Auction 135 Highlights

Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 135. In this sale we have on offer a remarkable academic collection of 1813 New South Wales Dumps from Australia’s Colonial Past. We appreciate that the coins may look terrible on first inspection to those whose eye gravitates to beauty, but they are steeped in history and their important role in the story of Australia is without question. The collection begins with an intriguing E3 Dump struck in copper. Collectors of Australian Colonial coins would no doubt be aware of the contemporary forgeries of the NSW 1813 Dump that turn up from time to time. In a penal colony inhabited by many resourceful criminals, it was hardly surprising that someone would look to make copies of a coin with such a simple design. These crude forgeries only needed to be passed off to the unsuspecting in a quick transaction, and so were struck in cheap copper and then coated in a silvery lead wash to give them the look of the real silver dumps. However, not all copper dumps were crude forgeries meant to fool. The late Dr W.J.D. Mira, who was widely acknowledged as the foremost expert on Australian Colonial coins, held in his collection both D2 and E3 type varieties of dumps that were struck in copper, and which exactly mirrored the silver strikings. Mira’s work “The Holey Dollars of New South Wales - A Pictorial Record of Known Surviving Specimens,’ which was published in 1988, is still regarded as the standard reference work for collectors of Holey Dollars and Dumps. The question to be asked is why D2 and E3 Dumps were struck in copper in the first place and by whom. For a fuller description refer to lot 12 in this Sale