Australia 1913 Penny – On the Borderline

Smalls Auctions Sale 21 August 2017 Australia 1913 Penny PCGS MS65RB Reverse

Excepting a few hoard dates, it is extremely difficult to find George V Australian copper coins that are recognised as full red by either PCGS or NGC. Very bright coins that have been traditionally sold as ‘red’ (RD) in the Australian market have been consigned to the extremely broad category of red & brown (RB) by the third-party graders. Consequently, a coin that is exceptionally bright and evenly coloured can share the same technical grade as an unattractive coin that is dark or streaky. It is our considered advice to request a picture when contemplating the purchase of a RB coin to avoid disappointment.

Australia 1916 Sixpence – The Jewel in the Crown

Smalls Auctions Sale 21 August 5th 2017 Australia 1916 Sixpence Reverse

The Australian George V 1916 Sixpence recently graded MS68 by PCGS becomes the thirtieth, and certainly the most important, Australian Pre-decimal coin to achieve this penultimate* grade. It should be noted that the other twenty-nine coins graded at this level are hoard dates of the Queen Elizabeth II series from the 1950s and 60s that still exist protected in mint rolls. Unlike the 1916 Sixpence they are likely be equalled or possibly bettered in years to come.

Signed letter by Sir Joseph Banks dated December 14, 1802

This signed letter is in the hand of the famed botanist Sir Joseph Banks and was sent from his residence at Soho Square on December 15 1802. Banks was considered by his contemporaries as the expert on New South Wales, and so the mention of the colony in the letter is of especial interest. He had been the major campaigner for the establishment of a penal colony in Australia as a way to populate the vast continent that was discovered on his voyage with Captain Cook in 1770. His role on the Cook voyage was as a naturalist and botanist and he returned to England with thousands of exotic specimens from the new land which he kept in specially constructed collector cabinets at his residence in London at Soho Square. He continued to have a lifelong interest in the Colony’s development and corresponded with many of the prominent early settlers such as John Macarthur and was a patron and confidant of governors and explorers the likes of Philip King, William Bligh and Matthew Flinders. On his death his estate contained thousands of pieces of return correspondence carefully filed which have made their way into the collections of the British Library and Sydney’s Mitchell Library.

Convict Love Token circa 1831-43 with typical stippled inscription

There are five candidates for the 22 year old ‘Barlow’ whose fate is stippled on this smoothed English penny but the lad most likely is the unlucky Thomas who was transported to the colonies for life on 30th May 1842. The earliest of the five transportees was George Mewbury Barlow who was sent to New South Wales on the 15th July 1831 having been convicted of ‘assault with intent to rob’. He was soon followed by Benjamin Barlow who was banished to Van Dieman’s Land on the 22nd July 1831 for stealing a snuff box. The next candidate was William Barlow who was sent to Van Dieman’s Land on the 7th May 1835 after having languished on the prison hulk ‘Fortitude’ since his conviction on the 9th August 1834 for burglary.

Edward VII Gold Coronation Medal edge-inscribed to “The Right Honorable Thomas Hughes, First Lord Mayor of Sydney. 1902”

Smalls Auctions June 2017 Edward VII Gold Coronation Medal presented to The Right Honorable Thomas Hughes First Lord Mayor of Sydney 1902 Rim

Thomas Hughes was born in Sydney in 1863, and fittingly as the son of a wealthy grazier was sent to England to be educated at Stonyhurst College. He returned to Sydney and with his elder brother John established a legal practice ‘Hughes and Hughes’ in 1887. They also entered the world of politics, and John being the more involved was eventually appointed the New South Wales Minister of Justice. It was not until 1898 when Thomas openly came out in support of Federation that he became more prominent in public affairs.

The Unique Australian Phillips – Fraser $20 & $50 Uncut Banknote Sheets

Smalls Auctions June 2017 Australia $20 Signed Uncut Banknote Sheet Single Note B

In 1989, Bernie Fraser the co-signatory on Australian banknotes as Secretary of the Treasury traded signature positions when he took up the position of Governor of the Reserve Bank. For a brief two-month period before Fraser took up his new appointment, (Mervyn) John Phillips, the Deputy Governor was in charge at the Reserve Bank and during this time was quick to issue $20 and $50 denomination banknotes bearing his signature and title. This is the only time that a Deputy Governor’s signature has appeared on Australian banknotes.

The 1772 Resolution and Adventure Medal in platina with original suspension loop attached

The Resolution and Adventure Medals were commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks and struck at the Soho Mint by Matthew Boulton to commemorate the embarkment of James Cook on his Second Voyage of Discovery. Banks had provided significant funds for the venture and intended to accompany Cook on the journey to the Antarctic and Pacific along with a group of friends. However, he fell out with the Admiralty when the cumbersome additions he had paid for to comfortably accommodate his party made the vessels dangerously unseaworthy and unfit for such a long voyage. The medals had already been struck when Banks withdrew from the voyage in a fit of pique, and so were put to their intended use.

Official Card from Sandringham Castle, Norfolk Inscribed “With Best Wishes from George V”

Have you ever tried to impress your dinner guests by leaving that Christmas Card from the Queen on your fridge door? They probably won’t be convinced of your immediate Royal connections with this greeting message from her grandfather King George V (after all he died in 1936) but it still bears an interesting historical signature.