07/26/2014 – Rare Bronze Royal Hawaiian Mint Medals Sold on eBay

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.




1991 Kaiulani 21mm (size of 1/4 oz gold) Bronze Pattern

1991 Kaiulani 21mm (size of 1/4 oz gold) Bronze Pattern

New acquisition. Undocumented die paring. 1/4 oz gold obverse paired with a new (unrecognized) reverse die. Very crisp strike on a polished bronze planchet.

I believe this is a bronze pattern and was to be struck/may have been struck in gold.

I contacted the seller prior to bidding and he assured me that Telle Presley (co-founder of Royal Hawaiian Mint) confirmed it was struck in bronze. Unfortunately. no mintage numbers. However, this coin completes my 1991 Kaiulani Design metal type collection (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum). There is only 1 documented bronze striking of the 1991 Kaiulani design, but luckily this pattern appeared.