Auction 161 Highlights
Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 161.
As I sit in the relative safety of Australia watching in horror at the war developing in continental Europe it appears that the long strides that civilisation made in the last eighty years are in danger of being swept away. Just like the Hitler inspired invasion of Poland in 1939 by Nazi Germany kicked off World War II, the whim of one man to annex the Ukraine could well again prove to be a bellwether for a much larger conflict.
Should the Russian forces prevail the NATO Treaty nations that border Russia and the Ukraine would be but a line in the sand away from an empowered Russian Army led by a President with delusions of rebuilding the Russian Empire – and the chances of an escalating confrontation would seem inevitable.
Of course, with the threatened use of nuclear weapons this is potentially a step up from the momentous conflicts of past centuries, including WWI and WWII, when combatants lined up in battle in relatively close proximity.
It now seems incredible that in the 19th Century Australia responded to the possibility of a Russian attack on Sydney with the building of fortifications at Bare Island and Fort Dennison. Today they are tourist destinations that would provide no cover from any missiles lobbed our way.
Reminiscent of the 1940s, huge numbers of refugees are on the march many with just the clothes on their back. And just like in the 1940s Australia has put its hand up to take in its fair share of people dispossessed by war but hopefully this time there will not be a parsimonious aspect to our charity. It is a little-known fact that in the early 2000’s the Reserve Bank of Australia turned quite a handy profit selling off millions of dollars of gold coins confiscated from new immigrants who arrived in Australia post WWII hoping to use their gold stash to fund a new future. It seems charity only goes so far.
Gold is of course the universal currency in times of turmoil and this month we have on offer ten gold sovereigns estimated at around their bullion price. But there is also a remarkable 1856 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign which deserves the accolade as one of the finest known. Of seventy-nine coins submitted to NGC and PCGS for grading just two coins have claimed a coveted MS holder. NGC has one example graded MS63 and PCGS an MS62. Comparing our coin to the photo file of the MS62 on the PCGS website it certainly looks a superior coin and like that coin it is slightly under struck on the curl above Victoria’s ear. This is not wear but sometimes inexperienced arbiters at the grading services can treat it as such and so the old adage of “it will either grade AU or MS62” may apply.
The Sale also includes a good range of gold jewellery as well as some select antiques as well as some affordable Australian and World coins and banknotes.
Hopefully, our Sale will help to take your mind off the events developing overseas.