The 1911 penny marks the first copper coin struck for the Commonwealth of Australia, 10 years after Federation. It was produced at the Royal mint, London as the Australian mints were not yet ready to produce copper coins. Being the first year of Australian coinage, the mintage had to be high at 3.7 million to ensure that demand for circulating coinage would be met with sufficient supply. Consequently the 1911 is one of the more common dates of the series despite being the earliest.
In mint state grades it is the most common in the series, being the oldest, it was frequently hoarded and in addition, London coin dealer Baldwins also held at least two mint rolls of the date which accounts for their abundance in mint state with original mint brilliance, almost unheard of in George V coinage. In fact it is the only date in the George V series and one of only about 12 dates in the entire penny series that is readily available with full mint brilliance. Being the only George V date readily available in such condition, and also being the first year, it is heavily targeted by type set collectors and consequently commands high premiums in red mint state despite its abundance.
The strike is usually good but the date sometimes suffers from a central strike weakness, usually offset towards the top of the coin. This is most noticeable around the top scroll and N of ONE on the reverse, and the King's head and the band on the crown on the obverse as in the illustrations below.
The Royal mint London also produced specimen strikes in 1911 as part of a six coin specimen set but an additional 4 coin proof set did not contain the penny.
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