News & Views


The 1930 Penny


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The 1930 Penny

The 1930 Penny is a part of Australian folklore. The coin is a national icon and its star status has made it one of Australia’s most valuable coins.

What is most interesting is that the 1930 Penny stumbled into fame. A review of records at the Melbourne Mint confirms that apart from the six 1930 Pennies struck to proof quality, no pennies were struck for circulation in that year. 

Many theories have been put forward as to the accidental minting of the 1930 Penny. One theory suggests that a few circulating strikes may have been minted at the same time as the Proof version, set aside and inadvertently issued years later by mistake.

The more popular explanation is also the more romantic. Mint policy dictated that the dies were prepared in readiness for the striking of a penny in 1930.

The Depression and the lack of economic growth meant that, apart from striking a small number of halfpennies and gold sovereigns, the Melbourne Mint became a tourist attraction. It is thought that a mint guide minted small batches of 1930 pennies for tourists as souvenirs of their visit.

The suspected mintage is about 1500 coins.

The accidental minting of the 1930 Penny was not discovered until the 1940s, dealers responding to the discovery by offering to pay up to 10/- for an example. However, it was not until the 1960s that the 1930 Penny became a national symbol. Newspapers were instrumental in creating that image, television played a lesser role.

Lists of Australian coins and their market prices and headlines such as “Have you cashed in on Australia’s coin craze yet?” and “A Penny could be worth £500” appeared in the 60s in the daily newspapers.

The nation’s rare coin market reacted in a frenzy as thousands cashed in on the opportunity to make big money.

In 1964, the Sydney Sunday Telegraph published a guide to the latest prices on Australian coins. It was the first time that such a list had been published and, while most pennies were fetching a small premium over face value, the 1930 Penny was listed at £50 in Fine condition. (Today that same coin would be worth close to $25,000.)

By 1965, a Fine 1930 Penny had more than doubled in price to £120. By decimal changeover, the price had moved to £255 ($510) and the 1930 Penny had captured the imagination of collectors and non-collectors alike.

Before the arrival of decimal currency in 1966, no Australian could look at a penny without glancing at the date just in case it was the elusive ‘1930’. A product of the Depression, it was everyone’s chance to make big money fast.

The craze was driven on the one hand by the lure of quick money and on the other by the pressure of the collector market for supplies. Decimal currency changeover posed an imminent and very real danger to coin collectors - the melting down of undiscovered rare pieces. Collectors keen to complete sets of all coins minted in Australia rushed to acquire the elusive pieces at rapidly escalating prices.

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available now - 1930 Penny $24,500
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sold may 2020 - 1930 Penny good very fine

We are well into the decimal era now, so no one checks for pennies in schoolyards anymore. But, the backs of old couches and the deep recesses of old furniture are still to this day routinely checked. Just in case.


Useful information for 1930 Penny buyers

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What defines the 'Classic' 1930 Penny shown above? Click here for more information.

The most popular entry point for 1930 Penny buyers is the $25,000 - $30,000 range. This is a price range that delivers the ‘Classic’ 1930 Penny.

A coin that is technically classified from ‘Fine’ up to ‘Good Fine’ on the obverse (the King’s head) with six pearls evident in the King’s Crown. A hint of the central diamond, or one side of the central diamond, also is visible.

The ‘Classic’ 1930 Penny is a well circulated evenly toned piece and following our buying tips, should be overall, aesthetically pleasing.

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What defines the 'Diamond' 1930 Penny shown above? Click here for more information.

The next most popular entry level for 1930 buyers is the $35,000 - $60,000 range. This a price range that delivers the ‘Diamond’ 1930 Penny.

A coin that is technically classified from ‘About Very Fine’ to ‘Very Fine’ with the central diamond and six pearls evident in the Kings Crown.

The 'Diamond' 1930 Penny was taken out of circulation and became a collectible earlier in its life than the 'Classic'. Evenly toned and again aesthetically pleasing.

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What defines the 'Diamond & Pearl' 1930 Penny shown above? Click here for more information.

