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AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: Rare Penny Never Should Have Been Minted Sold at Auction

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#AceHistoryDesk – Rare Australian penny released during the Great Depression sells for nearly $60,000

A gold coloured coin with the words ONE PENNY on it
The Australian penny from 1930 is considered one of the rarest in existence. (Supplied: Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers)none

A rare 1930 Australian penny that was never meant to be minted has sold for just under $60,000 at auction.

The 1930 penny was sold at a national online auction last night for $59, 415 to a Western Australian bidder, who intends to pass the coin on to his grandchildren.

Auctioneers believe it is a record sale price for a circulated Australian penny in ‘good/fair’ condition. 

Head of fine art and luxury at Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers Amanda Benson told ABC Radio Adelaide the penny has the lowest mintage of all pre-decimal Australian coins in existence. 

“They were released just after the stock markets crashed in 1929 and what’s special about those is that they were never actually meant to be released,” she said. 

A gold coin with the side profile of a man wearing a crown
King George V is featured on the back of the 1930 Australian penny.(Supplied: Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers)none

The federal government canceled the orders for pennies in 1930 as the Great Depression took hold.

“Interestingly, the reason they were released was because the Melbourne Mint used a test run of around 1,500 minted coins just to fill the 1931 order,” Ms Benson said. 

“They think 3,000 were minted but only 1,500 were used to bolster the 1931 supply. 

“All of those 1,500 would have gone into circulation, which means to get any of the 1930 coins that have any sort of reasonable condition is very rare.” 

Ms Benson said it was not until the pre-decimal currencies were phased out in 1966 and enthusiasts began putting their coin collections together that anyone realised the 1930 coin was missing. 

“It was only then that people realised how rare they were,” she said. Amanda Benson from Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers says the coin was sold to a bidder in Western Australia. (Supplied: Amanda Benson)none

In 2019, a proof of the 1930 Australian penny reportedly sold for $1.15 million. 

According to the Royal Australian Mint, a proof coin is “a carefully struck coin using special dies, with frosted images on a mirror-like background”. 

Proof coins have not been released for circulation and are of the highest quality. 

Two more recent Australian coins have jumped in value since the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

A 2012 $2 coin featuring a red poppy, which there was only 500,000 released, is now selling for more than $300. 

And a $2 coin with purple stripes commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, which there was a million released in 2013, is selling for up to $180. 

Ms Benson said there was growing interest in alternative investments at the moment. 

“Ironically it’s during times when the stock market tends to be a little bit more tumultuous that people look for alternative investments like coins, paintings, memorabilia,” she said. 

“At the moment, because the stock market is quite difficult to predict, people are looking for other investments like this.”

ABC (HISTORY) NEWS

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Oct.03: 2022:

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