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Australia George V

1916-I Mule Half Penny reverse 1916-I Mule Half Penny obverse

1916-I Mule Half Penny

Figure shared with:
General issue
Reverse Designer:W. H. J. Blakemore Obverse Designer:Sir E. B. MacKennel Size:26mm Weight:5.67g Edge:Plain Composition:97% Copper
2.5% Zinc
0.5% Tin


Sales History


In 1916 the Calcutta mint produced half pennies for Australia as neither the Sydney, Melbourne nor Perth mints were prepared to produce bronze coins. A very small number of 1916 half pennies were mistakenly struck with the obverse of an Indian one quarter anna though this was not discovered until June 1965 when Cecil Poole found one in Adelaide. The type of error is called a mule.

The half penny mule can be identified by the lack of pearls in the crown of George V and an Elephant on the shoulder of King George V.

Elephant on the obverse shoulder of a 1916-I Mule Half Penny. Elephant on the obverse shoulder of a 1916-I Mule Half Penny.

There was much initial scepticism on the authenticity of the piece and in June 1966 and was heavily debated in the Australian Coin Review from November 1965 to January 1967. In June 1966 the piece was authenticated by the Royal Australian Mint and in January 1967 by the British Museum and Spink & Son finally settling the question on its authenticity. It's incredible that such an obvious error had not been identified earlier but this could be easily justified by the lack of coin collectors at the time, since then an additional four examples have been discovered and two more possibly exist in private collections.

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