENTS
Albert Le Souef was Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint when this Proof 1924 Halfpenny was struck. His passion for numismatics - and his commitment to quality - is somehow entrenched in the proofs out of this era. Visually this Proof 1924 Halfpenny is a stunner. We have not handled finer. The coin glows like 'molten copper', with full brilliance on the obverse and the same molten glow on the reverse. The design definition is sharp, the fields ice-smooth and highly reflective. This is proof coining at its very best. What makes a great coin even greater is that it is extremely rare. And comes with a revered provenance. This Proof 1924 Halfpenny is one of only four known and has been previously owned by the legendary Philip Spalding.
STATUS
Sold January 2021
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Proof-1924-Halfpenny-FDC-Obv-1-October-2020
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This Proof 1924 Halfpenny was struck at the Melbourne Mint as a Coin of Record.

As the name suggests, it was struck to put on record the date '1924' and as a Coin of Record it was struck to the highest minting standards.

The strike satisfied the needs of the mint rather than the wants of collectors.

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.”

 

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

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

Proof coins were struck to be preserved in government archives as a record of Australia’s coining history, time-capsuled for future generations. Proof coins were also used to showcase a mint’s coining skills, to display at major worldwide Exhibitions or sent to other mint’s and public institutions. A simple case of competitive one-up-man ship. (The British Museum was a major recipient of Australia’s proof coinage. So too the Royal Mint London.)

Proof coins were struck at the discretion of the Mint Master so there was no hard-fast rule about the regularity of the issues. Or the mintages.

The striking of proofs was very often influenced by the collecting zeal of the Mint Master. And his involvement with the collector market. The more passionate the collecting habits of the Mint Master, the greater the chance of proofs being struck.

 

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1930-Penny-Fine-Good-Fine-Rev-January-2021
1930-Penny-Fine-Good-Fine-Obv-January-2021
COIN
Our Australia Day offering of a 1930 Penny with one side of the central diamond and six plump pearls in the King's crown
QUALITY
Good Fine / About Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$23,500 - our special Australia Day celebratory price
COMMENTS
Every couple of years we come across a 1930 Penny that is a genuine bargain. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does happen, we grab it with both hands knowing that Australia’s classic coin rarity is wanted at all dollar levels. And all quality levels. This 1930 Penny has one side of the central diamond and six pearls on the obverse. The reverse has strong upper and lower scrolls and complete inner beading. This is an impressive 1930 Penny offered at an even more impressive price of $23,500. Technical shots are shown below.
STATUS
Sold Australia Day 2021
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1930-Penny-Fine-Good-Fine-Obv-January-2021
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4 reasons why collectors just love the 1930 Penny.  

Reason 1.
One of the prime reasons for the popularity of the 1930 Penny is its financial reliability. It is a solid coin. And in times such as we are experiencing in 2020 with worldwide financial upheavals, this genuinely counts.

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

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

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

Well circulated (Fine) 1930 Pennies were selling for £50 in the 1950s. A decade later, by decimal changeover, the coins were fetching £255 ($510).

By 1988, Australia's Bicentenary, a Fine 1930 Penny had reached $6000. The turn of the century saw 1930 Penny prices move to a minimum of $13,000.

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

The legend of the 1930 Penny

Australia’s 1930 Penny is legendary and its star status has made it one of Australia’s most popular rare coins.

Officially the 1930 Penny was never struck and a review of minting records at the Melbourne Mint confirms that no pennies were struck for circulation in that year.

But as we now know. A small quantity of pennies were issued by the Melbourne Mint with the estimate mintage being 1000 – 1500.

And while many theories have been put forward as to how the error occurred, no one really knows how and why.

That no one has a definite answer only adds to the romance and the mystery that has shaped the image and profile of Australia’s 1930 Penny.

yes, i am interested in this 1930 penny
1930-Penny-Fine-Good-Fine-Rev-TECH-January-2021

This 1930 Penny has an About Very Fine reverse with strong '1930' date. The edges are intact and impressive as is the inner beading. There is strength also in the upper and lower scrolls. This is a coin you would be proud to show family and friends.

