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22-Nov-2019

Collecting Old Australian Coins

Walter Eigner Collecting old Australian coins provides a fascinating glimpse into Australia's history through its circulating coinage. While there is a general impression that old coins are too expensive for new collectors to collect that couldn't be further from the truth. For just a few dollars you could obtain a later year mint-state pre-decimal coin, and for less than the cost of a modern proof set you can purchase a George V (1911-1936) pre-decimal coin.
1-Nov-2019

The case for certified coins

Walter Eigner The debate on certified coins vs uncertified coins has been going on in Australia since PCGS first reached the mainstream Australian market back in 2008. While today most Australian coin collectors favour PCGS graded coins, a recent incident has reaffirmed the importance of and buying certified coins and valuing them first, especially when buying on-line.
5-Oct-2019

Valuing Old Coins

Walter Eigner By far the most common question we get asked is "what is my coin worth?" Perhaps you found a few old coins which is why you're here reading this article. Maybe you're a seasoned collector already looking to get more precise values for your coins than the printed catalogues can offer. Perhaps you're an investor looking to value your coin portfolio. This guide will cover all of that.
28-Sep-2019

The Silver of Edward VII

Walter Eigner Although Australia had been a nation since 1901, it wasn't until 1910 that her first official coins were produced. While the Melbourne mint was producing sovereigns and half sovereigns at the time, these were technically Imperial British coins. The first coins issued specifically for Australia were struck in silver and of the denominations threepence, sixpence, shilling, and florin. These featured the Australian Coat of Arms on the reverse and the crowed bust of King Edward VII on the obverse.
10-Sep-2019

Sydney Mint Half Sovereigns

Walter Eigner The discovery of gold in the colony New South Wales in 1851 prompted a surge of immigration among prospectors seeking wealth in the new colony. This lead to the production of half sovereigns in Sydney as of 1855. Only 3.3 million half sovereigns were produced from 1855 to 1869 resulting in individual years being very scarce and valuable. To add to this, the high bullion content of Sydney mint half sovereigns, which were alloyed with silver, compared with their British counterparts, which were alloyed with copper...
Next Page: Half Penny

Collecting Old Australian Coins

Introduction

Collecting old Australian coins provides a fascinating glimpse into Australia's history through its circulating coinage. While there is a general impression that old coins are too expensive for new collectors to collect that couldn't be further from the truth. For just a few dollars you could obtain a later year mint-state pre-decimal coin, and for less than the cost of a modern proof set you can purchase a George V (1911-1936) pre-decimal coin.

The most commonly collected Australian coin series is the Commonwealth coinage series, issued from 1910 to 1964, it covered five reigns, Edward VII (1910), George V (1911-36), Edward VIII (1936-37), George VI (1937-52), and Elizabeth II (1952-1964). No coins were produced for Australia bearing the bust of King Edward VIII however.

The four reigns under which Australia struck circulating coins

The Edward VII coins were only struck in silver in 1910 while the copper denominations started in 1911 under King George V and all denominations continued until 1963 with the lowest denominations, half penny, penny, and threepence continuing until 1964. Australia additionally produced crowns in 1937 and 1938.

Commonwealth used the pre-decimal system of pounds, shillings and pence. It was quite a complicated system compared to Australia's decimal standard of today but Australians used it in their day-to-day lives. The lowest denomination was the half penny, two of these made a penny, three pennies made a threepence, six to a sixpence and twelve to a shilling. Two shillings made a florin and five made a crown.

The seven pre-decimal denominations: half penny, penny, threepence, sixpence, shilling, florin, and crown
Denomination Equivalent Pence Equivalent Cents
Half Penny 1/2 5/12
Penny 1/2 5/12
Threepence 3 2 1/2
Sixpence 6 5
Shilling 12 10
Florin 24 20
Crown 60 50

Interestingly, the sixpence, shilling and florin directly translate to the five cent, ten cent and twenty cent coins respectively in terms of value, size and weight. These helped simplify the transition to decimal currency in 1966. The above illustrated set is a 1938 proof set, one of just 100 sets made (and even fewer were sold and survive today), and is the type of set that you may hear about on the news achieving record prices. That being said, you could get regular circulation coins of each date but the crown for a few dollars and even mint state examples for $30 - $75 each with the crown starting at about $400 in mint state and $100 for a circulated example.

Next Page: Half Penny