Rare set of 1939 South African coins, one of only 30 ever made, sold in New Zealand for $32,700

An extremely rare 1939 eight-coin set from South Africa, one of only 30 sets produced, sold for $32,700 to a buyer in the UK.

Provided

An extremely rare 1939 eight-coin set from South Africa, one of only 30 sets produced, sold for $32,700 to a buyer in the UK.

An extremely rare set of eight pieces from 1939 sold for $32,700 at auction on Friday.

The South African coins were sold by New Zealand sellers to a UK buyer at an international coin, banknote and medal auction held simultaneously at the West Plaza Hotel in Wellington and online.

Mowbray Collectibles Coinage manager David Galt said there were only 30 sets produced and sixpence and shilling coins were only found in those sets.

It had been described in a major South African coin catalog as “rarely offered for sale”.

READ MORE:
* A rare piece up for auction at the Wellington Auction House has a connection to Timaru
* Covid-19 NZ: Vaccinations are hitting a wall and the government needed a plan for it yesterday
* Stamp and coin auction house Mowbrays sees new enthusiasts ‘come out of the woodwork’ after lockdown

“They produced a few of these proof sets, which were struck with dies and highly polished blanks to high specifications,” Galt said.

Proof sets were made to check consistency between parts before they were produced in large numbers.

David Galt, Coins Manager of Mowbray Collectables, pictured here in 2016 holding a medal presented by Captain James Cook during his trip to New Zealand.  (File photo)

Cameron Burnell / Stuff

David Galt, Coins Manager of Mowbray Collectables, pictured here in 2016 holding a medal presented by Captain James Cook during his trip to New Zealand. (File photo)

Neither Galt nor the sellers had any idea how the pieces had ended up in New Zealand; the set was part of a collection from the 1960s. Most likely, a migrant or traveler from South Africa brought them by boat many years ago.

The auction attracted a record number of registrations this year, up 50%. “Covid is definitely propelling that,” Galt said.

There were 760 items for sale, and auctioneer John Mowbray said yesterday’s sales reached $500,000 and stamp sales are expected to be between $800,000 and $900,000 as the sale to auction was continuing.

BRADEN FASTER / TRICK

Jeweler Nelson Glen James with a coin he found while prospecting for gold in the Tadmoor Valley in Tasman. The coin is a sterling silver guilder, a tenth of a pound, said to have been minted around 1870.