Shop for Australia's finest rare coins & banknotes


1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-rev-November-2020
1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-obv-November-2020
COIN
1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign, the rare date in the George V Half Sovereign series
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$12,500
COMMENTS
The Perth Mint has struck many of Australia's greatest pre-decimal coin rarities, including this 1918 Half Sovereign. It is an important coin on many fronts. That Australia struck its last half sovereign in 1918 makes it a highly historical date. The coin signals the end of an era. And it is extremely rare. Respected numismatic author, Greg McDonald, contends that only 200 to 300 pieces are available to collectors. In summary, the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is an historically important coin. It is extremely rare. And is available at $12,500. Which all adds up to excellent buying. (Technical shots are provided.)
STATUS
Available now
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1918-Perth-Half-Sovereign-Unc-obv-November-2020
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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.

1918-Perth-Half-Sov-Unc-TECH-Rev-November-2020

Strong edges and lovely fields with the 'P' (for Perth) mint mark placed discretely above the date 1918.

1918-Perth-Half-Sov-Unc-TECH-Obv-November-2020

The portrait of George V depicted on the obverse of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign.

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Proof-1927-Florin-photo1-Rev
Proof-1927-Canberra-Florin-2-Obv-September-2020
COIN
Proof 1927 Canberra Florin
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
BLACK FRIDAY 30% DISCOUNTED PRICE OF $17,500 (NORMAL RRP $25,000)
COMMENTS
You are in no doubt when you view this 1927 Florin that it is indeed a PROOF 1927 Canberra Florin. The silver fields are like mirrors. They sparkle reflecting the light and are the perfect backdrop to the regal design of Parliament House on the reverse and King George V on the obverse. There is magnificent pale peach toning on the periphery of the obverse. And a hint of same on the reverse. This is a superb proof striking from the Melbourne Mint celebrating the opening of Parliament House in Canberra.
STATUS
Sold BLACK FRIDAY 2020
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Proof-1927-Canberra-Florin-2-Obv-September-2020
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Two things are clear when you analyse auction realisations of the Proof Canberra Florin over the past fifty years.

The first point that hits you is that the coin is extremely 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. What we know today is that, on average, one pristine Proof Canberra Florin appears at auction annually.

The second point 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.

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 first Parliamentary building in Canberra, our national capital. While Federation occurred in 1901, Federal Parliament sat for twenty-six years in temporary accommodation in Victoria.

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.

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. 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.

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.

This Proof 1927 Canberra Florin is a premium quality coin.

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1921-SQ12-Choice-Unc-Rev-November-2020
1921-SQ12-Choice-Unc-Obv-November-2020
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-SQ12-Choice-Unc-Obv-November-2020
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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.

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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
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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



Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-1-March-2020
Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-2-March-2020
NOTE
1920 Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds
QUALITY
Good Very Fine, crisp body and strong colours
PROVENANCE
International Auction Galleries 2010, Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
Australia’s Cerutty Collins £50 banknote is an acclaimed rarity. Three print runs occurred during the lifetime of the Cerutty Collins Fifty Pounds, the first in 1920, the second in 1924 and the final run in 1940 each run identified by variations in the font and structure of the serial number. The serial number Y110704 of this £50 note confirms it as coming from the first run, and printed in 1920, which makes it of the highest rarity. Only three other examples are known, this being one of the finest. 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
Available now
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Cerrutty-Collins-50-Pounds-2-March-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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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
$ 70,000
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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1930-Penny-gVF-Rev-October-2020
1930-Penny-gVF-Obv-October-2020
COIN
1930 Penny, with a complete central diamond and strong evidence of the seventh and eighth pearls. As such, one of the best.
QUALITY
Good Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Melbourne
PRICE
$65,000
COMMENTS
This coin is for the buyer that is seeking a supreme quality 1930 Penny. On the obverse, the coin has a full central diamond and strong evidence of the rarely seen seventh and eighth pearls. The reverse is equally impressive with well-defined inner beading, crisp upper and lower scrolls and a strong '1930' date. On both obverse and reverse, the toning is even and handsome. The fields show minimal signs of circulation and are smooth. We would place this coin in the top five per cent of surviving examples. Now, it is a fact that the most frequently sighted 1930 Penny is a well circulated Fine. This coin, at Good Very Fine, is at least five grades higher. A 1930 Penny at this quality level would be offered on the market, perhaps once every few years. And this great coin rarity is available now. Already have a 1930 Penny? Then consider trading it back as part-payment on this stunning coin. Technical photos of both obverse and reverse are provided below.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
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1930-Penny-gVF-Obv-October-2020
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Examining a 1930 Penny is a three-point process.

