A Short History of Australian Coinage

Australian coins

Collecting Australian Coins

By Gary R Eggleston

Australian coins are very rich in history and diversity. Though Australia has only been a formal nation for slightly over a hundred years, its coinage makes up for this. The Royal Australian Mint has produced some of the most beautiful designs with rarities that surpass many others the world over. One of the most famous is the 1930 Proof Copper Penny, which has an estimated value of between $1 million to $1.3 million. A further examination will lead you to other less expensive varieties.

There are a number of series available to the collector. Broadly speaking they fall into the categories below, each of which will be briefly covered in this article:

• Colonial coinage which is often referred to as the Proclamation series (1788 – 1825)

• Pre-decimal coins (1910 to 1964)

• Decimal coins (1966 to present) Sovereigns and Half Sovereigns (1853 to 1931)

Australian DollarWhen Australia was first colonized by England the first fleet arrived with enough stuff to make the colony self-sufficient for a period of time. As the population of the colony grew and business’s expanded, there became a need for a reliable currency. With no mint of its own in existence, a myriad of foreign coins circulated as a form of currency. In 1800 The Governor of New South Wales issued a Proclamation that gave this mishmash of foreign coins being used artificially high values within the colony. The coins were worth more to use there than offshore. These substitute coins are today known as Australia’s Proclamation Coins.

Starting in 1910, Australia started producing a new series of currency for the use of its population. The Half-Penny, Penny, Threepence, Sixpence, Shilling, and Florin became the norm for everyday buying and selling. These coins are now known as the “Pre-Decimal” series and continued to be used up until 1966. A number of proof sets were issued in the Pre-Decimal era, though their mintage numbers were never very large.

Decimal currency was introduced to the Australian populace in 1966. Dollars and cents replaced the older British inspired currency and coinage. The Royal Australian Mint started to produce Mint and Proof sets for interested collectors in relatively large mintage numbers. Starting in 1975, the RAM realized that it had a public who thirsted for coin sets and commemoratives. The Royal Australian Mint bowed to public approval and increased the mintages to fill this growing demand.

1998-kookaburra

In 1984 a new $1 coin replaced the paper notes of the same value. The $2 followed shortly afterwards. The decimal system is still the current currency of the day for public usage in Australia. Many different commemorative coins are issued yearly. Most of these commemorative coins are made in either gold or silver and can often be found with colorful patterns and artworks.

Each period or era has produced a number of coins that are now highly sought after. The examples are too numerous to mention in this short article. To learn more about how to collect and value Australian coins check out this article: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art302712.asp

To learn more about how to collect and value Australian coins check out this website: https://www.scribd.com/doc/308680312/Collecting-Coins-of-Australia

Article Source: Collecting Australian Coins


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