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Collecting Old Australian Coins

Walter Eigner Collecting old Australian coins provides a fascinating glimpse into Australia's history through its circulating coinage. While there is a general impression that old coins are too expensive for new collectors to collect that couldn't be further from the truth. For just a few dollars you could obtain a later year mint-state pre-decimal coin, and for less than the cost of a modern proof set you can purchase a George V (1911-1936) pre-decimal coin.

The case for certified coins

Walter Eigner The debate on certified coins vs uncertified coins has been going on in Australia since PCGS first reached the mainstream Australian market back in 2008. While today most Australian coin collectors favour PCGS graded coins, a recent incident has reaffirmed the importance of and buying certified coins and valuing them first, especially when buying on-line.

Valuing Old Coins

Walter Eigner By far the most common question we get asked is "what is my coin worth?" Perhaps you found a few old coins which is why you're here reading this article. Maybe you're a seasoned collector already looking to get more precise values for your coins than the printed catalogues can offer. Perhaps you're an investor looking to value your coin portfolio. This guide will cover all of that.

The Silver of Edward VII

Walter Eigner Although Australia had been a nation since 1901, it wasn't until 1910 that her first official coins were produced. While the Melbourne mint was producing sovereigns and half sovereigns at the time, these were technically Imperial British coins. The first coins issued specifically for Australia were struck in silver and of the denominations threepence, sixpence, shilling, and florin. These featured the Australian Coat of Arms on the reverse and the crowed bust of King Edward VII on the obverse.

Sydney Mint Half Sovereigns

Walter Eigner The discovery of gold in the colony New South Wales in 1851 prompted a surge of immigration among prospectors seeking wealth in the new colony. This lead to the production of half sovereigns in Sydney as of 1855. Only 3.3 million half sovereigns were produced from 1855 to 1869 resulting in individual years being very scarce and valuable. To add to this, the high bullion content of Sydney mint half sovereigns, which were alloyed with silver, compared with their British counterparts, which were alloyed with copper...
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The Case for Certified Coins

Protection against fake coins

The incident started out on Facebook, the collector posted up a 1923 half penny asking for opinions. The coin was an altered date fake but the date itself did not show any overt evidence of having been altered. What gave the fake coin away was the crushed rim denticles indicative of a Sydney mint strike from 1920-1922. Further analysis of the date narrowed this down to 1921.

I investigated the matter further and found that the buyer acquired the coin on eBay for $760 but unfortunately was too late to seek buyer protection. This meant that the buyer stood to lose $760.

A fake 1923 half penny that was sold on eBay
A fake 1923 half penny that was sold on eBay

A quick scan through the NumisTip sales archive for the 1923 half penny shows that while he could never have acquired a certified authentic example for anywhere near that cheap, would you rather pay $1200 for a problem-free XF45, a decidedly high grade for a 1923, or $760 for a fake coin? I know which I'd choose.

Sales history for the 1923 half penny
Sales history for the 1923 half penny

Rule 1: when buying key date coins, always buy PCGS or NGC certified coins

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