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

This coin has strong upper and lower scrolls. The obverse and reverse fields are reflective and very smooth with even, handsome brown toning. Moving the obverse through the light you can clearly see the central diamond and a complete lower band of the crown. You also observe the strong design details of the monarch's robes.

2. Take up the magnifying glass.

The eye glass re-confirms what we have seen to the naked eye ... and much more. This coin has a 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 traces of the seventh and eighth pearls. The presence of the elusive seventh and eighth pearls places this 1930 Penny in the ‘extremely rare’ category.

3. And lastly, take another look with the naked eye just to make sure that you have taken everything in.

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

Reasons why collectors love the 1930 Penny. 

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

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

The 1930 Penny is the nation’s glamour coin and is unrivalled for popularity, enjoying a constant stream of demand unmatched by any other numismatic rarity.

It is an industry phenomenon, for in a market that is quality focused it is interesting to note that the 1930 Penny is keenly sought irrespective of its quality ranking.

And growth over the mid to long term has been significant across all quality levels.

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

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

1930-Penny-goodVF-Rev-TECH-1-November-2020

Reverse with strong upper and lower scrolls, well defined inner beading and handsome toning.

1930-Penny-goodVF-Obv-TECH-1-November-2020

Obverse with full central diamond and strong evidence of the rarely-ever seen seventh and eighth pearls. Also a complete lower band on the crown.

1930-Penny-relative-quantities-chart-May-2020
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1813-D2-Dump-Crown-side-July-2020
1813-D2-Dump-Fifteen-Pence-side-July-2020
COIN
1813 Dump, an 'exhibition-worthy' example of the nation's first coin
QUALITY
Nearly Extremely Fine, supreme quality and exceedingly rare as such
PROVENANCE
Osborne Collection sold by Noble Auctions July 1993. "All That Is Holey" Exhibition, Royal Australian Mint Canberra 2019
PRICE
$75,000
COMMENTS
The buyer of this 1813 Dump will take pride in knowing that the coin was formerly held as part of the legendary Osborne Collection. The buyer will also take pride in knowing that this Dump was exhibited in 2019, at the Royal Australian Mint Canberra, in the 'All That Is Holey' Exhibition. The coin was a natural contender for inclusion in the exhibition. It was struck from the very rare D/2 dies. And with a quality grading of Nearly Extremely Fine, rests in the top three per cent of D/2 examples. It is clearly one of the best. But it was the strong evidence of the original Spanish Dollar design, that was the clincher for its inclusion in the Exhibition. It is acknowledged that Australia's first Mint Master, William Henshall, applied heat during the coining process to obliterate the original Spanish Dollar design from the Dump. He majorly slipped up with this coin for there is extensive evidence of the design elements of the original Spanish Dollar, the lion and the castle and the cross bars of the shield. Traces of the Spanish Dollar design are rarely seen and highly prized. This 1813 Dump is an acknowledged industry showpiece and is available now.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
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1813-D2-Dump-Fifteen-Pence-side-July-2020
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Osborne is a name that counts

The names Ahbe, Jewell, Baldwin and Osborne are littered throughout Australia’s numismatic history for the high calibre coins that each collector had accumulated and owned.

The Osborne collection was liquidated by Noble Auctions in July 1993 offering an almost complete collection of Square Pennies, a top 1930 Penny, Adelaide Pound Type I and Type II topped off with a stunning Holey Dollar and three superb Dumps,. And this coin was the finest of the three.

The quality of this coin, at Nearly Extremely Fine, places it in the top three per cent of surviving D/2 Dumps.

The importance of the original Spanish Dollar design

Over and above its supreme quality, this Dump shows considerable evidence of the design of the original Spanish Dollar from which it was created. (Referred to as the under-type)

Historians acknowledge that heat was involved in the creation of the Dump.

