An iconic Australian black opal — at one time the largest black opal in the world — is expected to sell for more than $700,000 at an auction in Sydney later this month.
Weighing 443.56 carats, it is known as ‘The Pacific’ because of its colour and the Pacific
being the largest ocean. Black opals have the most brilliant colours and are the most sought-after form of the gem.
The Pacific was listed as the world’s largest black opal in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. It remains the largest, polished, solid-form black opal to this day.
It is being sold by the man who found it, Lightning Ridge opal miner, Gerald O’Brien.
The opal is just one of the fascinating lots to go under the hammer at the Noble Numismatics Sale starting on November 24, at the State Library of NSW.
The auction will be one of the largest of its type ever held in Sydney with some 4700 lots,
including rare modern and ancient coins in gold, silver and bronze, and Australian, New
Zealand and world banknotes, as well as historical medals, military medals and militaria,
stamps, antiquities and artefacts, jewellery, and historical documents.
Jim Noble, Managing Director of Noble Numismatics, (169 Macquarie Street, Sydney) is available for interview and digital illustrations are available at http://www.noble.com.au. Ph: 02 9223 4578 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other interesting lots in the sale include:
● A Surf Life Saving Association of Australia Meritorious Award for Bravery Medal to a
lifesaver who died trying to save a swimmer in wild seas at The Entrance Beach on 27
March 1937. There is a bronze memorial plaque named to the lifesaver, Charles
Dennis, at The Entrance Surf Lifesaving club (lot 385; estimate $1,500).
● A great historical relic Australia’s first locally produced official legal tender: one of
the finest known ‘dumps’ (NSW fifteen pence) of 1813, which along with the Holey
Dollar, was proclaimed as legal tender in the Colony of NSW by Governor Lachlan
Macquarie. (lot 781; estimate $40,000), as well as two others (lot 782; estimate
$32,000) and (lot 783; estimate $10,000).
● Australia’s scarcest circulating penny dated 1930 – 2 items (lot 1118; estimate
$15,000 and lot 1119; estimate $10,000).
● A nearly uncirculated and rare second type gold Adelaide pound of 1852 (lot 785;
● An impressive collection of 19 lots of first and second type Sydney Mint gold
sovereigns formed by a collector over a thirty year period – noted one of the finest
known 1855 (lot 790; estimate $25,000), and possibly finest known 1860/9 overdate
(lot 795; estimate $15,000).
● Unique specimen sovereign being one of the first struck at the Melbourne Mint in
1872 during the opening ceremony on 12 June 1872 (lot 850; estimate $25,000).
● Extremely rare George V sovereigns, among the finest known and includes 1921
Melbourne (lot 928; estimate $30,000), 1922 Melbourne (lot 932; estimate $20,000),
1922 Sydney (lot 933; estimate $30,000, and another lot 934; estimate $25,000),
1923 Sydney (lot 936; estimate $30,000), and from the last year sovereigns were
struck at the Sydney Mint, 1926 Sydney (lot 942; estimate $35,000).
● Unique milled edge proof or pattern Australian 1911 threepence, excessively rare
(lot 1003; estimate $40,000).
● Unique Birmingham Mint proof Australian florin (lot 1004; estimate $150,000).
● Probably the finest known proof Australian 1934-35 Melbourne Centenary florin (lot
1011; estimate $35,000).
● An excessively rare and probably unique proof Australian 1954 Royal Visit florin (lot
1026; estimate $40,000).
● An outstanding selection of 565 lots of British, Scottish and Irish gold, silver and
bronze coins and tokens from Ancient Britain c50-40BC through to Elizabeth II (lots
1144 – 1709).
● An outstanding selection of 602 lots of World gold, silver and bronze coins and
tokens mostly c1600s- 2000s, with a strong representation of British colonial issues
(lots 1737 – 2339).
● An interesting range of antiquities ranging from a neolithic rock collection through to
swords, daggers, axe heads, arrow heads and lance/spear heads, period ranges from
c300Bc through to 18 th century. One blade features ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics
(lots 2432 – 2470).
● A selection of tribal art and other items, mostly Australian Aboriginal and New
Guinea (lots 2471 – 2494).
● A special catalogue has been produced for the Robert Tonner collection of
banknotes issued by New Zealand trading banks with everyone of the 115 lots
photographed (lots 3001 – 3115). A sample of all the rarities listed include
● The Bank of Australasia one pound first issue dated at Wellington on 1 June 1874,
the only one known issue of this type (lot 3001; estimate $12,000).