1930-Penny-Fine-Good-Fine-Obv-TECH-January-2021

A Good Fine obverse, showing one side of the central diamond and six plump pearls in the king's crown. The lower band of the crown also is complete. 


Proof-1945-Penny-Rev-July-2020
Proof-1945-Penny-Obv-July-2020
COIN
Australia's rarest penny, the 1945 Penny, struck at the Melbourne Mint
QUALITY
FDC, a spectacular proof strike with full mint red on both obverse and reverse.
PROVENANCE
The Museum of Victoria Collection
PRICE
$150,000
COMMENTS
This 1945 Penny was held in the Museum of Victoria Collection until 2009. 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, a full brilliant red on both obverse and reverse, this magnificent piece of Australian numismatic history is available now.
STATUS
Sold January 2021
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Proof-1945-Penny-Obv-July-2020
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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. 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. It was this coin and, for the record, a far finer piece than that offered in 1988. 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 the finest George VI copper proof we have ever seen. It is simply spectacular.

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1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Obv-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Rev-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
COIN
1921 Square Penny, design type 12, extremely rare and unrivalled for quality
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$39,500
COMMENTS
This coin is the finest 1921 Type 12 Square Penny that we have seen or handled. You will be amazed - and delighted - by this coin as we were when we first acquired it in 1995. Take in the words 'AUSTRALIA' and 'ONE PENNY'. And the design detail of the kookaburra. The bird’s eye is three-dimensional and looks like a tiny pearl. And now cast your eyes over the fields. Flip the coin over and repeat the process by taking in the circular legend and date '1921' … and again be amazed and delighted by the surfaces. A Kookaburra Square Penny is exceedingly scarce. But the finest Kookaburra Square Penny? It's an opportunity that is available to only one buyer and is seldom obtainable.
STATUS
Available now
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1921-Square-Penny-TYPE-12-CHUNC-Rev-MOOD-Nov-2020-January-2021
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The rarity of the 1921 Square Penny

There are less than fifty (50) 1921 Square Pennies of this design available to collectors. A comparison to our industry standard, the 1930 Penny, with fifteen hundred (1500) available affirms the relative rarity of this Square Penny.

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 investment potential of the Square Penny and Square Halfpenny lies in the fact that the Holey Dollar is now a $450,000-plus item.

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 and investor 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.

Enquire now

1930-Penny-3-Rev-October-2019-December-2020
1930-Penny-VF-Obv-October-2019-December-2020
COIN
1930 Penny, with a full central diamond and six plump pearls
QUALITY
Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$55,000
COMMENTS
This 1930 Penny has a full central diamond and six plump pearls and it is these two aspects, the diamond and the pearls, that classifies this coin as one of the very best, 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.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1930-Penny-VF-Obv-October-2019-December-2020
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Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

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 see the central diamond and a complete lower band of the crown. You also observe the strong design details of the monarch's robes.

Now 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 full 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 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.

Four reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

1930 Penny Pie Chart September 2019
Enquire now
1930-Penny-VF-Rev-TECH-Dec-2020-January-2021

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

1930-Penny-VF-Obv-TECH-Dec-2020-January-2021

A full central diamond and six plump pearls is just the start. The oval to the left of the central diamond is complete, as is the lower band of the crown. Reflective fields with minimal marks in the fields.

A Guide to Grading

About Fine to Fine - the average 1930 Penny is found in a quality level of About Fine to Fine with an obliterated central diamond and five or six flattened pearls.

Good Fine - a Good Fine 1930 Penny is the next step up for quality. The coin will have just one side of the central diamond showing and six pearls, some of which may be slightly flattened.

About Very Fine - moving up the quality scale to about Very Fine. The coin will have two sides of the central diamond showing and six clear pearls.

Nearly Very Fine – as the description infers this coin just misses out with a Very Fine ranking, the key being the central diamond which has three just sides showing.

