The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is the biggest sporting event of the year. Even if you couldn’t make it to South Africa (& lets face it, not many of us are there *sigh*) you can still get in on the action with this commemorative coin from Perth Mint.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Silver Proof Coin features a montage of a soccer player and kangaroo in celebration of Australia’s qualifying team. The proof quality 1oz 99.9% pure silver coin incorporates Perth Mint’s “P” mark. It is limited to a run 15,000.
Show your support for the Socceroo’s with this magnificent keepsake. They get another crack at the World Cup in a few years, but this little beauty won’t be sticking around for too long.
The reverse of the coin, which is legal tender of Tuvalu, features a beautifully coloured Christmas tree, brightly decorated and surrounded by stars. The words “Wishing you a very merry Christmas” are inscribed around the tree. The festive theme continues with sprigs of holly and is completed with a large bow at the base of the design.
The obverse shows the Raphael Maklouf portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. This thoughtful gift is offered in a burgundy presentation case and includes a numbered certificate of authenticity.
Why not surprise someone this Christmas. Or better yet, get one for yourself!
As a beginner in any hobby, the jargon can be a little confusing. Collecting Australian silver coins is no different. There are many terms used to describe both the quality and physical characteristics of coins. If you’re not aware what these terms mean, your head can end up spinning in no time.
In the first part of our glossary, let’s look at the jargon related to coin quality (grading). This list is arranged in decreasing order of quality.
Fleur de Coin (FDC): Literally translates as “flower of the die”. This is the highest grade of coin. As you would expect, everything should be perfect - the design sharp (due to the quality of the strike) with absolutely no signs of wear and certainly no marks. While the coins should still have their original luster, it is acceptable for silver coins to have a patina. This term can describe both proof and circulated coins. Very, very rare.
Gem Uncirulated: Again the strike should be excellent, although a slight amount of die wear is acceptable. Any marks should be negligible. Mint luster should still be evident, although a patina on silver coins is acceptable. This is probably the best quality coin us mere mortals would ever have the good fortune of seeing.
Choice Uncirculated (CHU): A very good strike should be evident, although some wear is acceptable. Marks should be insignificant and a high degree of luster should be evident.
Uncirulated (UNC): The strike on these coins will be of a much lesser quality, for example finer details of the design may not be thoroughly reproduced. Marks are acceptable but not excessive.
Almost Uncirculated (aUNC): As opposed to the uncirculated grades above, these coins may show very minimal wear due to handling (circulation), particularly on the higher points of the design. Other aspects of this grade are on a par with UNC.
Extremely Fine (EF): Shows slightly more wear due to handling, usually hardly visible. It can sometimes be difficult to determine if this level of wear is due to handling or a weak strike.
Very Fine (VF): Shows definite signs of wear, although the design should still be sharp and clear. Marks are more visible, particularly around the rim of the coin.
Fine (F): Most of the fine parts of the design have been worn away due to circulation. This coins has seen a great deal of handling.
Very Good (VG): Shows significant wear, although the design is still visible. Virtually all the fine detail will be gone.
Part II of the glossary will cover more general jargon used in the world of coin collecting.
I just received an email from Perth Mint regarding the huge popularity of their tribute to HMAS Sydney II. Here’s an extract from the email…
The eager response to our HMAS Sydney II tributes means that the individual 1oz silver proof coin is rapidly becoming a rarity. And as we go to press, there are literally only a handful of Coin, Medallion & Badge Sets remaining in stock at the Mint.
This coin is set to become a true collectors’ item. Don’t miss your chance to add this significant release to your collection.
Click here to order your HMAS Sydney II tribute now.
I thought I’d start our Australian decimal coins category with a commemorative coin just issued by the Perth Mint Autralia.
To honour the discovery of the HMAS Sydney II wreck and to coincide with the 67th anniversary of its sinking, Perth Mint has released a 1oz 99.9% pure silver, proof coin.
This extremely limited coin (no more than 7,500 minted) has been issued as legal tender. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse. The reverse shows the honoured HMAS Sydney II in fine detail. The words “HMAS SYDNEY II 19 NOVEMBER 1941 - 16 MARCH 2008″ along with the mint mark “P” appear with the image. The dates represent the period the ship lay undiscovered.
