Finest Known 1930 Penny Fizzles

June 6, 2011

The "finest known" from circulation 1930 penny went unsold in the recent IAG auction (74) held in Melbourne on June 2nd 2011. The estimate on value was anything upwards from $450,000 and it failed to sell at this price. Claimed as the "finest known" with "considerable mint red lustre", "lovely fresh surfaces" and the "most important copper coin" of the 20th century it's amazing that this coin was not snapped up by an astute collector. Why?

A fellow numismatist of the highest expertise in the Australian numismatic industry viewed the coin in question which did not live up to the hype surrounding it's impending sale. The coin was dull and didn't exhibit true lustre associated with a coin "with lovely fresh surfaces". It did in fact show considerable pvc residue and damage to the surfaces from poor storage methods. An impaired coin which the graders at PCGS would bodybag as a damaged coin if submitted to them for grading. Past owners must not have taken the consideration and care with their choice of storage for this valuable coin with significant historical value. The suggested grade also fell a bit short of the advertised gEF-aUNC graded in hand as just EF.

Whilst researching this article I've questioned the provenance advertised of this particular coin with the IAG catalogue itself stating this coin had sold at Spink Auction 22, 1987 for $46,000 on an estimate of $35,000 and again sold at Spink Sale 26 (Nov 1988 lot 906). Why did the 1987 buyer resell in 1988 and the sale price not disclosed? Advertising in April 2011 Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine states it was last seen at Noble's Sale in July 1987. There doesn't seem to be any continuity here in the advertising to sell this half a million dollar coin. We'll see if it pops up again for sale!

edit: 7 June 2011
It appears this coin graded gEF (and in poorer pvc affected condition) did sell at Spink Auction July 1987 for $46,500. It was then offered for $50,000 and remained unsold at Spink Auction 26 lot 906 Nov 1988 and offered for $85,000 in Status Inc. auction 181 lot 2823 Sep 1998 and also remained unsold.

Image from "The Quest for the Holy Grail", Australian Coins and Banknotes Magazine July 2003
by Carlo D'Angio

Posted by harrisk at June 6, 2011 11:43 AM
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