The Proof 1930 Penny

1930 Proof Penny Reverse August 2018
1930 Proof Penny Obverse August 2018
The Proof 1930 Penny
The Proof 1930 Penny
The British Museum
The media refers to the Proof 1930 Penny as the ‘King of Australian coin rarities’. Numismatic royalty no less. Its influence, however, extends well beyond the Australian rare coin market for the coin has generated a strong emotional attachment that goes far beyond its numismatic worth. It exemplifies a national pride that has given it, as an object of Australiana, a much broader place in history. It is the nation’s million-dollar penny and Australians from all walks of life are proud to boast the fact.
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1930 Proof Penny Obverse August 2018
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Coinworks is pleased to announce the forthcoming sale of the 'British Museum' Proof 1930 Penny.

If the Proof 1930 Penny is the ‘King of Australian coin rarities’ then the example exchanged from the British Museum is the ‘King of Kings’ for it is widely regarded as the finest of the three privately held Proof '30s with an impeccable striking and a degree of original copper brilliance that is simply breathtaking. The surfaces have not attracted any spotting, a further endorsement on its superb state. 

That the coin still has its copper brilliance separates it from all other examples and in our view places it in a class all on its own.

The Melbourne Mint recorded the striking of six Proof 1930 Pennies.

Four specimens were earmarked for institutions. The first was retained for the mint's own archives. When the mint closed its doors, the coin was sent to the Museum of Victoria where it is still held. Two were gifted to the British Museum and the final fourth coin was gifted to the Art Gallery of South Australia where it also, still remains.

Two were originally held by private collectors, both of whom must have had a strong numismatic / collector influence at the time and so had knowledge and access to the coins. (In this era, proof coins were not seen as anything other than a coin striking. They were literally worth a penny, so all you had to do to balance the mint’s books was to exchange one copper coin for another.)

In the 1980s the British Museum decided that two Proof 1930 Pennies were surplus to their requirements and exchanged one of their Proof '30s for a Cracked Die, the exchange occurring between the British Museum and an Australian Auction House.

After this exchange, the balance of privately held and institutional examples shifted to three each.

Coinworks has handled the sale of all three privately held Proof 1930 Pennies. Two are currently held in Sydney and one in Melbourne.


Up until 1984 when the British Museum example was exchanged, the industry only knew the whereabouts of one Proof 1930 Penny: owned one of Australia's great collectors and a pioneer of the rare coin industry, Syd Hagley.

In an interview conducted late in 2010, a colleague of Sydney Hagley recalled being offered the coin for just £300 in 1964. He declined the offer simply because he couldn’t afford it at the time.

His misfortune became clear in 1974 when the coin sold at auction in Los Angeles for $16,000 as part of the famed Dr Paxman Collection.

In 1982, the Proof 1930 Penny’s star status was confirmed when Australian nursing home magnate Doug Moran bought it for a reported $100,000. For Moran, it was a matter of national pride – he declared that the coin was so important it should never leave Australian shores.

The Hagley specimen was offered at public auction in 2000, where it was picked up by a Melbourne collector for $281,750.

In 2011, Coinworks was commissioned to sell the coin privately. The sale was completed that year for $1.05 million.

When the British Museum exchanged their  Proof 1930 Penny for a Cracked Die in 1984, the status of the Hagley Proof 1930 Penny changed from the ' only one known' to 'one of two known'.

The ex-British Museum (and now second known Proof 1930 Penny) came onto the open market at auction in 1999.

Acting on the instructions of a Victorian buyer Belinda Downie acquired the coin for $258,750.

The same coin came back into Coinworks hands in 2005, when it was sold to a Sydney family for $620,000. And where it still resides.

This coin will be coming to market in the latter quarter of 2018.

And the third Proof 1930 Penny privately held?

The final piece in the Proof 1930 Penny jigsaw puzzle occurred in 1997 when the third privately held coin surfaced and was offered at a Melbourne public auction.

Downie acquired the coin at auction and sold it to the Madrid Collection of Australian Rare Coins for $147,500. Where it is still held.

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