When the disc fell out of the centre of the Spanish Dollar, it still bore the original dollar design of a four quadrant shield, housing a lion and castle in each quadrant. And the shield's cross-bars.

High temperatures obliterated the original Spanish Dollar design from most examples.

The Holey Dollar clearly reflects its origins, that it was struck from a Spanish Silver Dollar.

The Dump, on the other hand, rarely reveals the same. But when it does - as is seen in this coin - it is highly prized.

 

High quality 1813 Dumps have authority

The Holey Dollar and its partner the Dump were struck in 1813 under the directions of Governor Lachlan Macquarie to create a medium of exchange in the cash-starved penal colony of New South Wales.

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: a donut shaped piece which became the Holey Dollar and a tiny central disc which became the Dump.

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.

The chart clearly shows that securing a Colonial Dump in a quality level of Good Very Fine or better is a difficult task. The chart also shows that at a quality level of About Extremely Fine to Extremely Fine you are in 'rarefied air' with very few examples available.

1813-Dump-Chart-July-2020
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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
Available now
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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

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
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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 November 2020
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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.
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1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Rev-June-2020
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1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Obv-TECH-June-2020

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Obverse. 

1860-Sydney-Mint-Sovereign-Rev-TECH-June-2020

1860 Sydney Mint Sovereign Reverse. 

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

The year 1860 is a key date of the series.

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

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

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

 

Superb quality. And a great rarity.

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

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

Sydney mint - our first gold sovereign series.

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

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

 

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Proof-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
$19,500
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
Available now
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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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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
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1860-Aboriginal-Threepence-obv-FDC-July-2019
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We have always held the 1860 Aborigine Threepence in the highest regard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1930-Penny-Fine-plus-Very-Fine-Rev-1-October-2020
1930-Penny-Fine-plus-Very-Fine-Obv-1-October-2020
COIN
1930 Penny and our added bonus of a Choice Uncirculated Melbourne Mint 1930 Sovereign
QUALITY
Fine-plus / Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$27,500
COMMENTS
This 1930 Penny is very impressive. It is a classy coin. The edges are complete and the important design details such as the upper and lower scrolls, the inner beading that circles the value of ‘ONE PENNY’, the legend and the date ‘1930’ are all prominent. And the toning is a consistent and handsome chestnut brown. Take up a magnifying glass and you notice that the fields on both obverse and reverse show minimal signs of circulation. And while the quality should be enough to gain buyer attention, the gifting of a Choice Uncirculated Melbourne Mint 1930 Sovereign makes this 1930 Penny irresistible buying. Technical shots are provided below.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
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1930-Penny-Fine-plus-Very-Fine-Obv-1-October-2020
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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, this genuinely counts.

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

Perhaps this is the very reason why in 2020, 1930 Pennies are noticeably 'thin on the ground'. Dealers are reporting that even heavily circulated examples are not readily available. And that quality examples, such as this coin, are extremely hard to find.

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 was issued by the Melbourne Mint with an estimated mintage of 1000 to 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.

Unrivalled for popularity, the coin enjoys a constant stream of demand unmatched by any other numismatic rarity.

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

The 1930 Penny was selling for £50 in the 1950s. A decade later, by decimal changeover, the coin was fetching £255 ($510). By 1988, Australia's Bicentenary, the 1930 Penny had reached $6000. By the turn of the century, with interest in coins stimulated by the Sydney Olympics, 1930 Penny prices had moved to $13,000.

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

1930-Sovereign-giveaway-June-2019

Our bonus offer of a Choice Uncirculated Melbourne Mint 1930 Sovereign comes with this classy 1930 Penny.

