Auction 106 Highlights

Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 106.

This sale we are offering a fine selection of Australian and World coins and banknotes including a very affordable Australian 1930 Penny. The 1930 Penny dies were used to calibrate the presses for the striking of the 1931 pennies and the fact that a small mintage of 1930 pennies existed was not even noticed until the 1940s when it became every treasure hunter’s dream to discover one.

How they made their way into circulation has been the stuff of folklore for generations, but the answer is probably far simpler. The coin presses at the time were extremely rudimentary with no coin counters to register mintages. Coin production figures were roughly deduced by a count of the number of bags of blanks used and for the annual stocktake it was also the common practice for small runs of coins struck for ‘experimental’ purposes to be returned to an open bag of blanks so that they would be included in the count. It is therefore probable that through the disbursement of the bag containing the ‘experimental’ 1930 pennies, Australia's best-known rarity made its way into circulation. There are certainly enough penny blanks found in circulation to support the theory that bags containing a mixture of blanks and struck coins were on occasion inadvertently released.

Another coin of that era which is even rarer but  less known is the 1931 ‘Dropped 1 - Indian obverse die Penny. In the rush to produce the 1931 pennies a master reverse die with a mis-aligned ‘1’ was used to produce a little over 40% of the mintage. It could hardly have gone unnoticed, but I guess aesthetics were of little concern at the time and production went ahead full throttle. Most were struck using an ‘English’ obverse die in combination with the ‘Dropped -1” reverse however it is the ‘experimental’ run that combined an ‘Indian’ obverse die with the ‘Dropped - 1’ reverse die that proved a true rarity with less than 50 of this variety believed to have survived. The coin in our sale graded PCGS XF45 is the second highest grade achieved for this coin. It is worth noting that the numismatic press in Australia has recently been trumpeting the discovery of a new variety of the ‘Dropped 1’ Penny which has been labelled the ‘Unicorn’ Penny. In our opinion the chronology suggests that this coin is unlikely to exist and the scholarship supporting this discovery is poor. Certainly, the pictures of an example shown to us indicate that it is a double-digit forgery. Buyer’s beware on this one.

These are but two of the rare and collectable Australian and World coins and banknotes on offer to tempt collectors as well as a small selection of Australian Aboriginal Boomerangs and Coolamons and a cameo selection of Jewellery priced to entice.

Merry Christmas from the Staff of Smalls Auctions

& Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us