Very Fine - to the ultimate quality of Very Fine which has a full central diamond, showing complete four sides, and six plump pearls in the crown.


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
On hold January 2021
Enquire Now
1852-Adelaide-Pound-Cracked-Die-moodier-rev-medium-size-1-November-2020
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-cracked-die-EF-TECH-obv-November-2020

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

Minted in the very first production run of coins

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

So how can we be so sure?

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

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

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

Extremely rare and highly prestigious

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

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

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

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

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

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

A special place in Australia's history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enquire now

1930-Penny-Fine-Rev-Dec-shoot-January-2021
1930-Penny-Fine-Obv-Dec-shoot-January-2021
COIN
The extremely rare and iconic 1930 Penny presented in a complete Australian Penny Collection
QUALITY
1930 Penny Good Fine / About Very Fine with smooth and highly reflective fields. The few edge bumps do not impact on the aesthetic appeal of this iconic rarity.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$22,500
COMMENTS
Nine times out of ten, when people approach us about selling their collection of pennies, the holding is missing the elusive 1930 Penny. That was not the case with this collector. A retired pharmacist, his interest in numismatics commenced in his late teens when he began working in his father’s chemist shop. When the time came to take over the family business, he had the financial capacity to fill the last hole in his collection and acquire the very valuable and iconic 1930 Penny. This offer is comprised of a complete collection of Australian pennies 1911 to 1964 housed in a Dansco Album (78 coins).
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1930-Penny-Fine-Obv-Dec-shoot-January-2021
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Dansco-album-2-including-1930-penny-January-2021


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

Dansco-album-closed-SQ-January-2021


Housed in the historic Dansco Album.

Four reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny.  

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

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

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

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

 

Well circulated (Fine) 1930 Pennies were selling for £50 in the 1950s. A decade later, by decimal changeover, the coins were fetching £255 ($510). By 1988, Australia's Bicentenary, a Fine 1930 Penny had reached $6000.

The turn of the century saw 1930 Penny prices move to a minimum of $13,000. Twenty years later prices have more than doubled.

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

Enquire now

1919-Square-Penny-Non-Date-February-2020
1919-Square-Penny-Date-February-2020
COIN
Unique 1919 Square Penny struck in Sterling Silver
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
The Collection of Albert Malet Le Souef, Deputy Master Melbourne Mint, 1919 to 1926
PRICE
$295,000
COMMENTS
The Kookaburra Square Penny was planned as a new Australian coinage, a new shape, a new design and the new metal of cupro-nickel. The coins that were produced as part of this test phase were handed to dignitaries and politicians to assess their reaction. But, this particular Square Penny was never going to be passed around or handed over. It was especially struck as a collector’s item in STERLING SILVER for the personal collection of Mr. Albert Malet Le Souef, Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint. It is unique. This coin is a numismatic prize, a trophy piece. A Square Penny depicting the Type 4 design, struck in Sterling Silver.
STATUS
Sold January 2021
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1919-Square-Penny-Date-February-2020
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The Le Souef influence

Albert Le Souef was Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint between 1919 and 1926. Aside from his professional involvement in the industry at the Melbourne Mint, Le Souef was also a passionate collector. He amassed a magnificent collection that was almost entirely donated to the Museum of Victoria.

His love of silver coinage was the driving force behind the striking of three Square Pennies in Sterling Silver. All dated 1919. The first was struck depicting the Type 4 design. A second depicting the Type 5 and the third the design of the Type 6.

We have handled them all. Each is unique. And each is stunning. They look as though they were struck to proof quality.

Aside from the three Sterling Silver Square Pennies, we have had a lot of experience buying and selling coins that have showed the Le Soeuf influence. They are all stand-out coins quality-wise. And they have inherent rarity.

We recall the copper proofs of Roy Farman (1920, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1932 and 1936). When they came onto the market in 2000, they were dubbed 'super-proofs' due to their remarkable state. The supreme quality was said to have been due to the involvement of Le Souef in the striking who was a close colleague of Farman.

