Mintage:2 KnownReverse Designer:W. H. J. BlakemoreObverse Designer:Sir E. B. MacKennelSize:26mmWeight:5.67gEdge:PlainComposition:97% Copper 2.5% Zinc 0.5% Tin
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
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
strikes, the finest of which would make up the set. It is unknown how far the
mint got with their production of 1923
strikes, but these strikes are known only by the half penny, penny and florin.
pennies, threepence, sixpence and florins are also known which suggests that either the
were later re-used to produce business strikes, or the rejected
were released into circulation. No 1923 shillings are known in
or otherwise, it appears that any 1923 shilling
produced were re-engraved with the 1925 date in order to produce the 1925/23
shilling. The Melbourne mint eventually rejected the 1923
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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