HMAS Sydney II sank after a battle with the German ship HSK Kormoran on November 19, 1941. The battle represents Australia’s largest loss of life in a naval battle.
The discovery of the wreck of HMAS Sydney II was a significant step in Australia’s military history. Even more so, it was particularly personal one for the relatives of the 645 officers and crew who lost their lives when the ship sank.
Sydney had been on escort duties off the West Australian coast when it crossed paths with the disguised Kormoran. Neither ship made it through the ensuing battle.
The sinking of HMAS Sydney II was something that has perplexed many. Sydney was considered a superior battle ship and there was disbelief that it could be defeated by Kormoran. Further fueling suspicions of foul play, in an attempt to maintain the morale of the nation, the Royal Australian Navy and the Government supplied very little information regarding the sinking to the public.
Perth Mint Australia’s commemorative coin is a high quality tribute to the HMAS Sydney II and one that not only collectors are sure to treasure.
One of the more adventurous ways to build your Australian silver coins collection is to get out into the great outdoors with a metal detector. The sites where coins are discovered are many and varied - beaches, ruins, football grounds to name just a few. In fact, anywhere that people gathered tends to be a good place to look.
Of course, the most likely place to find Australian silver coins is in Australia. However, they have occasionally been discovered overseas, particularly where the Australian military had a large presence during World Wars I and II or in popular tourist destinations.
Join this modern day prospector as he finds three pre decimal Australian silver coins. The location he visits seems fairly unlikely at first glance, but a little reconnaissance shows that first impressions can be misleading…
I’ve already mentioned that my Australian silver coin journey began with my mum’s little collection. One of the things I’ve been really surprised about, but equally enjoyed and fascinated by, is learning the history surrounding the coins.
Being a somewhat practical person, I initially considered the investment potential of collecting coins. But it has been the stories of the eras and people of the coins that have got me hooked. Now each time I see a coin, I imagine what Australia must have been like when it was minted, whose hands it might have passed through and what it represents. I thought I’d share the article that introduced me to this aspect of coin collecting.
It appeared on Numismaster.com earlier this month and discussed “the 230th anniversary of the death of Captain James Cook in 1779 with the issue of four silver 2009-dated dollars”. While the actual coins don’t have a history (yet!) I really enjoyed reading about what they commemorate. A fantastic way to brush up on the history classes I ignored at school!
The second denomination of pre decimal Australian silver coins is the sixpence. Besides the penny, this is the pre decimal coin I am most familiar with. It’s the one that sometimes turned up under my grandmother’s sofa cushions, in the bottom of her drawers or in the little boxes of bits and pieces I loved searching through as a child.
Perhaps interconnected with its extensive usage in its day, the sixpence is now one of the most widely collected Australian silver coins. Not only does it appear more often for sale, it is generally one of the more affordable coins for collectors to acquire.
This coin was issued in Australia between 1910 and 1963. It too saw the reigns of Kings Edward VII, George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II with each of their portraits appearing on the obverse at various periods.
Unlike many Australian coins, the reverse of the sixpence presented the Australian Coat of Arms for its entire circulation.
Similarly to the smallest Australian silver coin - the threepence - the sixpence was manufactured at a variety of mints around the world. From 1910 to 1914 the coin was exclusively produced in London. Then in 1915 the Birmingham Mint joined the process. Production was moved to Melbourne Mint in 1916 where the Australian sixpence was exclusively minted until 1920. As with the three pence, the sixpence was also struck at Sydney Mint from 1921 to 1926. From 1927 Melbourne Mint again took over sole production. The exceptions to this were during WWII, when some coins were produced in the USA (San Diego and Denver Mints) and again in 1951 during Australia’s “boom” years where some sixpence were struck at the London Mint.
Some sixpence carry distinguishing marks on their reverse from the mint they were struck: an “M” for those minted in Melbourne from 1916 to 1920; “S” for those minted in San Diego from 1942 - 1944; “D” for those minted in Denver in 1942 and 1943; and “PL” for those minted in London in 1951 (see the picutre above).
As with other Australian silver coins the silver content of the sixpence was reduced in 1946 from 92.5% to 50% in order to provide one of the means for the government to pay off some of the WWII debt.
The quality of the sixpence is generally better than the three pence. Because of its larger size, the dies for producing the sixpence were not as difficult to make and maintain. However, the quality of the coin did deteriorate during the war as costs were cut in the production process.
