Downies Auction 320 Prices Realised 321 Consignments

A grand event for Australian numismatics, Downies Australian Coin Auctions Sale 320 was an outstanding success!

Comprising more than 3,500 lots, our last auction for 2015 was highlighted by a number of exquisite English Hammered pieces, which as expected sold well above estimate. We saw nearly a million dollars’ worth of material go under the hammer with 87% of lots sold – once again emphasising our industry leading clearance rates. Prices realised are now available online.

Highlights included:

Lot 2683 - Charles I (1625-1649) Pound, Oxford Mint

Lot 2666 – Charles I Oxford Pound Est. $7,500 – Sold $16,000

Lot 2669

Lot 2669 – Newark Besieged Shilling Est. $1,500 – Sold $2,600

Lot 2687 - Newark Besieged (1645-May 1646) Ninepence 1646 (S3144; N2641)

Lot 2670 – Newark Besieged Ninepence Est. $2,000 – Sold $3,200

Lot 2689 - English Civil War, Pontefract Besieged (June 1648-March 1648/9) Round Shilling 1648

Lot 2672 – Pontefract Besieged Round Shilling Est. $5,000 – Sold $8,000

Lot 2690 - English Civil War, Pontefract Besieged (June 1648-March 1648/9) Octagonal Shilling 1648

Lot 2673 -Pontefract Besieged Octagonal Shilling Est. $5,000 – Sold $8,500

Preparations for our next auction are already well underway. To be held at Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne on the 3rd and 4th of May 2016, consignments for Sale 321 are now being accepted. Please contact us today to arrange an appointment at our Melbourne head office, at either of our retail stores, or in your home or office. Consignments close early March.

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Downies Presents The Royal Australian Mint’s Master Collection

An auction unlike any other in Australian history, Downies is delighted to present the Royal Australian Mint’s Master Collection – an assembly of ‘production standard master’ coins used to ensure the highest possible quality in the creation of Australia’s decimal coinage.

Royal Australian Mint Master Collection Catalogue

Uniquely Australian and never offered before!

The Royal Australian Mint holds just a single example of every issued Australian circulating and collector coin type as a production standard master coin. Each master coin is not included in the official mintage figure and has never previously been offered for public or private sale. With over 1,100 Royal Australian Mint master coins on offer, our next auction represents an outstanding opportunity for collectors to secure an important piece of the RAM’s proud 50-year history.

What makes these coins so special?

Two samples are selected from the first batch of coins struck. One of those samples is then selected as the quality standard and stored at the Mint’s quality control area. This coin is marked in red to identify them as the quality standard. The other coin is used by the Mint’s production team on the factory floor in order to check the quality of a sample taken from each subsequent batch of coins struck. After 5 years the coin used by the production team is destroyed, leaving only the coin stored in the quality control. This is therefore the only legal tender coin from a particular strike to not be included in the overall mintage figures, making it unique and of specific significance.

Updated Auction dates – Tuesday May 26 – Thursday May 28

To accommodate this unprecedented offering from the Royal Australian Mint, we have moved our next Downies Australian Coin Auctions sale to May 26 to 28 – to be held at the Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne’s east. Viewing of the auction will take place at Downies Head Office in Mitcham for 5 days from May 20. Visit our Contact Us Page for location details.

The Royal Australian Mint’s Master Collection Catalogue

You can view the complete list of items from the Master Collection at our Auction 319A Page, where you will find downloadable PDFs of the catalogue itself, as well as a website version that includes pictures of every coin offered in the Master Collection.

Auction 317: Amazing Predecimal Proof Consignments

Some amazing lots have been consigned to Auction 317, with perhaps none more spectacular than this array of astonishing Australian Predecimal Proofs.

1925 Halfpenny FDC

1925 Halfpenny Proof FDC

Struck only for archival purposes, and for distribution to other mints and public institutions such as museums, as with virtually all pre-1955 FDC/Proof coins, the 1925 Halfpenny FDC is extremely rare. Indeed, it is believed that this important Roaring 20s Proof/FDC coin before you is one of perhaps 6 to 12 examples struck. Seldom available to collectors, its appearance in Downies Australian Coin Auctions Sale 317 represents a crucial opportunity.

1937 Crown FDC

1937 Crown Proof FDC

Struck to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI, the 1937 Crown FDC is one of Australia’s most desirable predecimal rarities. It is believed that the Melbourne Mint struck a mere 250 pieces for the infant numismatic collector market of the 1930s, and, if its extremely infrequent appearance on the market is any guide, the number remaining in existence must be minuscule. A superb example, and a supreme acquisition for the serious Australian predecimal collector.

1938 Crown FDC

1938 Crown Proof FDC

An extraordinarily important Australian rarity, seldom seen on the market, the 1938 Crown FDC was struck at the Melbourne Mint in the tiniest of numbers. The second date of Australia’s 2-year predecimal crown type, it is thought that the mintage of the 1938 Crown FDC was perhaps as low as 100, with far fewer than that every released. Experts suggest that the number in existence could be as low as 20. With so few remaining, and this coin one of Australia’s most desirable Proof/FDC strikings, it goes without saying that the 1938 FDC is very rarely available to collectors.

1927 Florin aFDC

1927 Canberra Florin Proof aFDC

The 1927 Canberra Florin is known as ‘Australia’s most beautiful coin’. Australia’s first commemorative, celebrating the opening of the original Parliament House in 1927, this eye-catching George VI type was struck for circulation, but also struck to Proof/FDC standard in tiny numbers for collectors. Rarely offered, experts have proffered that perhaps as few as 100 examples of the 400-coin mintage remain in existence.

