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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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Posted on: Apr, 04/23/2013

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...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Coins ]
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Posted on: Jan, 01/21/2013

The Provincial and Suburban 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 bank's capital had to be written off not long after it was established.

Provincial & Suburban Bank £10 Specimen Note

Management then changed to a 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 "...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Banknotes ]
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Posted on: Nov, 11/29/2012

The Western Australian Bank was a proud local business institution that was formed in 1841, and became part of the Bank of New South Wales in 1927. It was one of the very few Australian banks to survive the banking crisis of 1893, and for 86 years it was a trusted member of the West Australian business community.1844 Western Australian Bank Unissued One Pound

The banknotes issued by the Western Australian Bank were readily accepted right up until the Commonwealth Government took over the note issue in 1910.

Established in 1841 on the Corner of St Georges Terrace...

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Category [ Tags: Commonwealth Banknotes ]
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Posted on: Nov, 11/16/2012

Printing banknotes is just like any other mass manufacturing process – the machines work perfectly 99.99% of the time, but mistakes sometimes happen.

Misprinted banknotes were always destroyed immediately (or at least they should have been), which would leave a standard bundle of 100 notes one or two short.

In Australia between 1948 and 1972, replacement notes were used to ensure complete bundles could be issued.

These replacement notes all have one feature in common – the last digit in the serial number was always replaced with an asterisk “*” (referred to by collectors as a star). This is why they are called "star replacement note", “starnote" or just “star".)

Decimal star notes printed between 1966 and 1972 all have serial numbers that start with the letter “Z”....

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Category [ Tags: Decimal Coins & Banknotes ]
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Posted on: Sep, 09/22/2012

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.

Damaged 1923 Halfpenny

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...

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