Collectors of Australiana and particularly the work of the acclaimed early Australian silversmith Samuel Clayton would be familiar with his craftmanship evident in the Halloran School medals that turn up from time to time. To date eight of these coveted prize medals have surfaced, each bearing the maker’s mark ‘S. Clayton’, with the earliest dated 1819 the year that Halloran, a convicted felon, established his first private school in Sydney, and the last in 1826 when he headed-up the ‘Sydney Public Free Grammar School’.
In 1990 a collector noticed in his collection a strange Australian 1966 Proof 20 Cent like no other and, perhaps suspecting that he had been sold a ‘dud’ sent it off to the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) Canberra for their expert opinion.
After carefully examining the coin the Mint declared it a genuine Proof 20 Cent coin, but not the typical ‘Canberra’ struck proof of which 18,110 were made to be included in the inaugural 1966 Australian Decimal Proof sets, but a ‘London’ struck proof which matched the sole example the Mint held in its collection.
Viewers of a certain English television comedy would probably have a better insight into the important role Herbert Cole (Nugget) Coombs came to play in the post-war development of Australia. In ‘Yes Minister’ the guileless Jim Hacker rises to become the British Prime Minister taking along for the ride his Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, who as the gatekeeper of the information that makes it to the desk of his ‘boss’, largely steers the ship of Government.
It is quite easy for a dealer or auction house to claim that a coin is the finest known if they are acting as the sole adjudicator. ‘Industry experts’ can stand with their hands pressed to their hearts and ‘truthfully’ proclaim that the coin they are selling is by far the best that they have handled but, does that really satisfy the criteria for claiming the ultimate accolade?
This report was commissioned just two years after the opening of the Melbourne Mint and is a re-affirmation of its purpose, which was, to economically produce gold coins that would be accepted around the world on equal standing with their English-struck counterparts.
The report includes the original memorandum of 20th January 1872 which successfully argued the benefits of establishing a branch of the Royal Mint in Melbourne.
Victoria separated from New South Wales on the 1st July 1851 assuming all the roles of a new British colony including importantly the administration of justice. Over the next two years 1518 defendants came before the Victorian courts and on the 6th September 1853 the Attorney General tabled a report listing the sentences for crimes ranging from horse stealing to murder to the unusual crime of “intending to commit a breach of the peace.”
When King George V died in January 1936 his eldest son Edward VIII ascended the throne. In preparation for the long reign of a new monarch the London Mint had prepared new obverse dies for all denominations featuring a new portrait, but on his controversial abdication these were quickly destroyed.
Back in 1981, coin production at the Royal Australian Mint ground to a halt due to industrial strike action and so the Australian Government was forced to contract its British Commonwealth partners to strike coins to augment its currency. The Royal Mint at Llantrisant Wales struck quantities of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c & 20c coins while the Winnipeg Branch of the Royal Canadian Mint knocked out cupro-nickel 5c and 20c coins.
In the year 2000, with the dawning of a new millennium and the Sydney Olympics centre stage another event occurred which quitely excited collectors of early Australian Florins.
All around Sydney, exceptional examples of 1926, 1928 and 1935 florins began appearing in the windows of Sydney coin shops courtesy of a family disposing of a small hoard of coins it had inherited.
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.