Antiques dealer uncovering hidden treasure in Rockhampton
DID YOU know that Australians saved more than 40 million of the one-dollar bank notes, and 20 million of the two-dollar bank notes – whether to pass onto to their children or for investment purposes – when we switched to coins for those denominations?
“But the five and $10 notes people tended to spend, which means they’re worth more now on the market,” said antique and collectables dealer Richard Macdonald, who is trading out of Stockland Rockhampton for a week.
“It’s all a matter of supply and demand, and we sell masses of the higher value notes.”
Mr Macdonald said gold and silver had run its course, what with the COVID-related downturn in the economy and the weak Australian dollar.
He’s melted most his own gold down to convert to cash.
Nevertheless, watches are also a popular sales item, and he’s sold a few gold fob watches since he reached Rockhampton on Monday.
One of his first purchases this time in Rockhampton was from a demolitions expert who found a cache of silver coins under the floorboards of a pub he was working on.
“The punters would have been playing two-up, flipping coins off the wall, and some of them have slipped through a crack in the floorboards,” Mr Macdonald said.
“I just love hearing about the history of the pieces people bring in, and learning from other people up and down the coast.”
The author of ‘Selling Collectables Made Easy’, Mr Macdonald said hard core collectors were always on the lookout for unusual items, especially to do with military history.
“There’s a gentleman from Gladstone who is coming back this weekend to pick up a 1922 German Bavarian hunting bayonet,” he said.
“And just this morning I bought several sets of World War I medallions from someone in Rockhampton, including an unusual German badge which was probably lifted from an enemy grave.
“Next time I come visit I’ll bring the cow horn which was scrimshawed by Ned Kelly’s step-father for people to have a look at.”
Mr Macdonald’s most recent prize, which is on display at Stockland, is an Adelaide Assay Office five-pound coin which could date from either 1852 or 1921.
“South Australia’s 1852 Bullion Act allowed for the issue of five-pound gold coins; the dies were produced but no official records exist as to whether the coins were struck,” he said.
“The Melbourne Mint used the original dies to restrike a dozen Adelaide five-pound coins in 1921 but, as the restrikes were of genuine gold of the correct measure, it is almost impossible to tell if it’s an original or a restrike.”
Mr Macdonald’s stall is located outside Optus (near Kmart) at Stockland Rockhampton on Yaamba Rd.
It opens 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, with extended trading until 7pm on Thursday night, and it also open Sunday until 2pm.
Copies of ‘Selling Collectables Made Easy’ are available at the stall and via Amazon. It has chapters on jewellery, gold and silver, pearls, cameo, coral, jade, ivory, bone and mourning jewellery with a special supplement about Chinese coins.