Italian migrants numismatic collection goes under the hammer

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 19th May, 2017

Gabriele and Caterina De Meneghi landed in Australia with nothing but a couple of leather suitcases as part of the post World War II Italian immigration push, full of hope and more than a little trepidation.

Arriving on March 27, 1960 aboard La Flamina and docking at Port Melbourne, Gabi had been a member of the Italian partisans and was looking forward to a better life for his wife and two young children away from war-torn Europe.

Initially, the family settled in Noble Park and almost immediately his passion for collecting began.

Gabi loved searching for bottles, guns, opals, cameras, stamps and numismatic material and spent many happy hours with the children scouring the countryside and haunting local Melbourne dealers for unusual finds.

The couple worked hard in construction and retail and also became involved in property development.

Eventually, as a result of their commercial success, the family moved to Toorak. For Gabi collecting was both a joy and social outlet and, although he did 15 years ago, is still fondly remembered by dealers and members of the various clubs to which he belonged.

His note and coin collection was collected over 35 years and some of it is included in Mossgreen’s latest Coins, Medals and Banknotes auction from 2pm

Tuesday May 23 at 926-930 High Street, Armadale.

The coins for sale from his collection include gold sovereigns, pre-decimal coins including a threepence 1922/21 over-date through to modern silver, uncirculated and proof coin sets.

Notes in the auction include a one pound from the Sydney Gold Escort Company, a two shillings note from the Hay internment camp, an 1879-1911 five pound Western Australian Bank Perth example, and a 1926 half sovereign from the Commonwealth of Australia.

Among the medals is a group of 17 from 1939-1975 (covering World War II, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam service) and an Order of Australia, belonging to Warrant Officer Gerald (Bill) Neagle. 

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