1951 Federation Florin aFDC

1951 Federation Florin Proof aFDC

An exotic ‘off metal’ striking, with the 1951 Federation Florin also exclusively struck in silver, the coin before you is believed to be one of only four examples of this key King George VI commemorative struck in cupro-nickel. Described as a Proof or a Pattern, and struck at the Royal Mint in London, this exceedingly rare coin is the headlining act of Downies Australian Coin Auctions Sale 317. A seldom seen, immensely important opportunity for the serious Australian predecimal collector.

Choice Change Challenge – An unusual Platypus for an unusual year

Here we have another entry from Choice Change Challenger Alex – he has done some digging and unearthed an interesting story behind a year that keeps showing up during The Challenge.

As Australia basks in the glory of only the third ever 5-0 Ashes cricket whitewash, it reminds us of the “King” of the Australian 20c series, the 2001 Donald Bradman issue – and, subsequently, our attempts to “Collect the Commemorative”…!

As you might understand, George and I tend to look at every coin we receive in our daily change. As such, we have noticed that as time goes by, a trend seems to be emerging – of all the 20c coins uncovered by our hunting, it appears that when we receive a 20c platypus coin … it is almost invariably dated 1981. Yes, a thirty-three year old, Platypus 20c coin! I’m sure it is not difficult to imagine our continued frustration at this as we attempt to hunt down those elusive Australian commemoratives. In this case, however, frustration has led us to uncover an interesting tale…

Three mints, an industrial strike, 3.5 claws… the story behind one of Australia’s largest mintage 20c dates is an intriguing one. During 1981, an extended period of Industrial Action at the Royal Australian Mint caused a cry for help to fulfil the year’s quota for new coinage. Thus, the Royal Canadian Mint and The Royal Mint were sought out for assistance across all denominations. In terms of 20c coins however, it was believed that only the Canadian and Canberra Mints struck anything dated 1981. Whilst this view was soon altered, it was actually the Canadian Mint strikes that provided one of the more intriguing and sought after varieties of the 20c series – the 3.5 Claw Platypus!

Twenty Cents 1981 Canadian Mint 3.5 claw

Twenty Cents 1981 Canadian Mint 3.5 claw

Distinguishing the Canadian Mint-struck 1981 Platypus 20c coins from those struck elsewhere, it is on the Platypus’ left claw, directly beneath the ‘2’ in 20c that this variety can be recognised. Whilst Platypodes, both in the wild and numismatically, are known to have four claws, the Canadian minted platypus coins possess only three and a half claws! An easy variety to spot, once you know what to look for, this oddity provides a highlight for any 20c collector! Cataloguing today at $170 in Unc, this issue offers an interesting juxtaposition to a 20c date that George and I are finding everywhere!

But what about those coins purportedly struck at the Royal Mint? It would seem that genuine, confirmed numbers are difficult to track down. And, there are references that suggest that no 1981 20c coins were struck by the Royal Mint. However, just a few months before the end of 1982… The evidence was found. A very excited collector (no doubt!), walked into a Sydney Coin store with a 1981 20c coin, struck on a scalloped-edged Hong Kong $2 blank! Upon further investigation, it was unearthed that, at the time, The Royal Mint in Wales was striking the Hong Kong $2 coins and thus, by simple deduction, it became clear a third Mint churned out Australian 20c coins in 1981! Today, there are just 6 or 7 examples of this extreme rarity out in the marketplace. And, coincidentally, Downies Australian Coin Auctions has one example consigned in their February Sale! For more info, or to see this coin, click here.

Twenty Cents 1981 on a Hong Kong Two Dollars blank

Twenty Cents 1981 on a Hong Kong Two Dollars blank

At The Block: What treasures will be found in Downies coin Auction 314?

The second sale in Downies Australian Coin Auctions’ 50th anniversary year is ramping up. Viewings commenced on Tuesday the 3rd of July and are currently underway, with Sale 314 itself running from July 9th to 11th. Interest is obviously high thanks to the ongoing anniversary celebrations, but there is another reason. In the first sale of the year, Sale 313, two extremely rare, if not unique, previously undiscovered  mules* were found – an numismatists around the globe wait with bated breath to see if a similar discovery will be made in Sale 314.

The first of the two mules in question was a halfpenny mule with a British obverse partnered with a New Zealand reverse, dated 1965 and graded brown EF, is pictured below:

Halfpenny 1965 muled with British Halfpenny obverse

The second, truly astonishing, mule was an Australian 50c piece with the appropriate 1977 Elizabeth II obverse, but the standard Stuart Devlin coat of arms reverse. Every 1977 50c piece was intended to bear a special commemorative design to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Queen and the coin in question simply should not exist – and there are no records in standard collecting guides of it doing so prior to Sale 313 this year.

Fifty Cents 1977 coat-of-arms reverse instead of the normal silver jubilee reverse (weight 15.41gms)

Esteemed numismatic writer Dr. Kerry Rodgers recently wrote an excellent article on the matter – published on Numismaster.com here.

As for Sale 314 – what will it bring? Could Australian numismatics be lucky enough to discover yet more heretofore unknown rarities? Let us know what you think in the comments.

*For those who are wondering, in numismatics a ‘mule’ is a coin “whose obverse die is not matched with its official or regular reverse die” (take from McDonald’s Coin guide).