IT would take much more than a penny to buy the latest collectable item dealer John Felesina has acquired.
Mr Felesina, the operator of Coins & Collectables, has just taken possession of an item so rare it is nicknamed the King of Australian Coins.
The coin is an example of the famous 1930 Australian penny, valued at $24,000.
As a contrast, Mr Felesina showed off a box of ordinary Australian pennies which he sold for 20 cents each.
Mr Felesina said he had recently acquired the rare coin from a private collector.
So why is the coin so valuable?
It was never supposed to exist in the first place.
“The Melbourne Mint never intended to strike pennies dated 1930,” Mr Felesina said yesterday.
“The true account of why they exist is unclear.”
But Mr Felesina said the story was the coins were struck during die testing or that visitors to the mint were encouraged to strike a brand new penny as a memento of their visit.
It is believed only 1500 of the pennies exist.
“It wasn’t until the 1940s collectors realised how rare these coins were, as so few were found in their change,” Mr Felesina said.
“This coin is part of Australian history.”
He said he had sold other 1930s pennies in the past.
“Most people who come in the door know about the penny,” he said.
Mr Felesina said competition for the small pool of these coins on the market had generated strong price growth over the past decade.
He said many of the coins had found their way into superannuation funds and investment portfolios.
Website australianstamp.com says officially the 1930 penny was not minted.
But it was known from an employee of the mint a small number of dies were produced, although the decision not to mint the coin was taken in 1929.