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How rare is this coin? 1931 South African 2 1/2 Shillings. Original mintage 879

semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 910 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 24, 2023 6:11PM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Hi,

I saw this coin on the Bob Shop website (South Africa)
It so interested me that a coin with minor damage had such strong bidding. The mintage is 879.
This is about $1500 for the winning bid.

  1. How scarce do you estimate this coin, meaning the count in all grades combined?

(My guess is that under 10% remain, based on US coins, but it may be less than that.)

  1. Are there other dealers or site locations, where I can find this issue? The 1931 Silver coins are fascinating. Some are too rare to be collected by most of us.

Thank you,
Ken

Comments

  • wybritwybrit Posts: 6,952 ✭✭✭

    There are some pretty rare mintage coins in that era. The mintage is only 790 currency pieces (plus some proofs). I expect the survival rate is probably no better than half of that. I'd be worried about this being genuine. 1905 UK halfcrowns are forged on a routine basis, and some dealers have been fooled by them. There's reason to be extremely cautious about this.

    Former owner, Cambridge Gate collection.
  • HoledandCreativeHoledandCreative Posts: 2,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If that coin was a commemorative, easily more than half would be saved. But a regular issue I would guess no more than 1 or, maybe, 2 percent survive. Proofs would be much more available, they were made to be saved. If it is worth something, then counterfeits exist. Always be suspect anymore. Aren't there any graded and entombed?

  • realeswatcherrealeswatcher Posts: 338 ✭✭✭

    Sensibly, the piece shown appears genuine... but heavily worn and damaged. There is a known fake, rather poorly done. That's actually the only piece I can find in older eBay archives - multiple examples of the bad fake, not one genuine piece.

    NGC Census shows 19 total slabbed business strikes (none at PCGS).

    Very few actual sales records in the USA or on the usual metasearch archive sites... HOWEVER, it's the type of piece that would mostly appear from South African or UK auctioneers - perhaps even Australian or Canadian - and none of those, even the Brits, are really well included in the archive sites. Only one appearance I find on ACsearch, Baldwin's in 2013 (kind of a ho-hum listing, actually in a 2-coin lot). Heritage has sold two - one lower grade individually in 2003 and another "VG" as part of a set in 2004. None at Stack's and as noted, none on eBay (per Worthpoint).

    There have been a few appearances of the proof.

  • semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 28, 2023 7:40PM

    @wybrit said:
    There are some pretty rare mintage coins in that era. The mintage is only 790 currency pieces (plus some proofs). I expect the survival rate is probably no better than half of that. I'd be worried about this being genuine. 1905 UK halfcrowns are forged on a routine basis, and some dealers have been fooled by them. There's reason to be extremely cautious about this.

    I agree Wybrit, I would prefer it were slabbed, but if the dealer could guarantee that a third party would find it genuine that would be ok for me if they had a good rating in Bob's or Ebay.

    Thank you,
    Ken

  • semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 28, 2023 7:39PM

    @HoledandCreative said:
    If that coin was a commemorative, easily more than half would be saved. But a regular issue I would guess no more than 1 or, maybe, 2 percent survive. Proofs would be much more available, they were made to be saved. If it is worth something, then counterfeits exist. Always be suspect anymore. Aren't there any graded and entombed?

    Hi HoledandCreative,
    As Realeswatcher says, there are 19 at NGC. This includes 9 detail coins. NGC is not the prime place where this will end up. Not so many get slabbed there percentage wise. My guess is that there are less than 100 of these. With 19 counted including some dupes in there, maybe 40 or 50.

    Thank you,
    Ken

  • semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @realeswatcher said:
    Sensibly, the piece shown appears genuine... but heavily worn and damaged. There is a known fake, rather poorly done. That's actually the only piece I can find in older eBay archives - multiple examples of the bad fake, not one genuine piece.

    NGC Census shows 19 total slabbed business strikes (none at PCGS).

    Very few actual sales records in the USA or on the usual metasearch archive sites... HOWEVER, it's the type of piece that would mostly appear from South African or UK auctioneers - perhaps even Australian or Canadian - and none of those, even the Brits, are really well included in the archive sites. Only one appearance I find on ACsearch, Baldwin's in 2013 (kind of a ho-hum listing, actually in a 2-coin lot). Heritage has sold two - one lower grade individually in 2003 and another "VG" as part of a set in 2004. None at Stack's and as noted, none on eBay (per Worthpoint).

    There have been a few appearances of the proof.

    Thank you for the research Realeswatcher! I'm starting to look at the Bob's site in South Africa.Baldwins that you mention is intersting as well as ACSearch. There were 4 of these in the 45 sets on NGC for 2 1/2 Shillings. Do you have any other names that you search for this type of item?

    Thank you,
    Ken

  • realeswatcherrealeswatcher Posts: 338 ✭✭✭

    I would think about the big British names - Baldwin, Spink, London Coins, Noonan's, etc.... maybe Noble in Australia? And again, maybe the bigger Canadian coin names?

    As far as South Africa itself, besides BoB... no clue, are there are any prominent coin auctioneers worth mentioning?

  • HoledandCreativeHoledandCreative Posts: 2,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the update, semikeycollector. With 19 or so recorded at NGC, my 2% estimate is a tad low.

  • semikeycollectorsemikeycollector Posts: 910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @HoledandCreative said:
    Thanks for the update, semikeycollector. With 19 or so recorded at NGC, my 2% estimate is a tad low.

    Hi HoledandCreative,

    Maybe between 40-100 exist.

  • WCCWCC Posts: 2,340 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 1, 2023 6:46PM

    My estimate has been somewhere below 50, but I agree the current NGC count makes it likely somewhat more may exist.

    I was also looking at the NGC registry this week. One thing odd about those coins is how much better they look versus any other dates I have seen in similar grades or quality. It was a F-15 where every other in a quality like it I have seen looks mediocre to terrible. I think it's a combination of the 80% silver composition and lack of care. Since these are legitimately scarce generically (not just grade), it could be the owners making some effort to preserve it properly but something to consider.

    Per my prior comments, I think some of the 1931 silver are actually impaired proofs but I'm not familiar with the specific striking process to confirm it. A "vest pocket" dealer I know in SA told me he submitted the NGC MS-61 and thinks it's actually a proof. If it was in a proof set (which I didn't ask), I think so too.

    I don't think the pictured coin is worth $1500. By "worth", in the context of what the other coins in the series cost and the overwhelming preference this market has for those over MS-60 versus lower grades. However, it's evident a collector bought this coin, not someone for financial reasons. It's a coin which virtually never comes up for sale.

    I've only seen it on Heritage, once on eBay, and twice on DNW. DNW sold the equivalent of a G-4 (roughly) along with the Bakewell "VF details" which went unsold.

    If you are going to buy this type of coin, just be aware of the price difference in and out of South Africa. I don't believe anyone outside of SA would pay a price close to $1500 for the pictured coin.

    The accepted mintage today is 790 business strikes and 62 proofs. However, in my 1950 Kaplan Guide (the equivalent of their "Red Book" at the time), there is no breakout for any of the 1931 silver.

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