South Australia Mark 2 – bordering on the Unbelievable !

In 1856, South Australia became a self- governing colony introducing at the time one of the most democratic constitutions in the civilised world. All men of the new Colony, including indigenous men, could cast a single vote regardless of their circumstances, and secret balloting ensured that their vote was not coerced. Propertied women were granted the right to vote in 1861 but it would take until 1894 before all women could participate in the democratic process.

South Australia here we come !

The Colony of South Australia started out as a ‘free settlement’ decreed in 1834 by an Act of the British Parliament and, unlike the neighbouring colonies already established in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia, it was the plan to be convict-free. The transportation of convicts was prohibited and, so the work of building […]

The Early Plight of the Australian Aborigine – What’s changed ?

There is probably no more ongoing and divisive subject in Australia than the treatment of its original inhabitants and, this document from 1864 sheds some light on the actions and thoughts of the “Honorary Correspondents” or so-called “Protectors” appointed by the Central Board to monitor their welfare.

Two-bobs, Deeners, Zacs & Treys of the Melbourne Mint – Not !

Fuelled by the output of its gold fields, Victoria, and especially Melbourne, was a thriving economy in the second half of the 1800s. The Melbourne Mint had been turning mined gold into coins of the realm since 1871, but the colony’s commerce remained severely hamstrung by the scarcity of circulating currency, especially the lower denomination silver coins.

The Conspiracy of the 1921 ‘English’ Obverse Penny

The source of Penny varieties in the Australian Pre-decimal series throws up more conspiracy theories than the JFK assassination of 1963 and, like that terrible event, competing theories continue to be hotly debated to this day. One such debate concerns the 1921 ‘English’ Obverse Penny which is found in much smaller numbers than the ‘Indian’ Obverse Penny of the same date.

Jed Clampett takes a shine to collecting Australian coins

One of the classic television comedies from the 1960s was “the Beverly Hillbillies” which centred on the changing fortunes of Jed Clampett who went from a poor mountaineer who “barely kept his family fed” to a wealthy oil baron after “black gold” or “Texas Tea” bubbled from the earth after it was struck by a stray bullet from his squirrel gun.

The Making of Australia – Dim Sims, Croissants or an English Breakfast?

Have you ever wondered what Australia would have looked like if Captain Cook hadn’t sailed into Botany Bay on the 29th April, 1770?

It’s likely that this vast island continent would have been populated from the north and would now be a thriving Asian nation home to over 100 million people living in the hot humid reaches of its northern environs that we Australians of European heritage tend to avoid.

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.