Volume 10 Issue 6                                                 INTERNET EDITION                                                         June 2005.

The name 'Tasmanian Numismatist' is used with the permission  of the Executive Committee of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' however, any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', its Executive Committee or its members. Bearing in mind our public disclaimers,  the Internet links selected by the authors of this  newsletter are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations and, (2) to provide additional important information. 

Any notices of concern to 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members will be included in the 'Society Snippets' section.

We trust that this issue of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) newsletter will continue to provide interesting reading.



Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions: 



Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.



We were advised in late April that T.N.S. Associate Member Ian Hartshorn's new catalogue - which we had the opportunity to review recently - covering aspects of Varieties, Mint errors etc. in the Decimal coinage range 1966 to date, was in the final stages of preparation and would be available in late May. Hopefully, by the time this message is read, it will be be available and in huge demand. The following is from the author's web-site: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~ihartshorn/pcbook.htm



"Looking around at coin fairs/shows, there appears to be very few young people taking up the hobby of collecting coins, one reason may be the perception that the only coins worth collecting are the expensive or rarer type coins. This book is about the fun aspect, feeling good when finding a coin given to you in change from the shop, that will fit into your collection you have started. Finding flaws, faults, misstrikes, differences in design and wondering, how did this happen? And remember the cost to you is only the face value of the coin.

This book is intended for the non-collector or novice as an introduction to the hobby of collecting coins, the advanced collector may find it useful as well. Placed on top of your fridge or the like, you can check your small change once a day or once a week.

32-36 pages, A5 size (21cm X 15cm) some images of coins, what and where to look for on those little design differences, some do's and don'ts, where to look for information, internet forums, price guide, glossary & more."

Contact by email Ian
I. Hartshorn PO Box 6077 Karingal Victoria 3199 Australia



T.N.S. International member, Jerry Adams, of Texas, recently sent me a few humourous and interesting observations from his home state and, amongst them, was one that really struck a chord.

" People here in Texas have trouble with all those shalls and shall nots in the 10 Commandments. Folks here just aren't used to talking in those terms.  So, some folks out in west Texas got together and translated the "King James" into "King Ranch" language."

These Cowboy's Ten Commandments - Texas Style, are posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas.

          (1) Just one God.

          (2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.

          (3) No telling tales or gossipin'.

          (4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.

          (5) Put nothin' before God.

          (6) No foolin' around with another feller's gal.

          (7) No killin'.

          (8) Watch yer mouth.

          (9) Don't take what ain't yers.

          (10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

         " Y'all have a good day now, ya hear?! "



by Graeme Petterwood © 2005

Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new!

This  edition again features an assortment of  'trivia' that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well.  All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are my estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations.  Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are not to size or scale but - wherever possible - are from the editor's own collection.



Every so often I get an international correspondent - like the lady from Canada, whose 7 y.o. son had a school project to do about Australia -  who wants to know what our coinage is called, and what designs are portrayed upon it.

Sometimes, the requests are not so simple and I have to be a bit negative in replying - but  I am always happy to answer basic queries from those who are making an effort to learn about my homeland and choose the subject of numismatics as a learning tool.

In the past, when I received similar requests, I used to ponder about whether this Internet newsletter was being read, until I realised my own continuing ignorance of world coinage was being repeated elsewhere. How many of us can - at short notice - recite the designs on coins other than our own - in fact, how many can even identify our own designs accurately or even anything else about them for that matter. My initial course of action would be to remind readers that the best way to get this information in its fullest detail is to refer to a quality catalogue - and that is still the best option -  however, I then woke up to the fact that not all our readers, international or national, have ready access to these better quality publications and would probably not outlay money if the request for information was not too serious.

So it is that time of year again when I paint a slightly bigger than thumbnail 'sketch' of Australian coinage -  that may also partly answer the question of why Australian coinage is now becoming so collectible. This sketch is not intended to be too definitive but, hopefully, informative - and it will not delve into the political situations that eventually brought forth our own unique Australian coinage.

Illustrations are of basic 'from circulation' coinage and a few Non Circulating Legal Tender (N.C.L.T.) coins owned by the writer, and are not to scale.


Australian Imperial Coinage 1910 - 1964

The old Australian Imperial denomination coinage of last century started in 1910 for the 92.5% Pure Silver - which was, for the next few years, struck in England before Melbourne and Sydney Mints became fully operational. In 1911, Bronze coinage started to flow from Sydney and Melbourne Mints as well as the occasional batch from Birmingham Mint in England as well as from the Calcutta Mint in India.

Production of these Imperial denomination coins finished in 1963-1964 with the impending introduction of Australian Decimal currency due in 1966.

However, some silver coins (the Sixpence, Shilling and the Florin) were compatible in size - and equitable in value according to the change-over exchange rate - with the new decimal Copper-Nickel coins  and continued to circulate along with 5 Cents, 10 Cents and 20 Cents but were quickly withdrawn or hoarded  because of their Silver content. Examples, with various stages of wear and tear, still surface occasionally and are snapped up as collectible curios.

It is also of historic interest that during 1942 -1943 much of the Australian Silver coinage was produced at the San francisco and Denver Mints in the U.S.A. because of the shortage of the metal in this country caused by the various demands of WWII.

The 'face value' amount of 'borrowed' 92.5% silver was approximately Ł 6 Million Pounds.

