Record price paid for Australia’s ‘king of coins’
A Proof 1930 penny has been sold for $1.15 million which is an Australian record for any coin and a world record for a penny.
The Proof 1930 penny was struck as a presentation piece by the Melbourne Mint at the height of the Great Depression and only six were made. Three are held in public institutions and three are held by private collectors.
“It’s the one Australian rare coin that aficionados consider the ‘King’ of Australian coin rarities,” said managing director of Coinworks Belinda Downie.
“The buyer loves history and relives Australian history through his coin collecting and is able to acquire the very best.
“If the Proof 1930 penny is the ‘king' of Australian coin rarities then this example is the ‘king of kings’ for it is widely regarded as the finest of the three privately held Proof '30s,’ said Ms Downie.
“This record price demonstrates that the most wanted pieces are not only rare and beautiful, they usually tell an important story from history. Collectors feel a pride in acquiring exquisite objects, especially the rarest or most important pieces.”
In 1962 the British Museum received this Proof 1930 penny as a donation and was the second Proof '30 held by the Museum.
Two decades later, the British Museum decided that two Proof 1930 pennies were surplus to their requirements and exchanged one of their Proof '30s for an 1852 Cracked Die Adelaide Pound.
The exchange in 1982 occurred between the British Museum and a Sydney based Auction House that sold the Proof 1930 penny by private treaty to a local collector for a figure reputed to be $150,000. A world record at the time.
The Proof 1930 penny acquired legendary status, both for its exceptional quality and the circumstances of its striking. The coin has an impeccable striking and a degree of original copper brilliance that is simply breathtaking. The surfaces are blemish-free and have not attracted any spots and, given the time that has elapsed since its striking (more than eight decades), this is highly prized by collectors.
“Buyers are appreciating the overwhelming rarity of top Australian coins and recognising the opportunity that their offering presents. Recently we have seen a unique type of Holey Dollar sell for a record price of $500,000,” said Ms Downie.
“We are also about to launch the sale of two gold ingots minted in 1852 and each will be offered at $1.5 million, said Ms Downie. “The ingots are the very first gold pieces struck for currency purposes in the colonies of Australia making them the nation’s first gold ‘coins’.