And then there is the Proof 1920 Shilling. It is unique. Originally held by Le Souef, the coin was later acquired by Syd Hagley and is magnificent. Described as being struck from fully polished dies and in a brilliant state, it was offered at a Sydney Auction in 2008 and was acquired by Coinworks for $65,000.

(If you think about it, a Mint Master is never going to have his name attached to a coin that is sub-standard. A Mint Master would only ever want to be connected with the very best in quality and rarity.)

An opportunity that may never come again

The opportunity to acquire this 1919 Type 4 Square Penny struck in Sterling Silver warrants very serious consideration.

The coin is unique. And while we acknowledge that there is a Type 5 and a Type 6 that has also been struck in Sterling Silver, their availability is in serious doubt.

The 1919 Type 6 Square Penny is held by a Perth collector as part of the thirteen-coin 'Kookas in the Cathedral' complete Square Penny Collection. It took nearly ten years to put this collection together (such is the scarcity of the pieces) and the owner has vowed that the collection will never be broken up .. if indeed it will ever be sold.

The 1919 Type 5 Sterling Silver was owned by a member of a leading Sydney family. The family of the owner (now deceased) has decided that his coin and banknote collection will be held in perpetuity in his memory.

Our politicians grand plan for a new coinage

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.

The Square Pennies that remain today are relics of our past, and the sentiment that they stir up in the current market is collector sentiment, driven by their novel shape and their extreme rarity.

Yes, i am interested in this 1919 Sterling Silver Square Penny


The Story of australia's square penny

Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-1-December-2020
Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-2-December-2020
NOTE
1920 Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds, first issue with prefix/serial number Y110704
QUALITY
Good Very Fine, crisp body and strong colours
PROVENANCE
Photographed in Mick Vort Ronald’s, "Australian Banknote Pedigrees", Second Edition, page 396
PRICE
$59,000
COMMENTS
The very first issue of the Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds occurred in 1920 - a century ago - the notes featuring a 'Y' prefix with serial numbers in the range 083846 to 176000. Which means that this fifty quid, with serial number Y110704, came from the first issue of the Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds. FIRST ISSUE. Two words that are music to a banknote collector’s ears. Now add another two words that are particularly special to collectors. EXTREMELY RARE for only three other examples out of the first issue of the Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds exist. A validation of the respect held for this note, it is photographed in Mick Vort Ronald’s reference book, Australian Banknote Pedigrees, Second Edition, page 396.
STATUS
Sold December 2020
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Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-2-December-2020
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The Cerutty Collins £50 is a highly valued commodity, acclaimed by today’s collectors.

But it is noted that the Cerutty Collins £50 was a highly valued piece of currency way back in 1920 when it was first issued for it represented three months wages for male workers. And six months wages for their female counterparts.

Furthermore, it was issued in an era of economic turmoil. Australia was experiencing high inflation in 1920 when this note was issued, the economy moving quickly into a severe recession some three years later.

Then in October 1929, the American stock market crashed, acting as a catalyst that sent countries around the world into depression, including Australia that endured a 32 per cent unemployment rate in 1932.

And yet somehow this £50 note survived the turmoil and was kept aside as a collectable.

Simply remarkable when you consider the value that it held in 1920. And the economic and financial upheavals that is has endured.

Mick Vort Ronald, Australia’s foremost banknote author, and famed collector, reveals in a recent article in the Coin and Banknote Magazine, that he only ever had one example of the Fifty Pounds denomination in what was a lifetime of collecting.

The design of the £50 reflected Andrew Fisher’s vision as originally laid out in 1913 of having a uniquely Australian design featuring the new Commonwealth Coat of Arms and a scene of Australia on the back. (Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister of Australia in 1913.)

The £50 was printed in blue in a style of printing referred to as intaglio and featured the new Australian Coat of Arms at centre top, with the words THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA and the words AUSTRALIAN NOTE below.

