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Posted on: Aug, 08/07/2014

The Rapid was an early 19th-century American vessel that wrecked on Ningaloo Reef (NW WA coast) in 1811. It was bound for Canton (Guangzhou) in China, and had a cargo of 280,000 Spanish silver dollars when it sank. 

Not only was this an incredible sum of money in those days (the weight of this silver was just shy of 8 tonnes), the survival story of the men on the Rapid is one of hardship and endurance. In addition to that, the discovery of the wreck in 1978 has been described as being one of the most incredible finds in Australian maritime history.

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Category [ Tags: Proclamation and Colonial Coins ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/07/2014

One-Pound Shinplasters

One-pound shinplasters were printed for the proprietors of a general store in Champion Bay (Geraldton) between 1858 and 1874, recent research has confirmed that while a signed, dated and issued note has not yet 

 

been sighted, they were definitely valued as a store of value and a medium of exchange in West Australia at that time.

A small number of attractive unissued examples of this note still exist - they remain a direct link to one of the Swan River Colony’s most important men.

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Category [ Tags: Pre-Federation Notes ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/06/2014

The 1926 Sydney sovereign is something of an enigma to many numismatists: published information on it is almost as rare as the coin itself.

Although the official gold sovereign mintage for Sydney in 1926 is 131,050, many senior numismatists believe that 131,000 were shipped to London as payment against debts incurred by the Australian Government in World War I. It is thought that these coins were melted down immediately upon arrival in London, and the incredible rarity of this coin certainly appears to bear that theory out.

The Last Sydney Mint Sovereigns Were Struck on August 11th, 1926

Although the last gold deposits at the Sydney Mint were made on June 30th 1926, the last sovereigns were not actually struck until August 11th.

In a description of events...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/06/2014

The 1887 Melbourne Shield is the last of the enigmatic rare dates that are among the Australian Shield sovereign series. It is one of the few Australian sovereigns that are rarer than their equivalent half sovereign, and is also one of the rarest coins ever struck by the Melbourne Mint.

It has long had a strong appeal to date collectors of Australian sovereigns, if only for its rarity alone.

It’s not yet clear what the true cause of this coin’s rarity is, however there are a few factors that may have played a role in restricting the number of coins that were struck, and further that restricted the number of coins that remain available to collectors today:

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/06/2014

Scarce 1886 Melbourne Shield Sovereign

Sovereign collectors the world over have long known Queen Victoria Shield reverse sovereigns to be very scarce, the 1886 Melbourne is the rarest Shield of them all.

Dedicated collectors of the Australian gold series who were active back in the 1970’s will readily tell you that the 1886 M Shield was one of the keys to the entire Australian series.

Interestingly, the vast majority of, if not all shield sovereigns struck in Australia were exported to India. The background to this nuance of distribution provides an insight into world trade in the 19th century. The British East India Company was actively involved in the China-India trade during this period, some of the products traded included: British cotton; Indian textiles; opium...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/06/2014

Before the Melbourne Mint's very first coins were struck during the official opening ceremony by the Governor of Victoria, Sir John Manners-Sutton, on June 12th 1872, the early months of the Melbourne Mint were fraught with difficulty. Prime among the problems the Royal Mint staff faced was the complete loss of a vital batch of dies in a shipwreck off the coast of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in November, 1871.

While making his initial preparations for the establishment of the Melbourne Mint, the Royal Engineer in charge, Colonel Fred Ward, requested that dies dated 1870 and 1871 be provided. Ward's request for dies dated 1870 was declined, and he was provided only with dies dated 1871....

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: May, 05/20/2014

Peter Fitzsimons - Batavia

If you haven't heard of the Batavia shipwreck, you truly have missed out on a story of depravity and barbarity that is known the world over. The tale of the Batavia also has consequences for the history of white settlement in Australia - throw in a good measure of controversy surrounding

the discovery of the wreck in 1963, and you have a yarn with so many threads you will want to learn every aspect of this story for months to come.

The Batavia was a “jacht” of the...

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Category [ Tags: Proclamation and Colonial Coins ]
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Posted on: May, 05/10/2014

Australian Copper Coins at Calcutta Mint

The production of Australian copper coins at the Calcutta Mint between 1916 and 1918 came about for several reasons - prime among them was an apparent British thirst for beer, the invention of the “electric” tram, as well as the deadliness of the German U-Boat.

Specimen examples of this coin are incredibly rare - our research indicates that just 3 unique examples have been sighted at auction in Australia. They serve as a link to an important era in Australia’s numismatic history - the gradual decentralisation of the production of our Commonwealth coinage. Without question, they are among the very first coins struck from master dies that have played an important role in Australian numismatics.

 

Full Capacity -...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Coins ]
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Posted on: Apr, 04/13/2014

1920 Sydney Sovereign

“The George Collection” of Australian sovereigns was auctioned by St James’s Auctions in London on March 5th, 2014.

Not only did the George collection include at least three coins that would headline any Australian numismatic auction of significance, the auction catalogue itself was a remarkable publication. It included previously-unpublished research explaining the origins and rarity of the 1920 Sydney sovereign - the rarest of all gold sovereigns, and Australia’s most valuable gold coin.

Although the 1920 Sydney sovereign has long been unanimously acknowledged as being among Australia’s rarest...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Feb, 02/28/2014

The appearance of several blank one pound notes in a series of auctions between 1980 and 2013 raised a number of questions - first among them for me was, just what are they?

Unexplained oddities such as these are one of the truly rewarding areas of Australian numismatics, a bit of legwork can go a long way in turning an oddball item into one that’s highly prized. These unissued one pound note forms draw in a number of different sections of Australian numismatics - specimen notes, error / variety notes, the switch from the reasonably large Harrison series notes down to the smaller Legal Tender notes, as well as the numismatic pandemonium that surrounded the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936.

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Banknotes ]
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