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jcriller

Top 20 SA union coins

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jcriller

I know between you guys there is a lot of experience/knowledge, so lets see how this goes.

From 20 to 1 (where 1 is the most difficult and 20 the least difficult) what would you say is the top 20 most difficult coins to get your hands on in the Union series.

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jwither

You never specified proofs or circulation strikes and what grades. Since including proofs makes a combined top 20 list meaningless, I will provide mine for circulation strikes only. I previously provided a ranking for proofs under "Scarce Coin Watch". Here it is, from highest to lowest and this is irrespective of grade:

 

1931 tickey

1931 florin

1931 half crown

1923 Sovereign

1931 shilling

1944 shilling

1924 Sovereign

1931 6D

1925 florin

1925 wreath tickey

1959 crown

1947 florin

1938 florin

1947 half crown

1946 shilling

1946 florin

1946 half crown

1948 half crown

1949 half crown

1950 florin

 

Most of the end of my list are a guess. I base it upon the mintage (somewhat), my recollection of the CoinGuide SA estimates, the NGC census and the frequency I have seen these coins. On the latter, I don't look for coin on BoB that aren't grade anymore and never did before regularly. So I presume that others here are far more familiar with the availability of these coins especially in lower circulated grades.

 

Also, unless you have a grade cut-off in mind, I don't find this ranking particularly significant because most of the more recent collectors in your country don't seem to care whether they complete their sets or not. Aside from the 1931 silver, I have seen all other Union coins in better grades (as in AU or MS) at least a few times and this is in an NGC or PCGS holder. Most of them, I have seen more than that, even those on my list. I owned some of these even in duplicate in MS in the past.

 

In better grades, I would say that for the more expensive coins, the combined census is reasonably representative of their relative availability, subject to the major caveat that many of the less expensive coins are actually (a lot) more available because there is less reason to pay the grading fee. In my opinion, this applies to practically all of the QEII, even though I concur many are much scarcer than the mintages imply.

 

As for the more common, I presume that aside from the 1959 crown, the QEII and later KGVI dates have the greatest generic availability. After that, same as the combined census indicates.

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Pierre_Henri
You never specified proofs or circulation strikes and what grades. Since including proofs makes a combined top 20 list meaningless, I will provide mine for circulation strikes only. I previously provided a ranking for proofs under "Scarce Coin Watch". Here it is, from highest to lowest and this is irrespective of grade:

 

1931 tickey

1931 florin

1931 half crown

1923 Sovereign

1931 shilling

1944 shilling

1924 Sovereign

1931 6D

1925 florin

1925 wreath tickey

1959 crown

1947 florin

1938 florin

1947 half crown

1946 shilling

1946 florin

1946 half crown

1948 half crown

1949 half crown

1950 florin

 

Most of the end of my list are a guess. I base it upon the mintage (somewhat), my recollection of the CoinGuide SA estimates, the NGC census and the frequency I have seen these coins. On the latter, I don't look for coin on BoB that aren't grade anymore and never did before regularly. So I presume that others here are far more familiar with the availability of these coins especially in lower circulated grades.

 

Also, unless you have a grade cut-off in mind, I don't find this ranking particularly significant because most of the more recent collectors in your country don't seem to care whether they complete their sets or not. Aside from the 1931 silver, I have seen all other Union coins in better grades (as in AU or MS) at least a few times and this is in an NGC or PCGS holder. Most of them, I have seen more than that, even those on my list. I owned some of these even in duplicate in MS in the past.

 

In better grades, I would say that for the more expensive coins, the combined census is reasonably representative of their relative availability, subject to the major caveat that many of the less expensive coins are actually (a lot) more available because there is less reason to pay the grading fee. In my opinion, this applies to practically all of the QEII, even though I concur many are much scarcer than the mintages imply.

 

As for the more common, I presume that aside from the 1959 crown, the QEII and later KGVI dates have the greatest generic availability. After that, same as the combined census indicates.

 

In non-mint state, some of the coins on the above list are not that scarce like the 1925 Wreath Tickey, 1944 Shilling and 1946 Half Crown.

However, in mint state, the picture looks totally different with, for example, the 1944 Shilling not recorded (graded) up to date in MS, although I know that an example does exists.

 

So if your question was what the top 20 were in MS-condition vs. the top twenty in terms of mintage figures, the picture/answer would obviously be different.

 

In MS the 1931 Tickey would be just as scarce as the 1944 1/- in MS because none of the two have ever been recorded/graded up to date.

 

But in non-MS state I would differ from Ernesto’s list with comments as follows ...

The very rare

 

I have never seen a 1931 Tickey in non proof condition before but know that RandCoin sold one to Jan K. a few years ago. (In Proof condition, I own one myself)

 

The fairly rare – I have not personally seen or handled these coins (non proof) before

 

1923 Sovereign

1924 Sovereign

 

Scarce but not utterly rare – I have seen but not own non-proof examples before...