1930-Penny-Fine-plus-Very-Fine-Rev-Tech-October-2020

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

1930-Penny-Fine-plus-Very-Fine-Obv-Tech-October-2020

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

Enquire now

1813-Dump-A1-aVF-Rev-October-2020
1813-Dump-A1-aVF-Obv-October-2020
COIN
1813 Dump, a classic example of the nation's first coin offered at an attractive price
QUALITY
About Very Fine
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$20,000
COMMENTS
Governor Lachan Macquarie enlisted the services of convicted forger William Henshall to carry out the role of Australia's first mint master. Henshall manufactured the nation's first coins in 1813, a Fifteen Pence and a Five Shillings. We know them today as the Dump and the Holey Dollar. For the buyer that is keen to grab a piece of Australian history and acquire an 1813 Dump, we offer six reasons why this coin is worth owning. At About Very Fine this Dump is, quality-wise, well above average. The design is well centred, the legend and crown clear and legible. Importantly, the edge denticles are complete. The oblique milling (a deterrent for clipping) is fully evident. Henshall's mark of his initials 'H' is present. And the sixth reason to own this coin? That has got to be the price, for this 1813 Dump is offered at the very attractive price of $20,000.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
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1813-Dump-A1-aVF-Obv-October-2020
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This 1813 Dump has six key attributes that make it worth owning.

Briefly summarised in our opening comments above, they are expanded upon below.

  1. The 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 therefore in above-average condition.
  2. The coin is aesthetically pleasing. Struck with the A/1 dies,  the crown is classically well-centred. Furthermore, the legend New South Wales and the date 1813 are clear, fully legible and framed by the edge denticles. The reverse Fifteen Pence also is clear and fully legible.
  3. The denticles around the edge of the coin are 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.
  4. Notice the oblique milling around the edge. It is fully evident. (The edge milling was used as deterrent against clipping whereby the unscrupulous shaved off slivers of silver, reducing the silver content of the Dump. And making a small profit on the side.)
  5. The ‘H’ for Henshall also is present between the 'FIFTEEN' and the 'PENCE' on the reverse. 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.

And the sixth reason to consider owning this coin? It is the value-plus price of $20,000.

yes, i am interested in this 1813 dump


the story of australia's 1813 dump

1855-Taylor-Pattern-Silver-Sixpence-Rev-FDC-1-October-2020
1855-Taylor-Pattern-Silver-Sixpence-Obv-FDC-1-October-2020
COIN
Circa 1855 Kangaroo Office Sixpence struck in silver, plain edge
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with superbly toned proof-like iridescent surfaces.
PROVENANCE
Barrie Winsor 2007, Private Collection Victoria
PRICE
$35,000
COMMENTS
History has judged British entrepreneur William Taylor a 'big noter'. He aspired to own and operate a private mint in Melbourne and create a new gold coinage for the colonies. The mint was called the Kangaroo Office and opened in 1854. Taylor ultimately embraced other metals and struck coins in silver and copper, aluminium and even pewter. Taylor’s coins were described in the Numismatic Chronicle of 1864 as “An interesting record of what the most prosperous colony England has ever founded intended as their national coinage." The coins issued by the Kangaroo Office are great colonial rarities and have been owned by leading international collectors, the U.K.'s Hyman Montague, Egypt's King Farouk and America's John Jay Pitman. And respected local collectors include Philip Spalding and Tom Hadley, of Quartermaster fame. We can certainly attest to their rarity having sold only two plain edged Silver Kangaroo Office Sixpences over the last twenty years.
STATUS
Sold October 2020
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Technical details of the Kangaroo Office Sixpence

Obverse:
Displays a broad engine-turned rim encircling a superb portrait of Queen Victoria and the words VICTORIA and AUSTRALIA embedded in the rim.

Reverse:
Displays a broad engine-turned rim encircling a large figure ‘6’ in the centre and the words SIX PENCE embedded in the rim.

Historical background

Soon after the opening of the Adelaide Assay Office in 1852, and the striking of the Adelaide Pound - the nation's first gold coin - there was an attempt to establish a private mint in Melbourne.

The mint was called the Kangaroo Office. Its prime goal was to buy gold at cheap prices direct from the fields and convert the precious metal into 'coins' of a fixed weight that would be released at their full value in London.

The plan was devised by English entrepreneur, William Joseph Taylor.

By trade Taylor was an engraver and die sinker, active in the numismatic industry producing both coins and medals. He formed a syndicate to finance the operations with two colleagues, Hodgkin and Tyndall. The total investment was £13,000.

Numismatist or just shrewd businessman?

Taylor's mint was only one component of a broader-reaching enterprise that was based in London. The overall plan was to profit from all aspects of the Gold Rush and included a clipper ship - called the Kangaroo - that would bring migrants and goods from England to Melbourne and return with gold in its specially outfitted strongroom.

