Auction 126 Highlights
Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 126.
A highlight of the Sale is high-grade example of the 1919 .//. (Double-dot) Penny NGC AU58 from the famous Benchmark Collection. This is perhaps the highest grade known of this intriguing coin variety, but it does come with a caveat.
NGC had no issue grading the coin, but its rival PCGS was reticent to cross the coin over to their holder having been convinced by a claque of collectors that the upper dot is slightly to the side of the common position, and who decried it as just a coincidental die chip. We are certainly up for a challenge and so we decided to put PCGS to the test and sent a lesser grade coin to them to assess – and as you will have guessed it came back as a 1919 .//. Penny PCGS F15.
Of course, we believe both coins are genuine 1919 .//. Pennies and the explanation is provided in the online benchmarkcoincatalogue.com which points out that in July 1920 there were three pairs of 1919-dated Penny dies sent to the Sydney Mint from the Melbourne Mint so it could prepare for the ceremonial striking of its first penny in October of that year. These were experimental dies meant to be used solely for the purpose of setting up the presses for the official 1920 Penny production and, their output was not officially counted. To distinguish their production from the Melbourne minted 1919 //. Penny the reverses which were meant for circulation they were marked with an additional dot above the top scroll. The upper dots were applied freehand to the three reverse dies making it likely that at least two of the reverse dies with slightly different positions of the ‘dot’ above the top scroll were responsible for producing perhaps 25,000 test coins in total. The obverse dies were all the English type, the only ones held by Melbourne at the time with the resultant 1919 .//. Pennies ranging from scarce to rare depending on condition. They are a pivotal variety in the Australian Penny series being the first ‘unofficial’ Sydney-struck pennies and are a must for any serious collector.
Also in the sale are some important autographs including that of ‘Buzz Aldrin,’ now the only survivor of the Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon. One of the two signed photographs is a framed copy of the famous ‘visor shot’ which captures in reflection both Armstrong and Aldrin on the surface of the moon. To follow on with the lunar theme there is also a religious pamphlet signed by James Irwin the eighth moon walker “who thanked God for allowing us to leave earth and explore a portion of His heavens.”
For militaria buffs the selection of items relating to the titanic sea battle between the H.M.A.S Sydney – S.M.S Emden are enticing. This was Australia’s first major sea victory and visitors to Sydney can still see a gun retrieved from the wreck of the Emden proudly placed in a corner of Hyde Park. Although I have seen people sit astride the gun like Cher, you certainly cannot souvenir it, but you can own some of these extraordinary relics of Australia’s Naval History.
As usual there is a good selection of coins on offer including some affordable Roman coins.
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