Australian Silver Crown

Posted by on November 10, 2012
SC AUS 1937 Australia Silver Crown Australian Silver Crown

1937 Australia Silver Crown - obverse

The Australian Silver Crown was minted in 1937 and 1938.  These five shilling coins are 38.5 millimeters in diameter, weigh 28.28 grams, and are made up of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper.  They have a total silver content of 0.8410 troy ounces silver and have a reeded edge.

Thomas Humphrey Paget designed the obverse which has King George VI’s head facing left.  The legend encircles him following the rim and reads: “GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP.”  Paget’s mark “HP” is visible underneath the neck line towards the back.

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The reverse was designed by George Kruger Gray and has the Royal Crown in the center with the date directly underneath. “ONE CROWN” is under the date along the coin's lower rim and it is separated by points from the legend; “.COMMONWEALTH :OF:AUSTRALIA.”. Gray’s mark is under the crown on the right side: “KG”.

SC AUS 1937 Australian Silver Crown reverse 300x291 Australian Silver Crown

1937 Australian Silver Crown - reverse

The plan for the Australian Silver Crown was to commemorate Edward VIII’s ascension to the throne.  It took an act of the Federal Parliament to amend the Coinage Act of 1909 and allow a silver crown coin to be minted in Australia.  However two days after the vote went through Edward VIII abdicated to marry the twice divorced American Wallis Simpson.  It was decided to go ahead with the crown as a commemorative for the new King George VI.

One of the features of the United Kingdom’s coins is the direction their monarch is facing.  Edward VIII would have been facing right however no coins were minted with his portrait, and yet his honor is respected.  It was decided that King George VI will face left on the UK's coins even though King George V, the last monarch to be portrayed just prior King George VI, faces left.

SC AUS 1938 Silver Crown reverse 300x289 Australian Silver Crown

1938 Australia Silver Crown - reverse

There were 1,008,000 of the George VI’s coronation Australian silver crown minted in 1937 and it became Australia’s favorite coin.  However Federal Treasurer R. G. Casey, who had proposed Australia strike the coin, pushed hard for it to be issued the following year.  In 1938 there were 101,600 silver crowns struck in Australia and the commemorative fever for the series cooled off quickly.  Sometimes Australian's silver crowns are referred to as “Casey’s Cartwheel” because its size made them awkward much like the United States' Morgan silver dollars.

Because of the large size and the crowns’ empty fields there are liable to be bag marks on these coins.  Silver is a relatively soft metal and is susceptible to picking up scratches and dings when banged about.  It is rare to find a Mint State coin that does not have bag marks on them due to the way the mint conveyed and dropped them into bags.  There are also a great number of weak strikes for the crowns and finding one that is better than MS64 is truly a find.

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