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Posted on: Dec, 12/24/2013

In 1796, Great Britain was at war with Republican France and her allies - not only did England’s future depend upon the courage and skill of the Royal Navy, it was also vital that the wheels of commerce continued to turn.

The Spanish and Spanish colonial silver “dollars” counterstamped for the Bank of England between 1797 and 1811 capture the turbulence of this incredible period in British history in a unique and tangible way.

The nerve of the British population was set on edge by a series of invasion attempts by French naval forces between 1796 and 1798.

The French General Lazare Hoche attempted to land in Ireland in December 1796, however the French forces were scattered by foul weather. A further French invasion attempt in Wales in February of 1797 this time came ashore, but was...

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Category [ Tags: Proclamation and Colonial Coins ]
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Posted on: Dec, 12/14/2013

This enigmatic medallion is the first in a unique set of three - they are the only medallions struck by an Australian Mint prior to 1931 that commemorates the Mint, as opposed to an event or occasion.

Although the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth Mints each struck a small number of medallions commemorating a range of important events, only these three Sydney Mint medallions relate to the Mints themselves.

According to research published by John Sharples, Numismatic Curator at the Museum of Victoria , this medal was “…issued in 1901 to publicize the Sydney Branch of the Royal Mint.”

We can imagine that the selection process for the designs to be used on a medallion intended to advertise the design expertise and production quality of the...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Nov, 11/14/2013

The Gilt Dragon was a “jacht” of the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.) that wrecked off the coast of Western Australia in 1656. Not only was this just the 25th European vessel recorded to have reached the shores of the Australian continent, it was only the second to land with a known quantity of silver coins on board.Gilt Dragon Shipwreck Dive Site

The Gilt Dragon stands apart from all other wrecks in Australia as being the “first modern discovery of an...

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Category [ Tags: Proclamation and Colonial Coins ]
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Posted on: Nov, 11/11/2013

Britain was under a great deal of strain in the opening stages of World War II - not only was success against Germany on the battlefields of Europe not guaranteed, but there was genuine concern that Hitler’s forces may one day arrive on British shores.

The Home Secretary took steps to ensure that a “fifth column” of German spies was not able to spring into action should Germany succeed in invading Britain, prime among them was the deportation of many thousands of refugees and “aliens” from Germany, Austria and elsewhere.

One load of deportees was sent via the “Dunera” to be interned at “Camp Seven”, near the Southern NSW town of Hay. Although early Australian newspaper reports portrayed the internees as being “dangerous”, historical records show...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Banknotes ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/09/2013

The 1880 Sydney Shield reverse sovereign with the inverted "A" error in the obverse legend is a true rarity within the Australian sovereign series - it is one of just six errors known on Australian sovereigns, and is one of just two Australian sovereigns that have an error in the legend. 

The tiny population of this important sovereign is in fact equal to a number of the rarest Australian sovereigns - just 15 have been sighted at auction since the first example was discovered in February 1998. Interestingly, it was not listed in Greg McDonald's Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes until the 8th edition, issued late in 2000.

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Aug, 08/07/2013

The 1858 half sovereign with the "RR" error in the reverse legend was not the first major error or variety discovered in the Australian gold coin series, nor is it even the rarest. For the moment at least, it is the most highly coveted and the most valuable. The story of it's discovery arguably kicked off the surge in interest that led to all of the other errors and varieties either being highlighted or discovered.1858 Sydney Half Sovereign RR Error

Sydney rare coin dealer Barry Sparks discovered the first...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Jun, 06/12/2013

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 Review magazine, 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.

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: May, 05/28/2013

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.

Comparison of Twenty Cent Reverse TypesThis...

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Category [ Tags: Decimal Coins & Banknotes ]
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Posted on: May, 05/14/2013

Until 2012, the 1856 Sydney half sovereign with the Type 2 reverse (reference number Mc 003) was thought to have been unique within the Australian gold coin series, that no other circulating Australian half sovereign was known with this exact reverse design

Although some keen detective work by a dedicated numismatist has since shown that is not the case, this coin remains extremely rare in any condition. Research as at August 2012 indicates that no more than 12 unique examples of these coins are thought to be known to be available to collectors.

News regarding the importance of this coin was first published in an auction catalogue in November 1981, information confirming that it was struck from a...

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Category [ Tags: Australian Gold Coinage ]
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Posted on: Apr, 04/30/2013

Proclamation Coins

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.

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Category [ Tags: Proclamation and Colonial Coins ]
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