Two rare sleeper bronze medals were on eBay this evening. I called them sleepers because they are relatively unknown to the the Hawaiiana specialist. One sold with no opposing bids. The other ended with an auction war.
The first sleeper was a 1990 Honolulu Dala pattern in bronze with gold plating. Mintage is a scant 45 specimens. The hammer price was a mere 92 cents. Yes, 8 cents shy of $1. Listed in the RHM database and unlisted in M&R.
The second sleeper looks like a 1883-1983 King Kalakaua Centennial bronze pattern with a mintage of 90. I suspect a bidding war from two perspectives occurred. There was a pattern bidder (believed the coin was a bronze pattern). There was a mule bidder (believed the coin was a bronze mule).
The coin is really a rare bronze mule with the 1883-1983 King Kalakaua Centennial obverse mated with a “THE HAWAIIAN MINT 1975 /HONOLULU, HAWAII” reverse. This is the first time I have seen the die paring and the first time I seen the reverse die used. The reverse design is not documented in the RHM database nor M&R. The final hammer price was $160.49. This specimen is interesting as it was part of a 100th Anniversary Centennial Collector Set with original COA and wooden box.
The King Kalakaua Centennial mule’s image is below and I believe this blog entry is the first to identify its existence. I can render a guess that only a handful of King Kalakaua Centennial mules were made (as test strikes) and the specimen that was sold was mixed up with inventory of the 1883-1983 King Kalakaua Centennial bronze patterns. This is most likely how it was placed in the set.