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Australia Melbourne Centenary

1934-35  Florin reverse 1934-35  Florin obverse

1934-35 Florin

54,000 sold, others presumablely melted
Mint:Melbourne Mint Monarch:George V Reverse Designer:George Kruger Gray Obverse Designer:Percy Metcalf Size:28mm Weight:11.31g Edge:Reeded Composition:92.5% Silver
7.5% Copper


Sales History


The Centenary Florin celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the state of Victoria, 1834 and the settlement of the city of Melbourne, 1835. It is the scarcest commemorative with a total mintage of 75,000 and only 54,000 being sold, the remainder being returned to the Melbourne mint to for re-melting. (Coin Web, 2007) They were sold for an issue price of 3/- to help fund the Melbourne Centenary celebrations. (Coin Web, 2007) The coin is often sold with a Foy & Gibson bag, from either Melbourne or Perth. The Melbourne bag in top condition is very scarce while the Perth bags are rare in any condition. (Coin Web, 2007)

According to correspondence between the Deputy mint master at the Royal Mint, Melbourne and New Zealand dealer, H. G. Williams, no proof Melbourne Centenary florins were issued (Verheyen, T, V, 2008) , however, orders between dealers were filled out for early business strikes which display proof-like characteristics. This explains why the coins previously identified as being proof were frequently imperfect with H. G. Williams outlining in correspondence with the mint that a customer of his rejected a Melbourne Centenary florin as being faulty. (Verheyen, T, V, 2008) These proof-like strikes are still much scarcer than typical business strikes and thus as with most proof-like issues, do command strong premiums, however they are not as scarce as once thought. There are two identified proof-like dies. Die type I can be identified by a matte relief and mirror fields, while Die type II can be identified by less reflective fields and smoother fields (Verheyen, T, V, 2007) . Both have a flat, wire rim. Two different business strikes are also identifiable. The first type is the same as the specimen die but without a cameo or matte finish, and without the nipple on the left side of the figure's chest on the reverse. The reverse rim is thin, bevelled and round; the obverse flat. (Lever, F, 2013)

Business strike: no nipple on reverse relief. Business strike: no nipple on reverse relief.

Business strike: thin, bevelled, and rounded reverse rim Business strike: thin, bevelled, and rounded reverse rim

Business strike: flat reverse rim Business strike: flat reverse rim

The king's bust on both business strikes is tilted slightly to the right or backwards, whereas the bust on the proof-like strike is more upright with the cross at the top of the crown pointing directly at 12:00 (Lever, F, 2013) .

The Melbourne Centenary celebrations fell during the Great Depression which reduced the overall enthusiasm for the event. This did not stop the organisers from organising substantial events throughout Melbourne. One of the most notable of these events was the 'MacRobertson Air Race' so named as it was funded by Sir Macpherson Robertson founder of the confectionery company MacRobertson's. The race was from London to Melbourne (18,200 km) and was won by a British DH.88 Comet in 71 hours. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2017) Amazingly the second and third place was won by passenger aircraft attempting to prove the potential of long-distance air travel. The second place winner, a Dutch Douglas DC-2, became lost during a storm and arrived over Albury in New South Wales. The plane was saved by a local plan that involved using town and vehicle lights for signalling. This action endeared the people of Albury to the Dutch so much so that the mayor was entered into the Dutch chivalric 'Order of Orange-Nassau'. (ABC Goulburn Murray, 2007)

Albury locals assist the off-course Uiver on its way to Melbourne, 1934. Albury locals assist the off-course Uiver on its way to Melbourne, 1934.

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