Mintage:UnknownObverse Designer:Stokes and SonSize:18mmWeight:9.45gEdge:Plain
This One Penny Coin is a part of the proposed Kookaburra Series that was intended to become the first coinage that would
be uniquely Australian. The Kookaburra patterns were designed between 1919 and 1921. Altogether
12 types were designed and prototype struck, all with some very subtle differences. The series, which included One Penny
coins such as this one as well as 2 types of Half Penny, ( ) was met with controversy for a number of reasons including the
fact that the coin was square and the Monarch in many of the designs was uncrowned. A great opportunity for Australia to
stand out with their own unique and innovative coinage was lost as the series never went into production. The exact figures
are unknown but it is thought that around 200 prototypes of the various types were created and they are today a very sought
after, popular and rare collectors piece. This type 3 coin was the first design of the Kookaburra Patterns Square Coin Series
designed by Stokes & Son. Noticeable differences to the designs of the different types include the spacing and layout
used within the denomination ONE PENNY. The Kookaburra varies slightly in each mainly in size and the branch on which he
is sitting is sometimes in line with the O and sometimes hovering slightly above. The reverse
features the Kookaburra as the central image with the legend AUSTRALIA in large simple capital
letters curving slightly across the top of the coin. In this particular design the denomination: ONE PENNY covers two lines
at the bottom right with the Kookaburras branch hovering just above. The obverse features
the controversial portrait of King George V without his crown, which was in fact eventually granted by the King himself.
The legend surrounding his Majesty's portrait in the traditional circle despite the fact the
coin is square reads GEORGE V D.G.BRITT:OMN:REX. 1919. After the First World War it was decided that the flourishing nation
of Australia should have it's own currency. The idea behind the design of the coins and the use of the square shape over
the traditional circle, was to create coinage that would be uniquely Australian and representative of the nation.
(Coin Works, 2013)
The Kookaburra was chosen as it is so iconic of Australia and causing further controversy the idea was put forward that
the King would not be wearing his familiar crown, an idea that was integrated in all designs excluding that of Type 10 (
). It is thought that the primary force and momentum behind the Kookaburra Patterns came from Treasurer William Watt. When
reception of the new design was not as positive as expected combined with the sudden resignation of Watt and the fact that
square coins created difficulties with the vending machine, the series was dropped. As production totaled an approximate
number of just 200 prototypes, the coins are extremely rare and considering the interesting story they tell and their role
in Australian numismatic history, they make a great addition to any collection.
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