The Kangaroo sailed from London on 26 June 1853. On board, the pre-fabricated structure to house the mint and the shop. And the coining press, dies and two employees, Reginald Scaife, the Manager, and William Morgan Brown, his assistant. The ship arrived at Hobsons Bay, Melbourne on 26 October 1853.

The Kangaroo Office got off to a bad start as there were no facilities at the wharf for off-loading heavy equipment, such as the coining press. With no other option available, the press was dismantled, moved and reassembled, a process that took six months.

1854 and the Kangaroo Office was up and running

The Kangaroo Office eventually commenced operations in May 1854, striking gold coins. To thwart currency laws, the designs were made to look more like weights than coins. Taylor himself cut the dies for a 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz and ¼oz gold piece, each dated 1853.

The coins were exhibited at the Melbourne Exhibition of 1854 (17 October - 12 December) and were written up in the Argus Newspaper as "several tokens of pure Australian gold were exhibited by Mr. Khull, bullion broker. They were manufactured by Mr. Scaiffe and are to be exhibited at our Palace of Industry."(Sadly a price was never quoted.)

Apart from the logistical difficulties of setting up business, the financial viability of the Kangaroo Office came under an immediate cloud.

By mid-1854 when the mint became operational the price of gold had moved up to £4/4/- an ounce, vastly different to the £2/15/- per ounce when the plan was hatched. And there was a glut of English sovereigns in circulation.

By the middle of 1854, Reginald Scaiffe, the Kangaroo Office Manager, had an overwhelming sense of failure for the shop had taken less than £1 in trading, he had a ten-year lease, could not find cheap labour. Nor cheap gold. And basically had no customers.

Despite the financial challenges of the operation Taylor was unconvinced that his days as a coin designer and manufacturer were at an end. 

1855 and a new plan emerges ,,, silver and copper coins

In 1855 he produced dies for the striking of a sixpence and shilling in gold, silver and copper. This was his first attempt at producing a piece depicting a value rather than a weight.

The coins featured the same broad engine-turned rim as the earlier minted gold coins. The obverse however featured a superb portrait of Queen Victoria with VICTORIA and AUSTRALIA embedded in the rim. The reverse featured the denomination in figures at the centre and in letters embedded in the rim above.

William Taylor also produced patterns for a fourpence and twopence struck in copper; the former featuring Britannia on the obverse and the figure ‘4’ on an engine turned background. The twopence features the kangaroo with Melbourne above it: the obverse similar in style to the fourpence.

Taylor operated his Kangaroo Office for three years during which time he sustained substantial losses. With all hope of a profit gone, the dispirited promoters in London issued instructions for the Kangaroo Office to be closed.

Now while it is true that Taylor never achieved his ambitions, the Kangaroo Office coins are revered by Australian collectors. And collectors right across the globe.

yes, i'm interested in this Kangaroo Office Sixpence

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
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1808-Lima-Mint-Holey-Dollar-gEF-September-2020
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Governor Lachlan Macquarie etched his name into numismatic history forever when in 1812 he imported 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars to alleviate a currency crisis in the penal colony of New South Wales.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In so doing, he created this 1813 Holey Dollar.


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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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 November 2020
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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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$10-Phillip-Randall-Star-Rev-June-2020
$10-Phillip-Randall-Star-Obv-June-2020
NOTE
1968 Phillips Randall First Prefix Ten Dollar Star Note (R303SF)
QUALITY
Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Private Collection W.A.
PRICE
$9500
COMMENTS
This Ten Dollar Phillips Randall banknote has the prefix/serial number ZSF 16769*. Key points of this banknote are as follows. The six-pointed asterisk indicates that it is an especially printed Star replacement note. The prefix ZSF indicates that this note was printed in the very first print run of Phillips Randall Ten Dollar Star Notes and that makes this note particularly important. Brilliantly preserved, the note is offered in Uncirculated quality. FIRST PREFIX and UNCIRCULATED. Three words that are music to a banknote collector’s ears. Now, let us add another two words that are particularly special to collectors. EXTREMELY RARE for fewer than ten comparable quality first prefix Phillips Randall Ten Dollar ‘stars’ have come onto the market over the last twenty years.
STATUS
Sold October 2020
Enquire Now
$10-Phillip-Randall-Star-Obv-June-2020
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First prefix & last signature combination. A pairing that collectors really like.

