Coin Collecting Talk

Tim Herlihy will speak on collecting Australian Copper coins

Tim Herlihy coin collector
Tim Herlihy with some of his coin collection

Tim Herlihy started collecting coins in the early 1960s, when as a young boy he could only afford to collect copper – pennies and half pennies. In addition to the collector’s desire to “get all in the set”, he became very interested in the historical connections of coins of particular dates to historical events, the composition of the coins themselves, and where they were minted. In general the price of a coin now is determined by the number minted at the time.

Tim recently spoke at Yarra Glen and District Historical Society on coin collecting, and as well as answering historical questions about coins, he presented the talk more as the experiences of a young boy, and what life was like then. There was then far more scope for this type of coin collecting. In those bygone days, there were multiple real bank branches in almost every suburb in Melbourne. Typically, they were the State Savings Bank of Victoria, the Bank of New South Wales, Australia & New Zealand, English, Scottish & Australian, Commercial Banking Corporation, the Commonwealth Savings Bank and the Commercial Bank of Australia (CBA).

He showed many examples from his collection, including cloth and paper sacks used by various banks to hold coins. In particular he passed around a cloth bag containing approximately five pounds worth of pennies and half pennies, to give an idea of the weight he was lugging around.

One of his earliest sales to a coin dealer was of five 1942 halfpennies with large denticles (beads) on the rim. He sold them for £2 each and became the proud possessor of his first ever £10 note. It was pink and he admired it all the way home from the city to his home in Mt Waverley. Although he was not able to collect the most valuable Australian coins he did at one point sell a hundred 1944 halfpennies, a moderately rare date, sufficient to fund the purchase of some cricket batting gloves. He also sold his 1923 halfpennies to finance his first guitar and amplifier when he was invited to join a rock band. He estimates that, if he still had his more than twenty 1923 halfpennies, they would be worth around $100,000 today.

Tim will reprise his talk on Saturday 20 May 1:30 – 3:30 pm  at Hardy House, RSL Hall, 49 Birmingham Road Mt Evelyn, for the Mt Evelyn History Group. Everyone is welcome and afternoon tea will be provided. A gold coin is donation appreciated.

Mt Evelyn History Group