Sale 133 Realises Over $5.6 Million

Sunday, 13 August 2023

The outstanding highlight of this auction was the sale of the John (Jack) French World War II Victoria Cross group (lot 4058; est. $1,650,000) for $1,781,200 (hammer price of $1,460,000 plus 22 percent buyer’s fees). The final price paid is a world record for a medal group of any kind and places the group at the top of all Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians ever auctioned. The total for the auction was $5.6 million with a clearance rate of ninety percent for the room auction and over seventy percent for the eSale.

The best of the Persian daggers sold at multiples of estimate for example (lot 384, est. $700) sold for $3,416. In world banknotes the hoard of Zimbabwe inflation notes (lots 604 to 658), the 55 lots with total estimates of $46,750 realised a total of $155,818 and top priced individual lot was (lot 655; est.$2,500) at $11,590 for a pack of 100.

Top price in historical medals went to the Resolution and Adventure medal 1772 in silver (lot 1286; est. $12,000) at $12,810. In Australian pre decimal coins, the four 1930 pennies went to the same floor bidder at $93,940 total (lots 1487-1490). The 1922/1 overdate threepence (lot 1478; est. $2,000), realised $3,904. In decimal coins a perfect 1966 proof set (lot 1038; est. $350) created a record price of $1,586, whereas a similar set (lots 1041), realised $610. Top price in this section went to the 2001 proof set struck in gold (lot 1093; est. $9,000) at $12,200.

The Tuesday night session opened with a bang when the NSW holey dollar (lot 1556; est. $30,000) realised $79,300. The highest price went to the proof Sydney Mint half sovereign 1857 (lot 1561; est. $60,000) at $80,520. The excessively rare proof only year half sovereign 1890 Melbourne (lot 1562; est. $40,000) realised $75,640. The finer Adelaide pound (lot 1558; est. $20,000) realised $21,350. An 1855 Sydney Mint sovereign (lot 1563; est. $7,000), realised $10,980, while a very worn 1855 half sovereign (lot 1582; est. $5,000) realised $8,540 to a bidder in the room. A clear overdate half sovereign, 1861/0 (lot 1587; est. $900) realised $3,172. An extremely rare shield sovereign, 1880 Sydney, inverted A for V variety (lot 1610; est. $6000) realised $6,100. The very rare date George V sovereigns held their ground up to recent realisations. The 1922 Sydney (lot 1703; est. $30,000) realised $30,500 and the 1926 Sydney again took top billing (lot 1711; est. $30,000) at $32,940. One of the finest known 1882 Sydney half sovereigns (lot 1730; $15,000) realised $18,300 as did the 1887 Melbourne (lot 1736; est. $15,000).

The Proclamation coins the next morning saw some strong results headed up by an EIC Madras gold two pagodas (lot 1866; est. $1,500) that realised $10,370. A Peru silver eight reales 1810 (lot 1890; $750) realised more than double estimate at $1,952. That afternoon an early one ounce gold ingot by Harringtons (lot 2131; est. $2,300) realised double estimate at $4,880 reflecting a surging interest in stamped ingots as collectables beyond their bullion value as did MG (Matthey Garrett) ingots of two ounces for example (lot 2127; est. $4,800), the result was $7,198. Indian coins followed with a well struck copper paisa of Tipu Sultan of Mysore (lot 2299; est. $100) realising $1,220. Another with the Elephant left (lot 2296; est. $100) brought the highest price at $1,586. 

The late afternoon session was devoted to British silver and bronze coins, from Ancient Celtic to George III. Then in the night session the series continued followed by the gold issues. Here a gold Noble of Edward III set a new record for our sales (lot 2570; est. $5,000) of $16,470, followed closely by a William III guinea (lot 2575; est. $5,000) at $15,860, both going to local collectors. The Alan J. Hanneman Collection of farthings generally realised around estimate with a few exceptions for rare varieties, e.g. a proof 1799, (lot 2443, est. $400) at $2,684.  Top price in the British went equally to the Cromwell silver crown and half crown at $19,520 each (lots 2396, 2397; est. $15,000 and $16,000). Top price in the S.J. Green hammered went to a canopy type William I penny (lot 2344; est. $1,500) at $2,440. 

The Thursday morning sessions were taken up with world silver and bronze coins followed in the early afternoon session by world gold coins. A British trade dollar 1895 (lot 2671; est. $300) realised $1,342, this and the other 36 dollars from the Alan J. Hanneman Collection realised over $11,000 against an estimate of $4,850.

