Sale 125 Preface

Monday, 26 October 2020

Welcome to our 125th major auction of coins, medals and banknotes and our 44th annual auction in November. There are two catalogues, this the general catalogue (125A) covering a wide range of material, and catalogue 125B – the important collection of New Zealand Banknotes of the Trading Banks in 115 lots, starting from lot 3001. The total number of lots for the auction is 4,699, conducted in twelve sessions over four days and nights, Tuesday to Friday inclusive.

An outstanding feature of the general sale is the important series of Australian gold coins. They are notable both for quality, which is headed up by the choice series of Sydney Mint sovereigns 1855-1870 formed by a Sydney collector over the last forty years, and for completeness led by the David Ross Collection, which lacked only the almost unattainable 1920 Sydney sovereign. David, who passed away last year aged 92, was a successful Sydney businessman who formed several Australian gold coin collections through our company from the late 1970s on. A complementary collection formed by the late Dr I.J. (Bill) Bryan, a well respected orthopaedic surgeon, is included with many high grade sovereigns and a few half sovereigns, many purchased from Jaggards. A third gold collection formed by civil engineer Terry Hosemans was built up with purchases from Barry Winsor of Monetarium. The strength of the gold in this sale will long be remembered.

The Australian Commonwealth coins include some outstanding patterns and proofs, highlighted by the milled edge threepence 1911 (lot 1003), the unique proof florin 1914H (lot 1004), and the proof Royal Mint florin 1954, ex Spink London’s Melbourne auction in 1995 (lot 1026).

The son of the late Gordon Sutherland (1919-2003) has consigned his father’s collection, which was largely built up in the 1960s and early 1970s. It is strong in British issues, with emphasis on history. Nonetheless, it was surprising to discover a Pontefract siege shilling 1648 (lot 1214), and a pattern groat of Charles I (lot 1205). The remaining vast collection of coins and notes formed by the late Martin O’Brien, a grazier from Warrumbungle, was presented as a last minute challenge for us to catalogue. Naturally we accepted, as he was a loyal client whose major collection of Australian banknotes and coins we auctioned in a sale at the Hotel Australia in Melbourne in the early 1980s.

There is a further selection from Mark Freehill’s British Colonial Collection, mainly date runs of currency issues of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His British India series from 1835 follows on from his Presidency series in the last auction. To complement this, there are a number of Straits Settlements coins from the late John Melick’s Collection.

The military medals section includes many significant singles and groups available, including part 5 of the late W.(Bill) Woolmore Collection which features a large number of Anglo-Boer War medals to South African Colonial units. There are several bravery award groups, including some to very senior officers. There is a WWI Military Cross and Bar group (lot 4037) and another Military Cross group to the Light Horse (lot 4038). There are also several bravery groups to airmen and pilots as well as an unusual variety of militaria, as well as a good selection of police badges, powder horns, powder flasks and shot flasks.

The ancients are strongly represented by Greek and Roman gold and silver issues. Highlights include the rare Carthaginian electrum trihemistater, dating to the first Punic War (lot 4399), an excessively rare Gallo-Belgic gold stater, and a very rare Motya tetradrachm (lot 4451). Miscellaneous items are wide and varied in the seventh session, highlighted by the iconic black opal “The Pacific” (lot 2402).

On behalf of the company, I would like to thank our vendors for their contributions, large and small, to help ensure this is a history making sale. 

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