As a new collector of Australian silver coins the sixpence might be the ideal choice to start with. It is reasonably common, good quality coins are available and the price is generally not out of reach. Why not start your sixpence hunt today?
The smallest Australian silver coin, the three pence, or thrupence, was issued in Australia from 1911 to 1964 (manufacture began in 1910). During this period Australia was under the reigns of Kings Edward VII, George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, whose portraits all appear on the obverse.
The reverse showcased the Australian Coat of Arms from 1910 - 1936. in 1937 it was changed to three stalks of wheat with a ribbon.
Although they are Australian silver coins, the three pence are quite worldly little coins! Until 1915 they were produced by the Royal London Mint. Following that they were either minted in Melbourne or Sydney, and from 1942-44 (during WWII) in USA. Again in 1951 London Mint helped out by producing 40,000 three pence coins. Australia was experiencing an economic boom at the time and the local mints couldn’t keep up with demand!
Now, stay with me for this bit - it gets a little confusing. Those first three pence minted in London have no distinguishing marks. Those produced in Melbourne (1916 - 1921) are distinguished by an “M” under the date. Following that, there are no marks on the Melbourne coins. From 1921 to 1926 Sydney Mint joined the process, although there are no marks on these coins. The coins produced in the USA have an “S” on those made in San Francisco (not to be confused with Sydney!) or a “D” on those from Denver mints. The second run of London Mint coins can be identified by the “PL” either side of the wheat stalks on the reverse.
Until 1944 the threepence was minted in sterling silver. Following WWII the silver content was reduced to 50% with 40% copper, 5% zinc and 5% nickel. This was the case with other Australian silver coins, as the government cut costs in order to pay off a very large WWII debt.
The small size of the coin (only 16mm) means extra skill and care were needed in the preparation and maintenance of dies. As a result many coins appear to be quite worn, when in fact the issues were with the minting process. Dirt and oil would find its way into crevices in the die creating in a weak strike. Occasionally, the quality of the die was simply below par. In addition, in order to increase the working life of the dies weaker strikes were sometimes ordered (probably to reduce costs during the war).
These problems with dies caused some common issues with the Australian silver three pence: the diamonds and pearls in George V’s crown not fully appearing, as well as the wheat stalks on the reverse not imprinting completely.
It pays to be aware of these issues, as they are not directly related to the condition of the coin. On the other hand, sterling silver wears relatively quickly so there are a number of these Australian silver coins showing considerable wear.
My initial research into mum’s little coin collection has opened up a whole new world of previously unknown facts, figures and - somewhat unexpectedly - Australian history to me. I had no idea there was so much to learn about Australian Silver Coins and that there would be so many paths. So I’ve decided to keep a record of what I learn here in the hope it will help others with a budding interest too.
The original currency for Australia arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. It was the currency of England, and Australia being a colony, there were no plans to create a separate currency. In fact, the amount of currency first brought to Australia was so small that rum and tobacco were often used as a substitute! The colony also accepted some foreign currency as legal tender as proclaimed by Govenor King in 1800. These included coins from Great Britain, Portugal, India, Spain and Netherlands. What a hotch potch!
To combat the lack of coins in the colony, in 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie put 40,000 Spanish dollars sent by the British Government into circulation. To discourage people from taking the new tender from the colony, Macquarie had the centres of the coins punched out forming two new coins - the Holey Dollar (fifteen shillings) and Dump (fifteen pence). The Holey Dollar was overstamped and the Dump restruck to produce the first Australian Silver Coins.
The life of the Holey Dollar and Dump was fairly short though. They were taken from circulation in 1829, after almost £100,000 of British currency was imported. The British currency was declared the official currency of the colony in 1825. The Holey Dollar and Dump were subsequently melted down. As a consequence there are very few to be found now - only approximately 350 - making them quite valuable. Many have been valued at over $10,000 with quite a few reaching substantially more.
As with any coins, the places Holey Dollars are being found now are many and varied. Some of more unusual stories I’ve read are of people finding Holey Dollars used as washers! Perhaps it’s not so unusual considering their shape, but I’m sure the people who “repurposed” these first Australian silver coins might reconsider if they knew their value today!
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