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The Australian Historical Coin Collection

1757 Holey Dollar


The NSW 1813 Holey Dollar is known by less than 300 examples. Of those coins, all but one was struck from the Bust type Spanish Silver 8 Reales, with a single example produced from an earlier type – the Pillar Dollar. The original coin, dated 1757, is the earliest 8 Reales used to create Australia’s first locally struck coin, and among the most valuable Holey Dollars.  It would fetch over $100,000 if offered today.

1857 Sydney Mint Gold Sovereign

The first date of the 1857-70 Type II series, the 1857 Sydney Mint Sovereign is priceless evidence of the 1850s Gold Rush – and a great rarity. Struck at Australia’s first mint, bearing unique designs to distinguish Sydney coins from British issues, the reverse was emblazoned with ‘AUSTRALIA’ and ‘SYDNEY MINT’ with the obverse graced with a distinctive portrait of Queen Victoria. The first of its kind, the lowest mintage Type II issue (just 499,000 struck) is valued at $30,000 in BU. A Proof is worth $150,000!


1823 Macintosh & Degraves Shilling

Australia’s first Trader’s Token, the 1823 Macintosh & Degraves Silver Shilling is sought after for its extreme rarity and huge historical value. Struck for the Cascade Saw Mill in Van Diemen’s Land, and the only shilling token created for use in the colonies, it is believed that this token was never actually issued. With virtually every example melted down, it is known by 15 privately owned examples. Seldom offered, a Mint state example would be worth over $75,000.

1937 Pattern Penny

Known as ‘Australia’s rarest penny’, the 1937 Pattern Penny is one of the nation’s most important coins. It was struck at the Royal Mint in London as part of the Great Recoinage – a complete revision of Australia’s currency originally planned for the first coinage issue of Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936. Known by just ten examples, and valued in 1992 at $55,000, this high-profile rarity would now command a price of more than $250,000.


1788 George III Spade Guinea

The forerunner to the sovereign as Britain’s premier gold coin, the Spade Guinea is a sharp reflection of the nation’s earliest colonial heritage. Circulating extensively in Australia during the 1790s, the Spade Gold Guinea is one of the most sought after coins included in the Currency Proclamation of 1800. Defined by a superb George III obverse portrait, and the distinctive Shield reverse, this handsome gold coin is naturally targeted by collector and historian alike.

1910 Australian Florin

The first of its kind, the one-year-only sterling silver 1910 Florin was part of the first annual issue of Australia’s first national currency system. A unique type, it is the only Australian coin of its denomination to carry the portrait of King Edward VII. Struck at the Royal Mint in London in the last year of Edward’s short reign, it is one of the most desirable coins in the 1910-64 pre-decimal series. In Proof, the 1910 Florin is valued at $45,000.

1808-1815 Gold Pagoda

The Gold Pagoda is symbolic of the importance of India as a lifeline to the infant colony of New South Wales. India, and particularly Madras, was a safe haven for British ships, and the last port of call on the way to Britain’s new southern outpost. Struck in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, the Gold Pagoda was highly valued in the gold-starved colony and, acknowledged as among Australia’s first coins, it was included in the Proclamation of 1800 at a value of 8 shillings.

1850s Taylor’s Sixpence Pattern

Following his ill-fated attempt to establish a currency system during the Gold Rush (the famous 1853 Port Phillip Gold Patterns) London diesinker W.J. Taylor struck a tiny number of trial sixpences in a variety of metals. These patterns are now considered rarities of the highest order. Of strong national and international significance, an original 1850s Taylor’s Sixpence Pattern, rarely available to collectors, is today valued at over $30,000.

1946 Perth Mint Shilling

Given its current status as Australia’s precious metal specialists, it is ironic that The Perth Mint, which opened in 1899, only ever issued one silver circulation coin. Distinguished by a dot before ‘Shilling’, and one of the lowest mintage issues of any George VI type (only 1.3 million struck), The Perth Mint 1946 Shilling is naturally hotly pursued as a scarce, unique type.

1938 Crown

Australia’s largest and heaviest issued coin, the low mintage 1938 Crown is scarce and sought-after. One of only two crown dates, comprising nearly 1oz sterling silver, this 38.5mm type followed the 1937 Crown – issued for the coronation of George VI. Belatedly realising the unpopularity of the type as a circulation coin, the Melbourne Mint closed the 1938 Crown mintage at just 101,600. Valued at $650 in BU, a Proof (known by just 100 examples) is worth $60,000.

WWII Internment Camp Token

Compelling artefacts of Australia’s wartime history, WWII Internment Camp Tokens are also sought after rarities. With Australian coins banned for fear they may be used to help prisoners escape, the Department of Army had bronze 5/-, 2/-, 1/-, 3d and brass 1d tokens struck for use in Internment Camps. As general circulation of these tokens would have contravened Federal law, most were destroyed at the end of WWII. A scarce series, a 5/- token is, for example, valued at $5,000.

1930 Australian Penny

A rarity of world standing, the 1930 Penny is Australia’s most desirable coin. The coin ‘not meant to be struck’, its creation is attributed to the accidental issue of coins struck during die testing. It is believed 3,000 were struck, with just 1,500 still in existence. This rarity has ensured a soaring market value, with a Very Fine 1930 1d rocketing from $14,000 in 1997 to $50,000 today. A 1930 1d Proof, known by six examples, is valued at over $750,000 and will surely be Australia’s first A$1million coin.