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Australia George V

1923 Proof Half Penny reverse 1923 Proof Half Penny obverse

1923 Proof Half Penny

Mintage:2 Known Mint:Melbourne Monarch:George V Reverse Designer:W. H. J. Blakemore Obverse Designer:Sir E. B. MacKennel Size:25.5mm Weight:5.67g Edge:Plain Composition:97% Copper
2.5% Zinc
0.5% Tin


Sales History


The proof 1923 half penny is one of Australia's most expensive copper coins, with the single example in private hands selling in early 2009 for half a million dollars (Aussie Half Penny Sets $500,000 Record, 2009 . The proof half penny was originally intended to be part of a 6 coin proof set of the first year in which the Melbourne mint produced all denominations of Australian coinage to be presented at the British Empire Exhibition in London in 1924. The quality of the set was critical as this was the first time the Melbourne mint would have the opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities and that it could solely supply Australia's circulating coins, as with the imminent closure of the Sydney mint, a successful demonstration would ensure the Melbourne mint would get the striking contracts rather than the potentially competing Perth mint. Only a small number of each denomination were to be produced as proof strikes, the finest of which would make up the set. It is unknown how far the mint got with their production of 1923 proof strikes, but these strikes are known only by the half penny, penny and florin. Proof-like pennies, threepence, sixpence and florins are also known which suggests that either the dies were later re-used to produce business strikes, or the rejected proofs were released into circulation. No 1923 shillings are known in proof or otherwise, it appears that any 1923 shilling dies produced were re-engraved with the 1925 date in order to produce the 1925/23 overdate shilling. The Melbourne mint eventually rejected the 1923 proofs and presented the perfected 1924 proof set as part of their display at the British Empire Exhibition. Despite its rejected beginning, the half penny would eventually become one of the most prized Australian coins, due to the fame acquired by its business strike cousin.

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