The 1918 Perth half sovereign is truly an enigmatic coin - five decades had passed from the date it was made before Australian collectors were able to even confirm that it existed. From the time the first known example was photographed on page 5 of the April 1967 edition of the Australian Coin Reviewmagazine, the exact number struck has been the subject of conjecture. Just what happened to these tiny gold coins once they left the Perth Mint's premises has also been a burning question for many decades.
The primary reason many numismatists have questioned the official mintage figure is the fact that although the Royal Mint prepared half sovereign dies dated 1918 for the Perth Mint, curiously, no half sovereigns were actually struck at the Perth...read more
The 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin is counted among Australia's rarest decimal coins issued for circulation. Although 58.2 million 20 cent coins were struck dated 1966; very, very few of these feature what collector's describe as a "wavy baseline".
The way to identify the wavy baseline 20 cent coin is to look at the bottom section of the "2" on the tails side. The top and bottom edges of the base of the "2" on all standard 20 cent coins are straight, while on the 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin, the upper edge of the base of the "2" has an obvious wave to it.
The 1856 Sydney half sovereign with the Type 2 reverse (reference number Mc 003) is unique within the Australian gold coin series - no other circulating Australian half sovereign is known with this exact reverse design. It is extremely rare in any condition - research as at May 2013 indicates that no more than 6 unique examples of these coins are known to be available to collectors. Prior to 2005, the reverse die from which it was struck was thought to have been produced by the same matrix used to strike the 1853 Sydney Mint pattern half sovereign - one of the most important coins in Australia's numismatic history. News regarding the importance of this coin was first published in an auction catalogue in November 1981,...read more
The results of a recent auction of a world-class collection of Brazilian gold coins has confirmed to me the simple truth that Australians approach the proclamation coin series by “type”, and don’t fully appreciate the true breadth and scope of the series of coins that was framed by Governor King’s proclamation on November 17th, 1800.
We obviously think nothing of the situation where collectors pay tens of thousands of dollars for an Australian penny dated 1930, yet just a few cents for an Australian penny dated 1936 in the same condition.
I’m not convinced yet that Australian collectors think the same way when it comes to proclamation coins however.
Part I of the RLM collection of Brazilian gold coins went under the hammer via...read more
We recently picked up a rather large library of numismatic books from a deceased estate here in Perth - no less than 20 crates of books that had been in storage for around 30 years.
It turns out they belonged to a dealer that was active in Perth from the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s, one that it could be argued left town “prematurely”.
When I was initially faced with the prospect of sorting out this library, it wasn’t evident that there any books at all in it that had a lot of great information in them. I was feeling more dread at the work ahead of me, rather than excitement at the prospect of unearthing a productive gem within it!
Dead silverfish, dust, ratty old cardboard boxes falling apart - the smell alone put me off! It didn’t help...read more
The Provincial and Surban Bank (P&S Bank) opened for business on November 26th, 1872 at 165 Smith Street in Collingwood (Melbourne, Victoria). Three years of poor results right from the outset meant that a portion of the P&S Bank's capital had to be written off not long after it was established.
Management then changed to Mr Richard Willis, a gentleman who until that stage in his career had apparently been a cordial manufacturer. With a background such as that, it is perhaps unsurprising that it was proven later that Willis was "ignorant of even...read more
The Western Australian Bank (WAB) was established under a deed of settlement in Perth on June 23rd, 1841 by a small number of influential pastoralists and merchants in the Swan River Colony that were shareholders in the Bank of Western Australia (BWA). The first directors of the WAB included George Shenton Senior and Edward Hamersley Senior.... read more
Printing banknotes is just like any other mass manufacturing process – the machines work perfectly 99.99% of the time, but sometimes mistakes happen.
Misprinted notes were always destroyed immediately (or at least they should have been), which would leave a standard bundle of 100 notes one or two short.
Up until 1975, replacement notes were used to ensure complete bundles could be issued.
These replacement notes all have two features in common – their serial numbers always start with the letter “Z”, and the last digit in the serial number was always replaced with an asterisk “*”. (Hence the names "star replacement note", "starnote" or just "star".)
There are a number of reasons that the majority of collectors don’t gravitate towards coins that are damaged or notes that are heavily torn. The first is that items like this just look plain awful! We all often associate damage with accidents or injury, or even worse, with intentional vandalism.
Collectors really aren’t interested in owning much less admiring a coin or note that might’ve been damaged through rotten luck or outright malevolence, so they pass damaged items by until they see a coin or note that catches their eye.
Often, when collectors do end up owning a coin or note that has been damaged, they’ve compromised their own personal standards of quality in order to do so - they give up on having the real object of their desire, and settle on second best so they can satisfy their...read more
Just why otherwise normal people spend perfectly good money on collectible coins is a very good question.
If you’re able to understand why people collect coins, you’ll be better work in with your fellow collectors, and better positioned take advantage of the many opportunities that are available.
If you’re looking for a quick answer that will tell you how to make a fortune in this market, you’ll probably want to skip this section. Stick with it though – you’ll give yourself a much better chance of being successful if you get a good understanding of what presses the average collector’s buttons.
The instinct to collect runs deep in many of us – collecting is a compulsion that can’t always be explained clearly, let alone be controlled by rational thought!
There are as many...