1931 florin

1931 half crown

Fairly scarce, but I have owned and sold some of these before

1931 6d

1931 shilling

 

Not really scarce but not common

1925 florin

1950 florin

 

Not common but always obtainable if really wanted

 

1947 florin

1947 half crown

1948 half crown

1949 half crown

Not really that scarce at all in lower grades

 

1944 shilling

1925 wreath tickey

1959 crown

1938 florin

1946 shilling

1946 florin

1946 half crown

 

Not on the list but also not that available are coins like the 1930 farthing, 1945, 1947 and 1948 shillings and even the 1947 Penny and 1960 Tickey.

 

Not looking at any mintage figures or grading stats, (thus from memory only) my Union list of non-Proof and non-UNC scarcities would look as follow

1931 Tickey

1931 Florin

1931 Half Crown

1923 Sovereign

1924 Sovereign

1947 shilling, two-shilling and half crown

1948 shilling, two-shilling and half crown

1949 half crown

1950 two shilling and half crown

1925 Two-shilling

1930 farthing

1944, 1945 and 1946 Shillings

1959 Crown

1923 Half Penny

1960 Tickey and Farthing

1947 Penny

1925 Wreath tickey and sixpence

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jwither

Pierre,

 

What is your estimate on the 1931 silver? Or do you have one? Here are mine:

 

1931 tickey, medium Judd R-7 (4-12)

1931 florin, high to medium Judd R-6 (13-30)

1931 half crown, low R-6

1931 shilling, medium R-5 (31-76 with maybe 50)

1931 6d, medium R-4 (76-200 with maybe somewhat more than 100)

 

I see that you do not have the last two coins on your list. Have you really seen these two more often than the other coin on your list? I have seen these a few times, the NGC census has a few and yes, I know that they occasionally show up on BoB in very low grades. But the 1931 1/ at least seems to sell for a high enough price even in good to be quite scarce. NEN sold one for $495 about five years ago. Admittedly, this was when the market was much stronger. Also, DNW sold another G-4 last year for I believe about $150 USD.

 

Coins like the 1947 2/ and the 1946 1/, 2/ and 2/6 Coin Guide SA I believe estimates 200. Same for the 1925 florin.

 

Are these number consistent with your experience?

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Pierre_Henri
Pierre,

 

What is your estimate on the 1931 silver? Or do you have one? Here are mine:

 

1931 tickey, medium Judd R-7 (4-12)

1931 florin, high to medium Judd R-6 (13-30)

1931 half crown, low R-6

1931 shilling, medium R-5 (31-76 with maybe 50)

1931 6d, medium R-4 (76-200 with maybe somewhat more than 100)

 

I see that you do not have the last two coins on your list. Have you really seen these two more often than the other coin on your list? I have seen these a few times, the NGC census has a few and yes, I know that they occasionally show up on BoB in very low grades. But the 1931 1/ at least seems to sell for a high enough price even in good to be quite scarce. NEN sold one for $495 about five years ago. Admittedly, this was when the market was much stronger. Also, DNW sold another G-4 last year for I believe about $150 USD.

 

Coins like the 1947 2/ and the 1946 1/, 2/ and 2/6 Coin Guide SA I believe estimates 200. Same for the 1925 florin.

 

Are these number consistent with your experience?

 

Sorry, I omitted the 1931 Sixpence and Shilling by mistake from my list - they should be there as they are definitely scarce enough for including in the top twenty list.

 

The estimates for the surving numbers of he 1931 silvers would be pure guesswork on my side so I would not even try, but the numbers you give is what I also would have given if I had to guess.

 

I sold a 1931 Shilling on BoB for a measly R550 earlier this year, so maybe there are more available than what I would have thought?

 

Shilling - 1931 Shilling (1/-) : Very Good (VG) : NGC GRADED VG-details was sold for R550.00 on 10 Aug at 20:46 by Pierre_Henri in Cape Town (ID:154160956)

 

The sixpence also is not that scarce, but the 2/-and 2/6- seldom come up for sale - maybe once or twice a year n BoB and the 3d virtually never in non-prof condition.

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jwither

Mine are guesswork also. But if you have seen the 1931 2/ and 2/6 once or twice a year on BoB, both are actually a lot more available than I believe.

 

For the 1931 3d, i have never seen it or if I did, maybe it was the NGC VG-8 on BoB. The NGC census lists three, Scott Balson mentioned personally inspecting the Mitchell MS and I have mentioned another MS (never seen and only heard second hand) in a 1931 presentation set which the current owner purportedly acquired in 1932 passed down from a family member. So assuming the NGC coins are actually circulation strikes and not worn proofs (something I believe is impossible to know given the grades), a medium R-7 seems like a reasonable "ballpark" number.

 

For the 1931 2/, I have seen only one, the VF details Geejay sold here on BoB. I believe you also posted a picture of one owned by someone you know, a colleague in your country told me of one sold on BoB on one occassion and the last the MS in the set. There are zero listed in the combined census.