The centre of the £50 has the paragraph, “The Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia Promises to pay the Bearer FIFTY POUNDS in gold coin on Demand at the Commonwealth Treasury at the Seat of Government.”

There is no mistaking that this is a £50 note. The value 50 POUNDS is the main feature of almost the entire background of the front of the note with the number '50' appearing liberally in the borders.

The back features a flock of merino sheep at Bungaree South Australia. Also printed in blue intaglio, the borders of the note are ornate and feature the number ‘50’.

James Richard Collins C.M.G.
Born on 14th March 1869, at Ballarat, Victoria, Collins entered the Victorian Public Service on 16th June 1886 as Treasury Clerk. Rising through the ranks he was eventually appointed Secretary to the Treasury and signed the note in that capacity.

Charles John Cerutty C.M.G.
Born on 25th November 1870, at Sale, Victoria, Cerutty entered the Victorian Public Service in 1888 as Treasury Clerk.  Rising through the ranks, he was eventually appointed Assistant Secretary to the Treasury and signed the note in that capacity.

(C.M.G. Commander of the order of St Michael & St George)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In so doing, he created this 1813 Holey Dollar.


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

SUPERB QUALITY 

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

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

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

This Holey Dollar is a coin of influence.

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

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

THE VERY RARE LIMA MINT

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

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

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

WELL POSITIONED COUNTER STAMPS

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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1919-Square-Penny-kooka-side-August-2020
1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
COIN
1919 Kookaburra Square Penny, featuring the unique Type 3 design
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with impeccable proof-like surfaces enhanced by handsome toning.
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$55,000
COMMENTS
This 1919 Type 3 Square Penny has four redeeming features. The first is its extreme rarity. We would expect to sell a 1919 Type 3 Square Penny every two to three years. The second is its unique design. No other Square Penny bares the design of the Type 3. The third is its quality. Choice Uncirculated is the highest rating for a Square Penny. The fourth point is its favourable price, given its extreme rarity. The Square Penny is one of Australia’s great currency rarities, as is the Holey Dollar, the Dump, Adelaide Pound, 1855 Sovereign and the 1930 Penny. These six classic coins share a common bond. They capture a profoundly important era in Australia’s history and have timeless appeal. Moreover, the coins are extremely rare, the Square Penny particularly so.
STATUS
Available now
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1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
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The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny is a great Australian coin rarity, an Aussie classic.

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

The 1919 Kookaburra Square Penny has one other redeeming feature. Its acute rarity. The coins are extremely rare and their infrequent appearances are the very reason why collectors have always faced stiff competition from investors whenever an example appears.

Key points to note about the Type 3 Square Penny. It has a unique design and its is very rarely offered.

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

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

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

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

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

In 2019, the Royal Australian Mint Canberra, released a modern coin issue acknowledging the historical importance of Australia's Kookaburra coinage.

Not surprisingly, the issue quickly sold out.

Three coins, each square shaped and having a 25 cent denomination commemorating the years the Square Penny was issued, 1919, 1920 and 1921.

And what design did the Royal Australian Mint choose to commemorate the 1919 Square Penny?

The Type 3 Square Penny of course.

 

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.

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

Given to dignitaries to assess their reaction, there was no packaging and we know that not every dignitary was a collector and would have handled them with care. Some of the coins must have been tucked into a fob pocket for they have circulated. Others could have rattled around a top desk drawer. Or passed around to colleagues ... introducing multi possibilities of mishandling.

It is noted that the Kookaburra Square Pennies tone, some more strongly than others, a reflection on their storage in the intervening years.

A Square Penny with minimal, attractive toning and beautiful surfaces is a joy to behold. And a prized classic Australian coin rarity.

 

 

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

We expand upon these four points below.

