1938 Melbourne Proof Crown PCGS PR63
Obverse: Bust of King George VI to left, legend around
Reverse: Crown above date, legend around
Nett Mintage: 52 / 100
This coin is the finer of just 2 examples graded by PCGS to date.
The 1937 crown was warmly received by the Australian public when it was released into circulation in May 1937. A number of contemporary newspaper reports from across the country discuss members of the general public paying a premium over face value so they could add one to their collection or keep it as a family memento.
The popularity of the crown as a circulating coin eased somewhat when they were struck again in 1938 - they had lost their status as a one-year issue, and the reality of carrying around such a large coin in a pocket or purse hit home.
As a result of this unpopularity, the number of crowns struck for circulation during 1938 was a modest fraction of those struck during 1937.
The same cannot be said for the proofs however, as 100 proof examples were struck both in 1937, and in 1938.
Collectors of Australian pre-decimal proofs however are well aware that the 1938 proof crown is substantially rarer than the 1937 proof crown. This can be explained by a large drop in the number of coins that were actually sold in 1938, as opposed to 1937. Research by the Victoria numismatist John Sharples, published in Volume 5 of the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia (page 21), indicates that only 52 of the 100 proof crowns struck during 1938 were actually sold, the clear consequence being that the remainder were destroyed.
This huge difference in rarity can also be seen in the frequency with which these coins have appeared at auction over the past decade. My research indicates that while 35 1937 proof crowns have been offered for sale via public auction in Australian between 2008 and 2018, only 6 1938 crowns have been seen over that same period of time.
The last proof 1938 crown to sell via auction was seen in a Noble Numismatics sale in November 2016. Although that coin had not been graded by PCGS, it made a hammer price of $25,000, for a nett price of $29,813.
At the date this is being written, PCGS had graded 21 proof 1937 crowns, and only 2 proof crowns dated 1938. (Click the PCGS icon below to access the most up to date population data this coin has).
As the images and grade indicate, this is a superb example. Despite the weight and fragile surfaces a proof coin of this size has, it retains a mirror finish right across both sides. The cross on the orb is sharp, as are the high points on the fleur de lis.
Difficult to improve upon, it is a sublime memento dating to the early years of the reign of King George VI.
Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.
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