An ‘original’ Bitcoin on sale in Sydney could fetch twice as much as a Gallipoli hero’s medals
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What’s the world coming to, when a piece of polished Bitcoin rubbish is worth more to Australia than the medals bestowed on a hero of Gallipoli?
It hardly seems right, but a rare coin and medal auction in Sydney on Friday is expected to see a solitary “original Bitcoin” fetch more money from buyers than a set of a Gallipoli war hero’s medals, and some others handed out by none other than Captain James ‘By Golly, I’ve Found a New Continent!’ Cook, combined.
The Bitcoin, which was minted in 2011 by Bitcoin user “Casascius” and is yet to have its actual value redeemed, is one of the most expensive and highly anticipated items from among a tranche of 4,923 lots to be sold over four days at the NSW State Library.
And according to Jim Noble of Noble Numismatics, the Bitcoin will undoubtedly be one of the biggest ticket items on the list, expected to change hands for well over $100,000 – a figure that is something of a slap in the face for the arguably far more historic medals on offer.
Noble expects that the World War I medals, a set awarded to a highly decorated senior Australian officer who was the third ashore with the Ninth Battalion at the Gallipoli Landing on 25 April 1915, then wounded at Gallipoli, will fetch around one-third of the Bitcoin’s price.
And the medals dished out by Captain Cook during his Second Voyage to the Pacific – the one before he fell foul of the natives after a rather bold and ill-advised move to take the King of Hawaiʻi, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, hostage over a stolen dinghy – are set to barely make a dent against the Bitcoin, with a likely price of just $5,000.
What the Bitcoin will fetch is anyone’s guess, really – but Noble says similar minted Bitcoins have tended to sell for at least 2.5 times the current value of its digital namesake.
However, interest in this rare OG Bitcoin example is set to push the price well into six figures, as it’s a very rare piece of crypto memorabilia that does possess an intrinsic value.
The coin was minted by Utah-based Mike Caldwell, going by the username Casascius, who made several variants of the coins between 2011 and 2013, until he was shut down by the US Feds for creating hard currency without appropriate approvals.
On the reverse side of the coin, there’s a holographic piece of tamper-proof plastic, underneath which there’s a slip of paper with a redeemable code – the address of that digital Bitcoin on the blockchain.
Noble says that the holographic seal is unbroken, meaning that this particular coin’s value on the blockchain has not been redeemed – and should Bitcoin climb to the dizzying heights that some believers predict, a $100,000+ investment now could end up worth a lot more.
Whatever it does fetch, the Bitcoin will almost certainly not be the most valuable item sold over the four day sale.
That honour is likely to fall to an item from one of the most valuable rare coin collections to be auctioned in Australia, the “Verene” collection of British proof coins, valued at $2 million.
A single gold coin in the collection, the rare proof “Una and the Lion” five pound piece of Queen Victoria, is expected to sell for an eye-watering $650,000 – but sadly, the auctioneer isn’t prepared to let you flip him for it.
We’ve already asked, and he said no.