The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence created by colonial silversmiths Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen in 1860.

The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence created by colonial silversmiths Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen in 1860.
The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence created by colonial silversmiths Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen in 1860.
Struck in silver and presented in mint state, with proof-like surfaces.
Sir Marcus Clark KBE, sold by James R. Lawson Auctioneers 1954 • Exhibited, 'The Dollars & Dumps' Exhibition ANZ Gothic Bank Melbourne, 2007.
The Sir Marcus Clark 1860 Aborigine Threepence is unequivocally an Australian Numismatic Treasure and has been held by some of Australia’s leading coin dealers and collectors. Its reputation was firmly established in 1954 when it appeared at James Lawson’s Auctions in the sale of the collection of the late Sir Marcus Clarke, KBE. The earliest numismatic depiction of an Indigenous Australian, the quality was extraordinary, a superb mint-state, the piece selling for the massive price of £38. For the 50-plus years that I have been involved in the industry, it has always been known as “The Sir Marcus Clark Aborigine Threepence”. It is an industry icon and of the seven other known examples, this piece is the absolute finest of them all.
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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.


PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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