Australian Silver Coins

Posted by on April 21, 2012

 

Australian 1911 Threepence obverse

Australian 1911 Threepence obverse

In 1788 Great Britain first settled a region in Australia they called New South Wales; however Australian Silver Coins would not be produced until 1910, a decade after the Australian Federation was formed.  There are some interesting events regarding the currency used on the continent of Australia during its growth from a penal colony to a nation.

Australian 1911 Threepence reverse

Australian 1911 Threepence reverse

One of the more interesting Australian Silver Coins came about years earlier in New South Wales, when Great Britain was only shipping prisoners and the necessities to the penal colony.  This included very little money therefore a great deal of bartering (primarily with rum and flour) was the norm and slowly the Spanish dollar became widely used.  On November 19, 1800 Governor Philip Gidley King passed a decree setting the Spanish dollar to five shillings and fixing exchange rates for other countries currency used in the colony.

In 1812 Governor Lachlan Macquarie bought 40,000 Spanish Dollars at four shillings nine pence each and for the purpose of keeping them in circulation on the Continent he had holes cut out of them.  These holes Spanish dollars became known as Holey dollars with a five shillings exchange rate and the pieces from the middles were called Dump and valued around fifteen pence.  These both became legal tender on September 30, 1813 and put into circulation in 1814.

1943 D Australia Sterling Silver Sixpence 6P  Coin T-683
1943 D Australia Sterling Silver Sixpence 6P Coin T-683
$5.63
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
1960 Australia Silver Sixpence Coin 6P Q-35
1960 Australia Silver Sixpence Coin 6P Q-35
$3.52
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
1936 Sterling Silver Threepence 3P Coin Australia  R-363
1936 Sterling Silver Threepence 3P Coin Australia R-363
$4.92
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
1963 Australia Silver Sixpence 6P  T-925
1963 Australia Silver Sixpence 6P T-925
$3.52
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
1948, 1950 & 1951 PL Threepence - all well above average with lustre - 3 coins
1948, 1950 & 1951 PL Threepence - all well above average with lustre - 3 coins
$2.18 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
1945 Florin - above average coin with good eye appeal / tougher date
1945 Florin - above average coin with good eye appeal / tougher date
$8.18 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 16m
1942 M Shilling - well above average coin with nice toning - scarce this nice
1942 M Shilling - well above average coin with nice toning - scarce this nice
$2.81 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 19m
Australia - Medallion. 1888 Centennial Exhibition Melbourne..Silver, 24mm.  aVF
Australia - Medallion. 1888 Centennial Exhibition Melbourne..Silver, 24mm. aVF
$77.39
Time Remaining: 1h 28m
Lot 68.     Silver Coin in Mint Condition
Lot 68. Silver Coin in Mint Condition
$4.36
Time Remaining: 2h 37m

In 1824 and 1825 nearly 100,000 Pounds worth of British coins were imported and in 1825 the Great Britain established British currency as the Australian colonies and in 1829 the Holey dollar lost its status of legal tender.  In the 1850’s the Australian colony had a massive gold rush on the scale of the United States California gold rush occurring during the same period.  This caused a great rise in the population and the demands for British currency could not be met.  Trader token’s were frequently used and the request to strike gold coins in Adelaide in 1852 was rejected.  However Australia’s first mint was opened in Sydney during 1855.  The Sydney Mint struck gold sovereign (equal to one pound) and half sovereign coins from 1855 through 1870.

Australian 1962 Threepence

Australian 1962 Threepence

In 1910 Australia used the British system of pounds, shillings, and pence.  The British sterling silver standard of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper was used until 1945 when the silver content was dropped to 50%, with 40% copper, 5% nickel, and 5% zinc.  1964 was the last year silver was used for circulation however there are a few exceptions.  In 1966 Australia converted their currency to the decimal system.

The first Australian Silver Coins have King Edward VII on the 1910 strikes which were the florin, shilling, sixpence, and threepence.  Then King George V was on those from 1911 to 1936.  Then King George VI from 1938 to 1952 and then Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 through all of the silver coin issues and she continues to appear on Australia’s currency.

Because of the high price of silver and the large quantities of most of the mintage for Australian Silver Coins, their silver content verses their numismatic value for many of the heavier circulated coins, have caused them to be considered “junk” silver.  The following is an overview of these silver coins’ silver content.

Australian 1937 Crown obverse

Australian 1937 Crown obverse

Threepence coins from 1910-1944 will yield 0.0419 troy ounces of silver each and those from 1947-1964 will yield 0.0227 troy ounces of silver each.

Sixpence coins from 1910-1945 will yield 0.0839 troy ounces of silver each and those from 1946-1963 will yield 0.0453 troy ounces of silver each.

Australian 1937 Crown reverse

Australian 1937 Crown reverse

Shilling coins from 1910-1944 will yield 0.1680 troy ounces of silver each and those from 1946-1963 will yield 0.0908 troy ounces of silver each.

Florin coins from 1910-1945 will yield 0.3364 troy ounces of silver each and those from 1946-1963 will yield 0.1818 troy ounces of silver each.

Crown coins from 1937 and 1938 will yield 0.8407 troy ounces of silver each.

Round 50 cent coins from 1966 are the last Australian Silver Coins struck for circulation.  These are 80% silver 20% copper weighing 13.28 grams and yield 0.3416 troy ounces of silver each.

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Britain's Cheapest Silver Bullion Coins: Undercut ALL the major bullion dealers
A Guide to the Principal Gold and Silver Coins of the Ancients from circa bc700 to ad1
A Guide to the Principal Gold and Silver Coins of the Ancients from circa bc700 to ad1
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