Nov 142014
 

When gold was discovered at Mount Alexander in November 1851, it is estimated that more than 8,000 men decamped from the fledgling city of Adelaide to the goldfields – taking with them most of the colony’s sovereigns.

The Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the Bullion Act of 1852 to meet the urgent need for currency in South Australia. At first it made irregularly-shaped ingots, each stamped to indicate its weight and purity, with the idea that they would be taken to one of the banks and offered as security against an issue of currency notes to the value of the gold.

These enigmatic slabs of gold, produced exclusively between March 4th 1852 and late September 1852, are now incredibly rare. Six Adelaide Ingots are in public collections around the world, and the only two in private hands held pride of place in the Quartermaster collection – easily the finest collection of Australian gold coins ever formed. They’re rightly regarded as being integral to the history of Australian numismatics and are highly coveted by collectors the nation over.

But the only real way most mortal collectors will ever be able to include a representative Adelaide Ingot in their collection is via the ownership of an “electrotype”.

What is an electrotype?

An electrotype coin is a reproduction made by a process combining chemicals and electricity. Although electrotypes are not original coins, they are not regarded in the same class as counterfeits, forgeries or replicas. The electrotype process has been used by collectors around the world ever since the process was first invented in 1838 to create examples of rare and historic coins that were otherwise unobtainable.

Not only are electrotypes used to complete a set or collection that would otherwise have a glaring omission, they are also used for study purposes. Experienced collectors of ancient coins have been known to include an electrotype in their collection in order to completely tell the story of the coinage of a particular region or era. Museums have been known to include an electrotype in a display for the same reason, or to minimise the risk of loss in the event of vandalism or theft.

Several numismatists have created legitimate electrotype duplicates of Adelaide Ingots over the years. While these electrotype duplicates are nowhere near as rare as the original ingots, they are still a scarce and desirable collectable that allows a collector to display the story of the early days at the Adelaide Assay Office.

Setting aside some modern reproductions in gold, most Adelaide Ingot electrotypes traded on the collector market are from one of two sources:

Edwin Sawtell

Sawtell was a highly respected “chronometer and nautical instrument maker” who operated several businesses in Adelaide between 1853 and 1889. Reportedly he jointly-owned an Adelaide Ingot with politician Thomas Reynolds and headmaster Thomas Walters, who quite conceivably came together to preserve a unique item of South Australia’s heritage. Today their ingot is held in the Dixson Collection, part of the State Library of New South Wales.

Sawtell_Adelaide-Ingot

Edwin Sawtell electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Sawtell’s electrotypes are extremely accurate duplicates, made within 40 years of the ingots being in circulation. They are readily identified by the name ‘SAWTELL’ being punched into one corner of the electrotype, and remain prized by collectors to this day for their rarity and historical importance.

George Wilkins

Wilkins has been described as one of the more “colourful” dealers that were active when coin collecting was at its peak in the mid-1960s. His electrotypes feature a small ‘GW’ within a circle, punched into one corner on the front.

The genuine ingot that Wilkins duplicated has been held by the State Library of NSW in the Dixson collection since 1912, suggesting he either had direct access to items in the Dixson collection, illicit access to the Dixson collection, or produced his electrotypes from an existing electrotype, as produced by Sawtell.

Wilkins_Adelaide-Ingot

George Wilkins electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Made in base metal and uniface (blank reverse), they’re somewhat softer in the detail. Comparing one with the level of detail on an electrotype produced by Sawtell, we can also see that sections of the legend are missing. Nevertheless, Wilkins’ versions are highly sought-after.

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots at Auction

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots have been seen at numismatic auctions since at least 1973. In March of that year, auctioneers Geoff K Gray sold two versions from the collection of Gilbert Heyde, former President of the Australian Numismatic Society. Both items made $310 – equivalent to several Kookaburra pattern pennies, and more than a complete set of 1938 proof coins. In more recent years, Adelaide Ingot electrotypes have sold for up to $6,000 via auction.

Each of the Adelaide Ingot electrotypes that are available to collectors today has a unique appeal, depending on the original ingot it was duplicated from, and depending on the producer of the electrotype. They all remain an affordable and accurate representation of one of Australia’s rarest and most historic numismatic items.


Andrew Crellin’s numismatic career began at The Perth Mint. Subsequently he spent over a decade in Sydney with two of Australia’s leading numismatic dealers. In that time he wrote two acclaimed books on Australian numismatics, appraised The Perth Mint’s archival collection and was nominated to the position of Secretary of the Australasian Numismatic Dealer’s Association. Back in Perth, his company Sterling and Currency specialises in Australian coins and banknotes, from the Holey Dollar of 1813 through to the modern coin sets.

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Nov 132014
 

Many Chinese people place great store in the Chinese horoscope and its 12 animal signs. According to legend, the goat was eighth to arrive when Buddha called upon the animal kingdom to visit him – hence the goat is the eighth animal symbol of the popular Lunar calendar.

Positive characteristics of being born under the influence of the goat are believed to include charm, elegance and composure. Goats are also considered to be gifted and artistic people.

     

Get ready for the next Year of the Goat (commencing 19 February 2015) with this stunning presentation comprising four rectangle-shaped coins each made from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver.

