The mystery of the Australian 1922 ‘English Obverse’ Penny – a Toss of the Coin.

Australia’s first locally minted pennies were struck by the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and bore no identifying mint mark. The Melbourne Mint had been striking silver coins since 1916 but being new to striking pennies on the much harder copper planchets it quickly went through its supply of reverse Penny dies that had been sent […]

The Beatles – a Sign of the Times!

The original owner of this signed fan photograph was a waiter at the Lennon’s Hotel, Brisbane where the Beatles stayed during the Queensland part of their Australian Tour.
Over the period of their stay he approached each Beatle separately and providing three different coloured pens he was able to secure all four signatures.

The Siege of Amsterdam by the Prince of Orange – the Best Laid Plans Come Asunder!

On the 29th July 1650, William II the ambitious Prince of Orange conspired to seize control of the City of Amsterdam in Holland from the ruling Regency in a wider plan to consolidate his power across the Dutch Republic.

William was keen to launch a punitive attack on the English who in 1649 had beheaded his father-in-law King Charles I while establishing a Commonwealth. He was therefore steadfastly opposed to the reduction in the size of the Dutch Army which had already begun in 1649 with the disbanding of its paid mercenaries at the insistence of the penny-pinching Amsterdam.

The 1846 Census – The Making of Australia.

In 1828, forty years after the Colony of New South Wales was established it conducted its first full population census.

Critical information such as the number of male and female inhabitants, the circumstances of their arrival either as a convict or free settler, their original birthplace, occupation, stated religion as well as their place of residence gave a glimpse of how the make-up of Australia had grown from its roots as a penal colony.
Further censuses of the Colonial era were conducted regularly in 1833, 1836, 1841, 1846, 1851, 1856, and 1861 showing the nation’s steady progress.

The Early Paper Currency of the Australian Colonies – the Mother of all Invention.

The lack of circulating currency was an ongoing problem in Colonial Australia with traders scrambling to find enough coins just to buy and sell their wares. The Australian colonies had long been a dumping ground for worn silver and copper coins from England but not in enough quantities to satisfy the demands of a steadily growing population and a burgeoning economy.

Ned Kelly blows his own horn!

It’s probably because of Australia’s convict heritage that a bushranger who was hanged for murder sits atop its pantheon of folk heroes. Ned Kelly is remembered as an under-dog who took on authority and, in his signature iron helmet he remains as instantly recognisable today as a symbol of Australia as does the kangaroo and emu which have long featured on the national Coat of Arms.

Donald Friend – a true Renaissance Man?

The acclaimed Australian artist Donald Friend was also an avid diarist whose intimate recording of his life has led inextricably to a loss of respect for his art since his death. The National Library of Australia commenced publishing the diaries in 2001 and, the unvarnished accounts of his pederastic lifestyle, which although evident during his lifetime, has now tainted his oeuvre and particularly his nudes of young Balinese boys, which although they could not be considered pornographic are no longer viewed as ‘innocent homoeroticism.’

The War takes its toll on Mr Littlefield – second time round.

The reverse design of the China Medal echoes the Orient as is appropriate seeing it was awarded to British and Imperial forces for action during the ‘Boxer Rebellion’ of 1900. Western missionaries and Chinese Christians were under attack from a group calling themselves the ‘Righteous and Harmonious Fists’, or the ‘Boxers’, for short who had set out to ruthlessly destroy Western cultural and religious influence in China.

Nine countries, including Britain and Australia were keen to maintain their profitable commercial interests in China and so sent military forces ostensibly to protect their citizens and quell the uprising.

Daniel Solander’s fifteen minutes of fame – two hundred years too late!

Daniel Solander, like his patron Sir Joseph Banks, was fortunate to be born in a time of great discovery.
Solander had studied at Uppsala University in Sweden under the famous naturalist Linnaeus and had brought to England a revolutionary scientific system devised by his teacher which categorised different plant species with the ‘binomial’ (two-part) Latin names which are still used today.

The Gold Coronation Medal of Edward VII – what goes around comes around

The recipient of this medal, Thomas Hughes was born in Sydney in 1863 and as the son of a wealthy grazier was sent to England to be educated at Stonyhurst College. He returned to Sydney and in 1887 established a legal practice ‘Hughes and Hughes’ with his elder brother John. Both considered themselves movers and shakers in society and so it was inevitable that they would enter the world of politics.