 

The 1931 2/6 I have seen maybe half a dozen times or so. Heritage has sold two, DNW sold one last year, DNW offerred the Bakewell VF details, Geejay mentioned owning one (from Heritage maybe) and one sold on eBay sometime in the last five years. Add in the NGC AU-50 and the one offered in the SANGS holder and there are likely at least 30 considering those owned by "old time" collections in your country or held elsewhere.

 

On the 1931 1/ and 6d, to the extent my estimates are off, certainly almost on the low side. As I have mentioned before, normally given the low mintage, these coins would have high survival rates and disproportionately in better grades, certainly for the 3d, 2/ and maybe even the 2/6. The primary reasons I have used these estimates is because, despite the weak pricing for circulated Union, all but the 6d are scarce enough where I would expect more of them to be in the census. It is possible though that more are in "details" holders while most of the balance are in such a low grade (as in maybe an AG-3) that it actually isn't worth having them graded.

 

As for the sale frequency, I suspect that this will mostly occur when sold by long time holders as part of the estate planning or settlement. If the Mitchell family owns the 3d as I believe they do, I consider it likely they also own the others. Problem is, I also suspect that since the coins (the Mitchell and any other decent ones) are essentially irreplaceable, the current owners tend to have vastly inflated opinions of their value. The few I have seen on BoB invariably are offered are stupid money prices.

Edited by jwither

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Pierre_Henri
Mine are guesswork also. But if you have seen the 1931 2/ and 2/6 once or twice a year on BoB, both are actually a lot more available than I believe.

 

For the 1931 3d, i have never seen it or if I did, maybe it was the NGC VG-8 on BoB. The NGC census lists three, Scott Balson mentioned personally inspecting the Mitchell MS and I have mentioned another MS (never seen and only heard second hand) in a 1931 presentation set which the current owner purportedly acquired in 1932 passed down from a family member. So assuming the NGC coins are actually circulation strikes and not worn proofs (something I believe is impossible to know given the grades), a medium R-7 seems like a reasonable "ballpark" number.

 

For the 1931 2/, I have seen only one, the VF details Geejay sold here on BoB. I believe you also posted a picture of one owned by someone you know, a colleague in your country told me of one sold on BoB on one occassion and the last the MS in the set. There are zero listed in the combined census.

 

The 1931 2/6 I have seen maybe half a dozen times or so. Heritage has sold two, DNW sold one last year, DNW offerred the Bakewell VF details, Geejay mentioned owning one (from Heritage maybe) and one sold on eBay sometime in the last five years. Add in the NGC AU-50 and the one offered in the SANGS holder and there are likely at least 30 considering those owned by "old time" collections in your country or held elsewhere.

 

On the 1931 1/ and 6d, to the extent my estimates are off, certainly almost on the low side. As I have mentioned before, normally given the low mintage, these coins would have high survival rates and disproportionately in better grades, certainly for the 3d, 2/ and maybe even the 2/6. The primary reasons I have used these estimates is because, despite the weak pricing for circulated Union, all but the 6d are scarce enough where I would expect more of them to be in the census. It is possible though that more are in "details" holders while most of the balance are in such a low grade (as in maybe an AG-3) that it actually isn't worth having them graded.

 

As for the sale frequency, I suspect that this will mostly occur when sold by long time holders as part of the estate planning or settlement. If the Mitchell family owns the 3d as I believe they do, I consider it likely they also own the others. Problem is, I also suspect that since the coins (the Mitchell and any other decent ones) are essentially irreplaceable, the current owners tend to have vastly inflated opinions of their value. The few I have seen on BoB invariably are offered are stupid money prices.

 

There are still many collectors left from the olden days (like myself) who collected coins during the pre-internet era of the 1980s when the following South African dealers still send out lists by normal paper post (not e-mail).

 

Bickels Coins

Randburg Coins

Good Hope Coins

City Coins

P&G Coins

The Coin Shoppe (Brian Hern)

Collectors Investments

Absil’s

Alec Kaplan and Sons

Chimperie Coins

 

Incredibly enough, almost all of the above dealers are still going strong after 20-30 years in the numismatic business.

 

If someone have some of their past sales lists, it would be not that difficult to check up on the number of 1931 non-proof silvers that they have offered over the years.

 

If readers of this forum have any old lists from any of the older dealers, please check on the 1931 series and send me a private message on BOB and I will try to pen something down that might be of value to those like me (and many other Union of SA collectors I am sure) that are so interested in the 1931 silver series.

 

Pierre

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jwither

Pierre,

 

I once asked P&G coins about the 1931 silver but only in higher grades. Don't remember if I specified particular grades or not but they told me they had handled one "high grade" 1931 6D but none of the others. I recall or assume it was AU or MS but can't know what it looked like or if NGC or PCGS would grade it.

 

If you are able to summarize what was offered in these dealer lists, probably the best source available absent the actual owners telling us what they have which isn't going to happen.

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