The buyer seeking extreme exclusivity and extreme rarity can look to a financial commitment that starts at $65,000 moving up to $450,000 if you are contemplating the finest known example.

This price range will deliver the ‘Diamond and Pearl’ 1930 Penny. A coin that is technically classified from ‘Good Very Fine’ up to ‘About Uncirculated’ with a complete and strong central diamond that almost leaps right out of the coin.

Eight pearls are evident in the King’s Crown in varying degrees of strength, from smudges or hints up the highest quality examples that show a complete seventh and eighth pearl.

This is an elite coin that became a collectible very early in its life and is of the highest rarity. Waiting lists are the norm for a 1930 Penny of this calibre.

 

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

Struck in 1930, during the Great Depression and with unemployment tipping 30 per cent, the notion that coins could be saved or kept as a collectible was nonsensical. Any coin that came into a family's hands was used.

The point at which the 1930 Penny became a collectible, and was taken out of circulation, determines the extent of wear the coin sustained. And hence its price.

As with all purchase decisions, the first step is to set your budget for 1930 Pennies are available across a broad range of prices.

The most popular entry level for buyers is $25,000 - $30,000 and we refer to it as the 'CLASSIC' 1930 Penny. Circulated - but nice to the eye.

A coin that is technically classified from ‘Fine’ up to ‘Good Fine’ on the obverse (the King’s head) with six pearls evident in the King’s Crown. A hint of the central diamond, or one side of the central diamond, also is visible.

The ‘Classic’ 1930 Penny is a well circulated evenly toned piece and following our buying tips, should be overall, aesthetically pleasing.

The next most popular entry level for 1930 buyers is the $35,000 - $60,000 range. This a price range that delivers the ‘DIAMOND’ 1930 Penny.

A coin that to the naked eye, has its design details relatively intact, and is technically classified from ‘About Very Fine’ to ‘Very Fine’ with the central diamond and six pearls evident in the Kings Crown.

The 'Diamond' 1930 Penny was taken out of circulation and became a collectible earlier in its life than the 'Classic'. Evenly toned and again aesthetically pleasing.

A 1930 Penny that has undergone minimal circulation and became a collectible very early on in its life will be graded a minimum of 'Good Very Fine' and up to the finest known at 'About Uncirculated'.

We refer to it as the 'DIAMOND & PEARL' 1930 Penny.

The 'Diamond and Pearl' 1930 Penny is extremely rare, perhaps forty to fifty would be available. The coin will have a starting price of $65,000 moving up to $450,000 if you are contemplating the finest known.

The coin will have a complete and strong central diamond that almost leaps right out of the coin. Eight pearls are evident in the King’s Crown in varying degrees of strength, from smudges or hints up the highest quality examples that show a complete seventh and eighth pearl.

This is an elite coin that became a collectible very early in its life and is of the highest rarity. Waiting lists are the norm for a 1930 Penny of this calibre.

Irrespective of the quality level and the dollar level, if you are a potential buyer of a 1930 Penny then the best advice we can offer you is to only consider a coin that is visually very attractive and that has no obvious defects from its time in circulation.

The simple point - of acquiring a 1930 Penny that looks 'good' - really counts when, further down the track, it comes time for you to sell and realise on your investment.

The 1930 Penny was not discovered until the 1940s, allowing at least a decade of circulation before collectors even knew of their existence.

Which means that most of the 1930 Pennies had been handled, mishandled, dropped, scratched, or rattled around in change.

Do not accept the huge unsightly gouge. Or the massive edge knock. There will always be some signs of circulation with a 1930 Penny, but if they overwhelm the overall aesthetics of the coin, then in our view, do not buy it.

Storage, how well a coin has been preserved, is also a contributing factor to the value of a 1930 Penny. If there are tell-tale signs of poor storage, the coin should be knocked back.

The very reason why we reject more 1930 Pennies than we accept.

Our attitude with 1930 Pennies is clear.

There are a number of 1930 Pennies around, but not all of them are worth owning.

I am looking to invest in a 1930 Penny
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