The Ten Dollar Star note issues commenced in 1966 with the Coombs Wilson signature combination. They were followed in 1967 by the Coombs Randall combination.

The third issue of Ten Dollar Star notes featured the Phillips Randall combination notes and occurred in 1968.

As the printing of star notes ceased in 1971, the Phillips Randall signature combination is the very last signature combination of Ten Dollar decimal star notes.

The history of Star Notes in Australia.

In the good old days before sophisticated equipment was introduced into the process of printing banknotes, the only way of ensuring that all the printed notes were accounted for was by way of the serial numbers.

So, if a note or notes were damaged during printing, it was replaced with a separate note hand printed with the same serial number.

It was a slow and laborious process of printing an individual note as distinct from printing a run of notes and was progressively phased out after 1948 with damaged notes being replaced by star notes printed in special print runs.

 

When decimal currency was introduced in 1966, the decimal star note system was only slightly modified.

Damaged notes were removed and replaced with substitute notes that were printed in a special run of notes. And with a different sequence of prefixes and serial numbers followed by a six-pointed asterisk.

The prefix commenced with the letter ‘Z’. The second letter of the prefix was coded to represent the denomination. ZA was allocated to the One Dollar note. ZF to the Two Dollar, ZN to the Fives, ZS to Tens and ZX for the Twenties.

The system ceased in 1971 and as the $50 note was first printed in 1973 and the $100 in 1984, there are no star notes of these denominations.

With the ever-increasing volume of new banknotes being printed the star replacement note system became impracticable and was no longer an option after 1971.

After this time, it was not deemed necessary to replace a damaged note with a star replacement note or to keep a bundle of 100 notes in numerical sequence, another random note was simply added until a total of 100 notes was achieved per bundle.

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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
Enquire Now
1919-Square-Penny-obv-August-2020
Read More

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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Proof-1924-Shilling-Rev-July-2020
Proof-1924-Shilling-Obv-July-2020
COIN
Proof 1924 Shilling, Melbourne Mint. Of the highest rarity as one of only three known.
QUALITY
Superb FDC
PROVENANCE
Philip Spalding
PRICE
$22,500
COMMENTS
Mr A. M. Le Souef was Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint when this Proof 1924 Shilling was struck ... and doesn't it show. The coin was not struck for collectors as part of any mass-marketing sales campaign. It was struck for the mint's archives and the privileged few and Le Souef would have been the impetus behind the strike. Because it was a specially arranged striking of proof quality presentation pieces, only a handful were struck. The original silver blanks were hand selected and polished to achieve a dazzling mirror shine. Furthermore, the coin has strong striations in the fields indicating that the dies were heavily brushed and well prepared. Strong striations in the fields equate to a brilliant strike and this is indeed the case with this coin. Over and above its brilliant strike, this coin is well preserved and has obviously been cherished in the intervening years. We note that it bears the name Philip Spalding as one of its former owners.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
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Proof-1924-Shilling-Obv-July-2020
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This Proof 1924 Shilling 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.

 

Enquire now

Proof-1947-Penny-Rev-September-2020
Proof-1947-Penny-Obv-September-2020
COIN
Proof 1947 Penny Perth Mint
QUALITY
A superb FDC brilliant violet-red proof and the finest known
PROVENANCE
Nobles Auction, Sydney, March 1996
PRICE
$42,500
COMMENTS
There are some coins that, as dealers, you never forget. The state in which they are presented is so impactful, they make a lasting impression. Nor can you ever forget the occasion when they were first sighted. And so it is with this Proof 1947 Penny. The quality is absolutely stunning, highly reflective violet-red fields, the coin simply glows. The occasion was Nobles Sydney Auction March 1996 when we sat in the auction room fighting off a trove of room and postal bidders to secure this prized gem. The photographs confirm its extraordinary condition. And we can confirm its rarity. We have only ever handled three Proof 1947 Pennies, this coin the finest by far.
STATUS
Sold November 2020
Enquire Now
Proof-1947-Penny-Obv-September-2020
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The rarity of the Proof 1947 Penny was confirmed in 1995 in an article published by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives.

He found evidence that nineteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1947.

