The 1943 Shilling was struck at the Melbourne Mint with a total
of 2,720,000. In the same year a further 16,000,000 pieces were struck at the San Francisco Mint
. The San Francisco type can be differentiated from the Melbourne by a small 'S' mint-mark located below the ram on the reverse design (see image below). The reasonably large mintage has help to ensure
that the type remains affordable across most grades, only becoming quite expensive at around MS63. The San Francisco variety
however is extremely affordable, only becoming relatively expensive at around MS65.
San Francisco 'S' mint-mark on a 1943-S Shilling.
The high overall
in 1943 was a response against a major shortage of silver and copper coinage. One of the key reasons for this shortage
was the mass arrival of United States soldiers into Australia from the Middle Eastern theatre. These troops, along with a
general increase in public spending, created an unprecedented demand for coinage. The Australian
mints' simply could not make supply match demand so a deal was struck with the United States under President Roosevelt's
Lend-lease policy. It was agreed that the United States would provide provide Australia with a substantial quantity of silver
coins and in return Australia would return an equal amount of silver after the war.
President Theodore Roosevelt had created the extensive Lend-Lease program in 1941 as a way to assist allied forces during
the Second World War. The program allowed the United States to provide war materials including but limited to ammunition,
aeroplanes, and food - that could then be repaid for, "...in kind or property, or any other direct or indirect benefit which the President deems satisfactory."
The program proved essential to the allied war effort with the total value of the air reaching $49,100,000,000.
(Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017)
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