Widespread appeal

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

Extremely rare

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

Unique status

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

And great value for your investment dollars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-April-2020
1805-Holey-Dollar-Date-Tech-Rev-April-2020
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1887-Half-Sovereign-Obverse-August-2019
1887-Half-Sovereign-Reverse-August-2019
COIN
1887 Sydney Mint Young Head Half Sovereign - and our bonus offer of an Uncirculated 1897 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with original gold lustre.
PROVENANCE
Winsor & Sons 2006, Quartermaster collection.
PRICE
$17,500
COMMENTS
We like quality. We certainly appreciate a good provenance and we respect the role of history in creating an on-going demand for Australia’s gold coinage. This Choice Uncirculated 1887 Sydney Mint Young Head Half Sovereign offers all three. It is a great coin that has been made even greater with our bonus offer of an Uncirculated 1897 Sydney Mint Veiled Head Half Sovereign.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
1887-Half-Sovereign-Reverse-August-2019
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This highly historical gem represents the end of an era, the final year of the striking of the Young Head design.

And the quality is superb. The striking is highly detailed, the edges perfect, the fields unblemished.

That you can count Barrie Winsor and Tom Hadley (of Quartermaster fame) amongst its former owners is a further stamp of approval. It is a special coin with a respected pedigree.

A great coin has just become even greater with our bonus offer of an Uncirculated 1897 Sydney Mint Veiled Head Half Sovereign.

Two quality Half Sovereigns both produced by the Sydney Mint and each bearing a different portrait of Queen Victoria. For the price of one.

 

Australia’s Young Head design was introduced in 1871 and continued until 1887.

In that same year, Australia introduced a new half sovereign portrait in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

The Jubilee portrait ran from 1887 until 1893 when it was replaced with the Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria. The Veiled Head portrait, featuring a mature aged Queen Victoria, ran from 1893 to 1901.

Records indicate that in 1887, 134,000 half sovereigns were issued by the Sydney Mint. An extremely low mintage for a circulating coin. But there is a catch here ... the mintage of 134,000 covers the two different portrait designs of Young Head and Jubilee Head. So a low mintage becomes even lower for each portrait type.

Question. Which is the rarer, the 1887 Young Head or 1887 Jubilee? Answer. The Young Head by far.

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1889-Proof-Sovereign-Obv-July-2020
1889-Proof-Sovereign-Rev-July-2020
COIN
Proof 1889 Sovereign depicting the Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria. One of two known.
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions Sydney March 1988
PRICE
$85,000
COMMENTS
This Proof Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint in 1889. It is exceedingly rare. Only one other example has surfaced over the last century. Expertly crafted from 22 carat gold, the coin exudes luxury and wealth echoing the social and financial excesses at the time for in 1889, Melburnians were leading the high-life. The city was booming, its expansion fueled by land speculation that saw the value of property in parts of central Melbourne peak as high as that in London. This Proof 1889 Sovereign is an enduring symbol of our rich and golden past.
STATUS
On hold January 2021
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1889-Proof-Sovereign-Rev-July-2020
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The magnetism of gold is as strong as it has ever been. Gold jewellery. Gold bullion. Gold coins. Gold is still to this day viewed as a storage of wealth and gold is vigorously traded and possessed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

And acquiring a gold proof? How difficult is that?

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

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

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

And the reasons?

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

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

 

Enquire now

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

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Obverse. 

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

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Reverse. 

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

The year 1860 is a key date of the series.

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

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

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

 

Superb quality. And a great rarity.

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

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

Sydney mint - our first gold sovereign series.

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

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

 

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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-rev-FDC-July-2019
1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
COIN
The Sir Marcus Clark 1860 Aborigine Threepence, the earliest numismatic depiction of an Aboriginal Australian
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
$75,000
COMMENTS
Ernie Dingo AM is a famous Indigenous Australian and is a designated Australian National Living Treasure. The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence is almost as famous and is unequivocally an Australian Numismatic Treasure. This 1860 Aborigine Threepence became an overnight sensation when it appeared at James Lawson’s Auctions in 1954, the property of Sir Marcus Clarke KBE. The earliest numismatic depiction of an Aboriginal Australian, this colonial gem was offered in a superb mint-state and sold for £38. For the 50-plus years that I have been involved in the industry, it has always been known as “The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence”. It is an industry icon and of the seven other known examples, this piece is the absolute finest of them all.
STATUS
Available now
Enquire Now
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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1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Rev-July-2020
1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Obv-July-2020
COIN
1852 Adelaide Pound design type II
QUALITY
Uncirculated, highly 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
On hold January 2021
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-Obv-July-2020
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1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-TECH-Rev-July-2020

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

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 1919 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.