Now let's put that figure nineteen into perspective for, unlike today's decimal market, these proofs were NOT struck for collectors.

The majority of the mintage was sent to public institutions such as the Royal Mint London, the British Museum, the Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial.

That the bulk of the mintage was gifted to institutions is the very reason why they are so rare in today's collector market. We might sight a Proof 1947 Penny on the market every two to three years.

History of the Perth Mint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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
Enquire Now
Proof-1916-Penny-Obv-July-2020
Read More

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.

 

Enquire now

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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Proof-1951-Federation-Florin-Rev-FDC-Large-November-2020
Proof-1951-Federation-Florin-Obv-FDC-large-November-2020
COIN
Proof 1901/51 Federation Florin struck at the Royal Mint London and one of three held in private collections
QUALITY
FDC
PROVENANCE
Private Collection Queensland
PRICE
$50,000
COMMENTS
This Proof 1901/1951 Florin was struck as a presentation piece at the Royal Mint London as the prototype of Australia’s newly designed Federation florin. Extremely rare, three are held by private collectors and this coin is one of them. A fourth is held in the Museum of Victoria, acquired by the museum in 1986, the salient point here being that it was bought by (and not gifted to) the museum. There is one thing we know for sure about Australian museums and public institutions and their coin acquisitions. They hardly ever go out into a collector environment and buy inventory unless the piece is integral to Australia’s national story. And the Proof 1901/1951 Federation Florin was integral to the museum's story and our national story.
STATUS
Available now
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Proof-1951-Federation-Florin-Obv-FDC-large-November-2020
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Obverse Description - portrait of George VI facing left; below bust in small lettering the artist's initials H.P. (Humphrey Paget)

Reverse Description - a mace and sword crossing below a crown and above the Federation Star with the stars of the Southern Cross worked through the design.

Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901 when the British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australians celebrated their nationhood, participating in parades, processions, sporting events and school pageants.

The celebrations continued fifty years later with the striking of a commemorative coin, the 1951 Federation Florin.

Treasury issued two million commemorative florins in 1951 to celebrate the 50th year of Federation. The coins were struck at the Melbourne Mint using planchets comprised of 50 per cent silver.

The designs carried the normal portrait of King George VI and a rather symbolic reverse design by William Leslie Bowles featuring a crown above a crossed sword with the Southern Cross worked through the design.

The Proof 1951 Federation Florins were struck as prototypes of the newly designed Federation florin at the Royal Mint London using British florin (cupro-nickel) planchets

The coins are extremely rare with only three held in private collections and are very much sought after.

Australia has four commemorative florins, one of which is the 1901/1951 Federation florin. Extremely popular with collectors, these four commemorative coins tell their own unique story. And that of our nation.

The 1927 Canberra Florin - the Canberra Florin was struck by the Melbourne Mint for the opening in 1927 of the first Parliamentary buildings in the national capital, Canberra. Two million florins were released into circulation. The mint was also commissioned by Treasury to strike 400 florins to Proof quality. The issue was not a sell-out and a significant number of proofs were re-melted after failing to find a home. Respected author Greg McDonald suggests the actual figure could be as low as 150.

The 1934/35 Melbourne Centenary Florin - the Melbourne Centenary Florin was the first Australian coin to have a dual date, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first permanent settlement by the Henry family of Portland Bay in 1834 in what is now the Western District of Victoria. And the 100th anniversary of the settlement by John Batman of Melbourne in 1835 in what is now the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The coin was sold for three shillings with the extra shilling premium helping to pay for public celebrations. And while the initial mintage was intended to be 75,000 only 54,000 coins were struck. A number of examples are found today in specimen quality and a handful of proof quality examples are also known.  

The 1901/1951 federation Florin - the reign of George VI involved the war years and the aftermath of a war recovery and offered few opportunities for nation's to breakout and celebrate. The Australian Government seized the moment in 1951 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Federation with the release of two million Federation Florins. (And who says Governments don’t use coinage as propaganda) Four proof quality examples are known, three in private hands and one in the Museum of Victoria where it is currently held. And featured on their web site.

The 1954 Royal Visit Florin - two million florins were struck in 1954 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to Australia. Two proof examples are held in the Museum of Victoria and one is privately held.

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CONTACT

PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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