● Union Bank of Australia Limited one pound issued at Wellington 1 January 1903,
only three known (lot 3093; estimate $12,000).
● Bank of New Zealand, Wellington, fifty pounds issued 1 May 1926, only one other
in private hands (lot 3021; estimate $35,000).
● Bank of New Zealand, Wellington one hundred pounds issued 1 April 1928, the
only example in private hands (lot 3022; estimate $80,000).
● Reserve Bank of New Zealand specimen fifty pounds dated 1 August 1934, very
rare (lot 3115; estimate $27,000).
● A rare Commercial Bank of Australia, Melbourne Office one pound dated Dec 18,
1909 and with Chinese script vertically at left and right sides, only two other of this
banknote type known to exist (lots 3445; estimate $30,000).
● A rare 1983 banknote specimen set of one, two, five, ten, twenty and fifty dollars in
a Reserve Bank presentation folder as awarded to a TAA employee, one of those
responsible for forestalling a theft of a large quantity of Australian currency notes on
21 September 1982 (lot 3515; estimate $28,000).
● A collection of 219 lots of gold, silver and bronze Indian states, East India Company
and British Indian coins c1150-80BC through to 1947 (lots 3622 – 3840).
● Part 5 of a large military medal collection from a deceased estate (lots 3841-3903),
mostly relating to the Boer War with issues to mostly South African colonial units,
many of these are scarce.
● A Coronation Medal 1911 named to a Senior Cadet in the Australian Coronation
Contingent to England (lot 4029; estimate $750).
● Various bravery award groups, some of which include,
● WWI Military Cross and Bar group of four for conspicuous gallantry (lot 4037;
● WWI Military Cross group of four to Light Horse (lot 4038; estimate $10,000).
● Rare WWI Air Force Cross group of four to Australian Flying Corps (lot 404;
● Very rare WWI Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal group of five (lot
4041; estimate $10,000).
● An outstanding WWI and II group of eleven to Lt-General H.D.Wynter (lot 4066;
● WWI Distinguished Service Order trio to a Lt-Colonel killed in action in practically
the last operation his unit was engaged in before war’s end (lot 4069; estimate
● WWII Distinguished Flying Medal and Bar group of eight to a RAAF pilot (lot 4085;
● WWII Distinguished Service Order for action at El Alamein and a Bar to DSO for
leading 2/13 Battalion in New Guinea, group of eleven (lot 4087; estimate $30,000).
● WWII Distinguished Service Order group of seven to a RAAF pilot for an attack on
the Dortmund Ems Canal (lot 4090; estimate $15,000).
● Vietnam War Military Medal trio for bravery (lot 4106; estimate $10,000).
This is just a small example of the hundreds of medals, singles as well as groups, and
militaria on offer.
● A large collection of Australian and world law enforcement badges, the bulk of which
were put together by a now deceased former Australian Federal Police officer (lots
● A large collection of powder horns, powder flasks and shot flasks (lots 4277 – 4366).
● A large collection of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins (lots 4387 – 4973).
Noted the following,
● Calabria, Tarentum gold twelfth stater 350-330BC (lot 4387; estimate $7,500).
● Syracuse gold sixty litrai-dekadrachm 275-215BC (lot 4388; estimate $7,000).
● Macedon gold stater 359-336BC (lot 4390; estimate $7,500).
● Carthage electrum trihemistater c264-241BC (lot 4399; estimate $15,000).
● Vespasian gold aureus 71AD (lot 4404; estimate $8,000).
● Antoninus Pius gold aureus 147AD (lot 4410; estimate $10,000).
● Faustina Junior, wife of Marcus Aurelius, gold aureus c175AD (lot 4413; estimate
● Septimus Severus gold aureus 206AD (lot 4415; estimate $14,000).
● Trajan Decius gold aureus 249AD (lot 4416; estimate $16,000).
● Thraco-Macedonian Tribes silver dodecadrachm c475-450BC (lot 4461; estimate
● Island of Caria, Rhodus silver tetradrachm c400-385BC (lot 4586; estimate $8,000).
Noble Numismatics Sale 125, 24 – 27 November 2020 at the Dixson Room, State Library of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney.
Online live bidding is available via Noble Live (live.noble.com.au) free of charge or
Invaluable (invaluable.com) 5% fee applies. Bidders must register with us prior to the auction.
Lots may be viewed in our rooms at 169 Macquarie Street, Sydney
18 – 20 November, 9.30am-4.30pm
Monday 23 November, 9.30am-5.00pm
(regional and interstate viewers only)
Categories: GENERAL News