The Meeting Place

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’. 


My husband found a 1930 Australian Penny in a cookie jar about 55 years ago. He was told it was worth a "few bob" and

he heard about a butcher on the North Shore who would pay a fair sum for one. Well my husband couldn't get to this man 

fast enough. The butcher offered him the princely sum of 200 pounds. My husband thought that was a good price and sold

it to him. Little did he know he could have doubled his money or more if he went to a genuine coin collector. He ended up 

giving half to his brother-in-law, because he told him about the butcher, and the rest he spent on buying some new clothes.

What's the old saying?: "A fool and his money, are soon parted". But he said he could boast that he did own a 1930 coin, if 

only for a couple of weeks. 


Boy HOLA what a shame