Just 3,000 of these unique sets will be released, each housed in a contemporary latex presentation case which beautifully displays a panoramic view of both sides of the coins.

More information: Lunar Calendar Series 2015 Year of the Goat Four-Coin Set

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Nov 122014
 

The following collector coin releases are now sold out at The Perth Mint.

Hades_Thmb Gods of Olympus – Hades
2014 2oz Silver High Relief Rimless Coin
Maximum Mintage: 1,500
5ozHR_WTE Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle
2014 5oz Silver Proof High Relief Coin
Maximum Mintage: 5,000

 

Close to Sell Out

These releases are extremely close to sell out with 50 or less of each set now available.

SilverGoatx3-Set Australian Lunar Series II
2015 Year of the Goat Silver Proof Three-Coin Set
ONLY 50 SETS REMAINING
2014Kangaroox5_Set Australian Kangaroo – 25th Anniversary
2014 Gold Proof Five-Coin Collection
ONLY 40 COLLECTIONS REMAINING

 

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Nov 102014
 

2014Christmas_coinThis year’s Christmas release is a coin with a difference.

Struck from 1/2oz of 99.9% pure silver, it depicts snow covered roofs set against a backdrop of snowflakes falling from the night sky. A silhouette of Santa Claus and his sleigh drawn by reindeer is reflected across the full moon.

Out of the ordinary

But its out of the ordinary aspect is a multimedia portrayal of Santa that can be seen via a smartphone or tablet.

To experience the delightful imagery and music, a collector must first download the free DAQRI application from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Then by holding their device’s camera over the reverse of the coin (or the picture of the coin provided in the packaging), Santa can be seen delivering the Christmas coin on Christmas Eve!


Demonstration of the ‘augmented reality’ feature offered by this year’s Christmas coin.

Augmented reality

The special effect takes advantage of ‘augmented reality’, by which the view of the real-world through a digital device is supplemented by computer-generated sound and graphics.

A first of its kind for The Perth Mint, this amazing Australian legal tender release is housed in a display case accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity incorporating a Christmas gift tag. Instructions on how to activate the augmented reality Christmas coin are included in the packaging.

No more than 5,000 of these 2014 Christmas 1/2oz silver proof coins will be released.

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Nov 072014
 

The latest dinosaur to be portrayed on our Australian Age of Dinosaurs silver proof coin series is a bit of a tounge-twister! Its name is pronounced DIA-MAN-TINA-SAW-RUS.

Diamantinasaurus is a titanosaur, a group of plant eating sauropod dinosaurs that existed in the late Cretaceous Period. It lived in the Cenomanian Epoch between 100 and 95 million years ago.

Fossilised limb, rib and girdle remains of Diamantinasaurus were discovered in 2005 near Winton, central Queensland, by a local landowner and recovered from what was once an ancient billabong by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum. It was described be vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Scott Hocknull and colleagues in 2009.

The dinosaur was nicknamed ‘Matilda’, after Waltzing Matilda, the world famous song by Australian poet Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson – the scientific name Diamantinasaurus matildae meaning Matilda’s Diamantina River lizard.

Matilda was approximately 16 metres long and would have weighed about 20 tonnes. The skeleton is extremely robust with heavy limbs and a thick, dense pelvic girdle. In contrast, the vertebrae in Matilda’s back and long neck are packed with numerous hollow chambers called ‘camerae’, which would have helped reduce its massive weight.

Like many other sauropod dinosaurs, Matilda may have been able to stand on its hind legs, using its tail for support. This would have enabled it to forage on the high reaching vegetation that was prolific at the time, including conifers, ginkgoes, cycads and angiosperms. It is also possible that it was a semi-aquatic animal that wallowed in billabongs, like the one that eventually preserved its fossils.

Diamantianasaurus-silver-coin-case

Struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, this 2015 coin from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs depicts the Diamantinasaurus matildae set against a prehistoric forest scene.

Issued as Australian legal tender in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, no more than 5,000 of these coins will be struck by The Perth Mint.

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Nov 062014
 

Fantastic news for Doctor Who fans – the Twelfth Doctor commemorative silver coin has materialised!

Struck by The Perth Mint from 1/2oz of 99.9% pure silver, the superb new release features a coloured image of the Doctor’s latest ‘regeneration’ played by Peter Capaldi.

Twelfth-Doctor-Who_coin
During the popular sci-fi’s first 50 years on screen, eleven actors portrayed the famous Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.

With each regeneration, the Doctor took on a new physical appearance with a distinctive personality.

Taking the series into a new era, Capaldi retains some of the character’s finest characteristics – he’s still brave, heroic and drawn to danger. And he still sees humour in the direst situations.

On the other hand he has a dark side, not to mention ‘attack eyebrows’!

Doctor Who – Twelfth Doctor 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin

Twelfth-Doctor-Who_coin-caseIssued by New Zealand Mint as legal tender under the authority of Niue Island, just 4,000 of these Twelfth Doctor coins will be released.

Fob-WatchEach coin is housed in a display case and illustrated shipper.

For passionate Whovians, the option exists to take the coin out of its individual display case and insert it into the appropriate position in the previously released Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Eleven-Coin Set.

 

Issued by NZ Mint and Struck by The Perth Mint

BBC_logoDOCTOR WHO logo © 2012 & ™ BBC. Licensed by BBCWW Ltd.

 

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