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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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Posted on: Jan, 01/14/2014

The Unissued Type Two One Thousand Pound Specimen note is one of Australia’s most important currency notes - it is by far the highest denomination in the Australian monetary system, it is unique in private hands, it may well have a provenance linking it to Australia’s transition to central reserve banking, and easily ranks among Australia’s most valuable numismatic items.

Australia Type Two One Thousand Pound Specimen Note

 In...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Banknotes ]
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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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