A British West Indies St Kitts, SK countermarked two sous or ‘Black Dog’ (lot 2690; est. $60) realised $732. A Chinese small round ingot from the James Gardiner Collection (lot 2700; est. $1,500), realised $7,320. A Chinese birds over Junk dollar (lot 2713; est. $6,000) realised $9,150. Three silver nine piastres of Cyprus dated 1913, 1919 and 1921 (lot 2719; est. $350) realised close to ten times estimate at $3,172. A Hong Kong silver dollar 1867 from the Hanneman Collection (lot 2736; est. $400) realised $2,928. A lot of 38 mainly tin money issues of Malaya (lot 2768; est. $300) from the Ken O’Brien Collection realised $3,172. The Sumatra proofs from the Ken O’Brien Collection (lots 2770 -2773, 2775-2776) realised ten to twenty times estimate after spirited room and online bidding, e.g. a gilt proof keping 1798 (lot 2773; est. $200) realised $4,880 as did a gilt proof two kepings 1804 (lot 2775; est. $500). 

A good very fine Fort Marlborough silver two sukus 1784 (lot 2777; est. $1,250) realised $3,904. A series of Singapore merchant tokens (37) (lot 2779; est. $500) realised $4,148, both previous lots from the Ken O’Brien Collection. Further impressive Ken O’Brien Collection lots were a proof doit of Batavia (lot 2797; est. $200) at $1,708; ten silver rupees of Java (lot 2803; est. $750) at $2,928 and the most impressive result was for the Madura Island, Sultanate of Sumenep counterstamps (lot 2806; est. $900) the six pieces realised $6,832. A Philippines 50 centimos 1883 (lot 2812; est. $70) went way over estimate bringing a record $3,172 (or forty five times estimate). 

In world gold coins a Chinese cast cash (AD 718-732) (lot 3022; est. $1,000) realised $4,880. Top price went to the German East Africa 15 rupien, 1916 (lot 3035; est. $3,000) at $7,930. A Hungary ducat (lot 3046; est. $500) realised $2,440.  The next two sessions were devoted to Australian banknotes. In the decimal an error $20 topped the billing (lot 3340; est. $2,500) at $3,904. In the night session pre decimal the highlights were the Cerutty/Collins twenty, fifty and one hundred pounds notes, (lot 3486 est.$30,000) realised $34,160; (lot 3487; est. $20,000) realised $24,400 and (lot 3488; est. $40,000) realised $50,020. 

The final day saw the ancient Greek and Roman coins sold in the two morning sessions. A Macedon Phillip III gold stater (lot 3559; est. $3,000) sold for $4,880. A Syracuse tetradrachm (lot 3583; est. $1,500) sold for $3,660. A Thrace Lysimachos tetradrachm (lot 3606; est. $3,000) sold for $5,368.  An Aegina silver stater (lot 3650; est. $1,500) sold for $4,148. A Sicyon silver stater (lot 3661; est. $2,000) also sold for $4,148. 

The pedigreed ex Lambros, Weber and Brand overstruck Cyclades silver stater (lot 3666; est. $10,000) realised a record $21,350 and was the top priced ancient coin in the sale. The bests results on Roman coins were a Republic didrachm (lot 3736; est. $900) that realised $2,074; a Caecilius denarius with Elephant reverse (lot 3780; est. $750) realised $1,708, and a silver argenteus of Diocletian (lot 3897; est. $1,200) realised $3,172 after a bidding duel.  

The final two sessions were devoted to Orders, Decorations & Medals, commencing with Australian Singles; a WW I MC (lot 3934; est. $1,000) realised $1,586 as did a Qld MR QSA (lot 3932; est. $300). In Australian groups the “Jack” French VC group was the shining star (lot 4058; est. $1,650,000) which realised the highest price we have ever achieved for a single lot $1,781,200. The next highest group went to the Star of Courage, Stanhope gold medal pair (lot 3982; est. $25,000) at $28,060, followed by the Boer War DCM pair (lot 3985; est. $10,000) at $11,590 and the WW II DSO group of eleven (lot 4033; est. $6,000) at $14,640.

In British singles the Order of The Thistle (lot 4109; est. $5,000) realised $15,250; a George VI George Medal (lot 4112; est. $3,000) realised $8,540 and a George Medal Pair (lot 4176; est. $5,000) realised $7,930. Two Bulgarian orders (lots 4193, 4194; est. $500, $750) realised $2,684 each and a Romanian Order (lot 4224; est. $500) realised $1,830. The top priced order went to The Russian Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (lot 4227; est. $10,000) at $23,180.

Jim Noble

August 2023

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