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    Fantastically Rare Sydney 5 Pounds - One of Two in Private Hands

    Victoria gold Proof 5 Pounds 1887-S PR64 Cameo NGC, Sydney mint, KM11 (Rare; this coin cited), Fr-17 (Rare), S-3864A (Extremely Rare), McDonald-300 (3 Known), Rennik-pg. 37. 39.9gm. Reeded edge. Rarely is the acquisition of a coin a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, though with the presentation of this ultra-rarity--the 1887 Sydney 5 Pounds--that may very well be the case. Previously offered in David Akers' sale of the John Jay Pittman Collection of World Coins in August of 1999, this very example was postulated to be one of only two held in private hands--an observation which still appears true, as no other examples have come to market since.

    According to Jim Noble, cited by Akers in the 1999 sale, the other specimen in private hands stems from the Murdoch (1903) and Whetmore (1943) collections, later auctioned in 1979 and subsequently again as part of the Sharps Pixley Collection (Auction 30, November 1989, Lot 1312), where it realized an impressive 81,000 AUD at the time. The present coin is the Dangar specimen, sold by Spink to John Jay Pittman for a mere $700 in 1953, and residing in his collection for over four decades thereafter until it was last sold by Akers in the late 1990s for $103,500.

    The offering may easily be considered a miracle of survival and displays surfaces essentially void of any contact marks or handling. Both sides are fully struck, with lightly frosted motifs, and sharp, clear rims that border the central features. The depthless mirrors are exceptional, aided in beauty by subtle copper-gold color, further confirming the Proof designation with total certainty. An admirable emission that would just as easily be demanded in this quality, even if it were a mere "regular" 1887 British Proof 5 Pounds. However, the "S" on the ground below St. George, sharply expressed and quite visible without magnification, confirms that this example was produced as part of a minuscule handful at the Sydney mint.

    Thus, this was, is, and will continue to remain one of the absolute greatest rarities of the entire Australian series--a tribute to Victoria, the British Empire, and a unique relic of both British and Australian history. Its importance cannot be overstated, and it goes without saying that only one person will be become the proud owner, adding to a lineage that will with all likelihood continue to be traced, at the owner's desire, to the end of collecting itself.

    Ex. John Jay Pittman Collection (David Akers August 1999, Lot 4936); Dangar Collection (Spink, 1953)

    From the Paramount Collection

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    25th-27th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 31
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,503

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