All in the Family – The Coins of Ancient Rome.

This month Smalls Auctions offers a selection of highly important Roman coins including a number of very desirable Gold Aurei.

We begin with a Silver Denarius of Rome’s most famous citizen, Julius Caesar, a brilliant general and politician whose autocratic rule led to his assassination in 44 B.C. The conspirators Cassius and Brutus were defeated in 42 B.C. by his great- nephew Octavian who issued this Silver Denarius in the same year.

Another day – Another race to the top!

To coincide with the launch of the App this month, Smalls Auctions has pulled together an extraordinary field of Australian Pre-decimal coins including nine coins that rank as the finest or equal finest graded. These are all ‘Group 1’ candidates for those familiar with racing parlance. That is not to say that the other coins on offer are not in the running, with a further thirteen coins just missing out in a photo-finish for the top spot – but still being ranked in the two top grades.

The 1923 Halfpenny – Many have challenged but only one has triumphed!

In our 5th May Sale, Smalls Auctions offers the first Australian 1923 Halfpenny that has been graded in Uncirculated or Mint State quality by both major grading services. The coin, ex the ‘Benchmark Collection’ was originally graded by NGC as MS62 BN, a grade which has recently been confirmed by PCGS which also graded it MS62 BN.
The story behind the production of the 1923 Halfpenny remained a mystery for many years, and for a long time it was thought to be an unrecorded mintage of the Sydney Mint. However, the truth is equally intriguing.

Back to the Future by Max Cullen the Seer

Max Cullen is not only a well-known Australian actor but through the years has also produced a series of sardonic sketches that have perfectly captured the Australian character – warts and all.
He honed his artistic skills at the renowned Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney’s Rocks district and, with classmate Brett Whiteley in tow, would leave the studio to sketch real Australians in often unsettling surrounds, such as the local “derelicts at (a nearby) soup kitchen”.

Australia 1930 ‘English Obverse’ Penny – The ultimate rarity

By 1930 Australia was caught up in the maelstrom of the world-wide ‘Great Depression’ and with its economy in rapid retreat had little need to strike more coins. Besides a small mintage of halfpennies, no other coins were struck for circulation that year, a confusing fact that should raise the eyebrows of anyone lucky enough to have a 1930 Penny in their collection. Folklore has produced many colourful stories about how the 1930 Penny came to be struck but the answer in fact is far simpler.

Although the Australian Treasury saw no need to top up the country’s penny supply, the Melbourne Mint took it upon itself to produce three 1930-dated reverse dies in July of that year and, on August 13, used one to strike twelve specimens all with an Indian obverse taken from a master die it had received directly from the London Mint in 1922.

The Privileges of High Office

Provenance is often the stamp of approval collectors seek when they are considering the purchase of a coin, banknote or collectable.
If it can be established that an item once formed part of a famous collection then the new owner can feel satisfied that the new addition to their collection makes the grade. If the previous owner was famous or a holder of high office then the reflected glory can also add value to their collection.

Treasures from the Deep – the Douro Cargo

In the early morning of the 2nd April 1882 the Spanish passenger liner ‘Yrurac Bat’ was hugging the Spanish Coast as it approached Cape Finisterre the last landfall before it took on the perils of the Atlantic crossing on its south-west journey to Havana.
At the same time travelling north up the coast on its journey to Southampton was the Royal Mail Steamer ‘Douro’ having made a port of call at Lisbon in Portugal to disembark passengers who had travelled onboard from South America.

The Unique Colour Banknote Trials of the Ottoman Empire

In our last sale we featured a specimen of the Turkish 50,000 Livre banknote which is considered one of the world’s greatest banknote rarities. Remarkably it had turned up in Australia in an old family album holding a total of 144 specimen notes spanning the war years 1915 to 1918. It is almost certain that the notes in the album were once the reference collection of Huseiyn Cahid the Vice-President of the Ottoman Parliament who was responsible for vetting new banknote designs.

Rudolf Hess & Albert Speer – Partners in an abominable crime

While it is certainly a truism that it is the victors who get to write history, there is still not much that could be said in the defence of the Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess and the Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer at the Nuremberg War Trials. Both were prominent figures in the Nazi Central Command but yet both survived the death penalty that befell many of their colleagues for “crimes against humanity.”

The key to collecting Australian Banknotes is ‘Original Paper Quality’

It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” which might explain why one uncirculated banknote will sell for a strong price while an identically described banknote will trade for a small fraction, or won’t even attract any interest.
However, it is also true that natural beauty cannot be manufactured and so it is more likely to be the fresh originality of one of the notes in question that proves the difference. The genuine uncirculated note will be as new as the day it was printed, whereas the tarted-up pretender will have been given a cosmetic make-over to make it look much better than it actually is.