1930 Australian penny part of rare auction coin set

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th December, 2018

An Australian 1930 penny with an estimated worth of $19,000 is among a collection of album mounted pennies dating from 1911-1964 (lot 18) to be offered as part of Leski Auctions Stamps, Coins & Postal History auction from noon Sunday December 16 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale.

Managing director Charles Leski says while 1930 pennies in any condition are extremely rare, it is even more unusual to see them as part of a large collection like the one for sale.

Romance has always surrounded the 1930 penny, which was never intended to be placed in circulation.

The main reason for this is believed to be that, with the advent of the 1930 Great Depression which saw more than one million Australians thrown out of work, the Commonwealth Government thought there were more than enough pennies in circulation to cover Australia’s needs at the time.

However, this did not prevent the Melbourne Mint (responsible for minting the coins of that era) from offering them to tourists who took part in organised tours of the premises.

Apparently, visitors would exchange one of their own pennies for a 1930 version which they were able to mint themselves.

These then found their way into general circulation – only to be picked up some 20 to 30 years later by collectors who realised their potential value.

At the extreme end of the scale, a proof 1930 penny (of which there are only three in private hands) is now worth more than $1 million.

Another highly collectable auction item is a Cloncurry to Normanton registered cover flown in 1927 by Qantas on its inaugural flight on this Queensland route (lot 161).

One of the founders of the originally Queensland-based company (and now a national and international carrier), Hudson Fysh, was the pilot and the envelope carried a one pound grey kangaroo stamp – the only Australian stamp of that denomination available for purchase from 1924 to 1935.

Apparently, the sender mailed several envelopes with different stamp values (eight pence was the minimum postal requirement needed in those days), so the one pound version could really be regarded as overkill and extremely valuable.

There are several King George V stamp essays and Perkins Bacon die proofs with catalogue estimates ranging from $6000 to $15,000.

One, a 11/2d bright orange (lot 223), with a complete design other than for several lines in the sky, is among the more expensive of these proofs.

An interesting lot is 252 – a 1971 seven cent purple queen stamp pair (the normal postage rate for those days) with no perforations on the left hand side.

At a $300-$500 catalogue estimate, this is an extremely affordable way for first time collectors to enter the market and shows how even low face value stamps can be become valuable over time.

At the higher collecting end, a block of four brown five pence King George V stamps(lot 182)  carries a catalogue estimate of $25,000-$30,000.  

One of the more interesting lots (402), an 1840 Great Britain penny black, is extremely rare because it is being offered for sale in unused condition with its original gum intact – a very unusual occurrence for a stamp so old.

Leski says the stamp is one of the finest he has seen in 45 years of auctioning.

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