 

1852-Adelaide-Pound-nr-Unc-TECH-Obv-July-2020

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

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 seldom seen. The ermine in the lower band of the crown is visible. The pleats in the fabric in the crown also are highly detailed.

 

 

 

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Proof-1916-Penny-Rev-July-2020
Proof-1916-Penny-Obv-July-2020
COIN
Proof 1916 Penny, unique in private hands
QUALITY
Superb F.D.C. with impeccable surfaces and a faultless strike
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Sydney
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1916 Penny is as rare as it is important. Acquired in the U.S.A in 2008, the coin is unique. No other Proof 1916 Penny has ever been sighted in collector’s hands. This is the ultimate proof coin with smooth fields, impeccable surfaces, pristine uniformly spaced edge denticles, faultless inner beading and sculpted upper and lower scrolls. This is an incomparable opportunity for just one buyer.
STATUS
Available now
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Proof-1916-Penny-Obv-July-2020
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This Proof 1916 Penny was struck at the Bombay Mint as a Coin of Record.

As the name suggests, it was struck to put on record the date '1916' and as a Coin of Record it was struck to the highest minting standards.

The strike satisfied the needs of the mint rather than the wants of collectors.

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.”

 

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

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

Proof coins were struck to be preserved in government archives as a record of Australia’s coining history, time-capsuled for future generations. Proof coins were also used to showcase a mint’s coining skills, to display at major worldwide Exhibitions or sent to other mint’s and public institutions. A simple case of competitive one-up-man ship. (The British Museum was a major recipient of Australia’s proof coinage. So too the Royal Mint London.)

Proof coins were struck at the discretion of the Mint Master so there was no hard-fast rule about the regularity of the issues. Or the mintages.

The striking of proofs was very often influenced by the collecting zeal of the Mint Master. And his involvement with the collector market. The more passionate the collecting habits of the Mint Master, the greater the chance of proofs being struck.

 

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1927-Proof-Shilling-Reverse-August-2019
1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
COIN
Proof 1927 Shilling
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Spink Auctions 1978, Spink Auctions 1982
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
Heritage piece. Family heirloom. Incomparable investment. This Proof 1927 Shilling is all of the above. In 1927, the Melbourne Mint fulfilled an order for Treasury to strike 1.4 million Commonwealth of Australia shillings. To time-capsule the mint’s coining achievements for future generations, the mint struck a handful of 1927 shillings to proof quality. One glance at the photos, both obverse and reverse, affirms that it is an exemplary proof coin. We have handled the silver proofs of 1920, 1921, 1924, 1926 and 1928 and unequivocally state that they pale in comparison with this Proof 1927 Shilling. This coin is the absolute finest silver proof out of this era and is a showpiece in the truest sense. Furthermore, this coin is rare. The only example available to collectors.
STATUS
Available now
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1927-Proof-Shilling-Obverse-August-2019
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The Melbourne Mint's proud coining history began in 1872 when it commenced striking gold sovereigns and half sovereigns.

Then in 1916, the Melbourne Mint took up the mantle and began striking the Commonwealth of Australia’s silver coins. Three years later the mint began issuing Australia’s coppers.

The Melbourne Mint followed the traditions of the Royal Mint London, in striking a handful of proofs of those coins it was striking for circulation.

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

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

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

In the striking of this Proof 1927 Shilling, the Melbourne Mint's intention was to create a single masterpiece. 

And there is not a doubt in our minds that the mint's ambitions were fulfilled.

To create this numismatic gem:

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

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

 

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CONTACT

PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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