In 1952, King George VI passed away and the 50% quality silver coins, which had originally been authorised in 1946, were issued in 1953 with the new effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.  A large quantity - approximately A$6,000,000 in actual silver value - of the 92.5% quality metal coinage, that had been gradually withdrawn after the war, was melted down and shipped back to the U.S. in 1956 as repayment for the wartime loan.


Australian Silver coinage consisted of:

Threepence - featured the Australian Coat-of-Arms until 1936 then 3 Ears of Wheat from 1938 - 1964

Metal composition was Sterling Silver 92.5% - 7.5% Copper  until 1952, then 50% Silver - 40% Copper - 15% Zinc - 5% Nickel until 1964, Size 16mm

Sixpence - ditto metal compositions, Coat-of Arms until 1963, Size 19mm.

Shilling (eqivalent to 12 Pence) - ditto metal compositions, Coat-of-Arms until 1936 then Merino Ram's head until 1963, Size 23.5 mm.

Florin (equivalent to 24 Pence)  - ditto metal compositions, Coat-of-Arms, Size 28.5mm.

Crown (equivalent to 5 shillings) Sterling Silver 92.5% - 7.5% copper, Large Imperial  Crown only issued in 1937 and 1938, Size 38.5mm

The 1910 Silver had King Edward VII, from 1911- 1936 it was George V, then 1938 - 1952 George VI - finally Queen Elizabeth II until decimal coinage was in production.



The Imperial Silver range of coinage. Composition is either 92.5% (1910-1952) or 50% (1953-1964) .

Weight: Threepences 1.41 grams; Sixpences 2.83 grams; Shillings 5.65 grams; Florins 11.31 grams.


The Imperial denomination Bronze coinage consisted of :

Half-penny - text with value from 1911 until 1936, King George V  Size 25.5mm

Half-penny - text with value 1938 - 1939, King George VI  Size 25.5mm

Half-penny - Bounding Kangaroo from 1939 - 1952, King George VI and from 1954 - 1964 Queen Elizabeth II, Size 25.5mm.

Penny - text with value from 1911 until 1936, Size 30.8mm King George V

Penny - Bounding kangaroo 1938 - 1952 - King George VI and from 1954 - 1964 Queen Elizabeth II, Size 30.8mm



Australian Bronze coins showing 'text' and Kangaroo reverses that applied to both Half-pennies and Pennies.

Weight: Half-penny 5.67 grams; Penny 9.45 grams.

The Bronze composition in the Imperial coinage from 1911 - 1964 consisted of 97% Copper - 2.5% Zinc - 0.5% Tin

The Bronze composition in the Decimal coinage from 1966 - 1991 consisted of 97% Copper - 2.5% Zinc - o.5% Nickel


Monarchs depicted on Australian coinage 1910 - 1964

King Edward VII (1910) - King George V (1911-1936) - King George VI (1938-1952) - Queen Elizabeth II (1953-1964)


Australian Gold 1855 - 1931

In August 1853, legislation was passed in London to allow the minting of Gold coinage in Australia. The first official coinage issues were to be Half-sovereigns and Sovereigns struck at the newly established Sydney mint on the 23rd June 1855. The effigy was of the young Queen Victoria. However, the first reverse patterns were to be distinctively Australian with the word AUSTRALIA featured under an Imperial crown  within an open wreath similar to that used on some English coinage.

Some argument has been raised that this reverse design was partly a political appeasement for the nationalistic fervour that was becoming obvious in the aftermath of the bloody incident at Eureka on the Ballarat goldfields in 1854.  Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/May2000.htm (Article - "Lots of Sand - not much Gold!")

It is of interest that the metal composition of the Imperial English coinage at that time was 91.67% Gold and 8.33 Copper, however Australian coins were made with a similar ratio of Gold and Silver. In 1871, the Royal Mint insisted that the Imperial standard composition be adhered to due to the fact that parity was being undermined.

During 1872 - 73, the first of the Queen Victoria effigy gold coins also started to be issued from the Melbourne Mint bearing the 'M' mintmark, but, by this time, the Royal Mint had changed its mind again about the reverse design and from 1871 it had also insisted that the traditional English Royal Coat-of-Arms on a Shield be utilised to still show Australia's subordinate place in the colonial Empire.

At the same time, a new design was introduced into the Imperial Sovereign denomination although, at that period, the Half-sovereign was not affected and would not be until 1893. The new reverse was the dramatic St. George and the Dragon design, by Benedetto Pistrucci, and the coins were issued from both Melbourne and Sydney Mint in conjunction with the Coat-of-Arms Shield design. The St. George Sovereign's mintmark was located under the young Queen's effigy on the obverse whilst a single-letter mintmark was used on the reverse under the Coat-of-Arms shield.  In later issues the mintmark on the St George issues was located in the centre of the 'bar' (the ground line) separating the design from the date. No separate mint records are available of amounts made in each design during this period.

In 1887, the mature Queen Victoria effigy was introduced and the date was placed on the reverse.

By 1899, the Perth Mint had started to produce gold coins as well and the 'P' mintmark first made it appearance.

King Edward VII continued with the St. George design on both denominations from 1902 -10, as did King George V from 1911-18 for the Half-sovereign and from 1911 up until 1931 for the Sovereign. The minting of Gold Sovereigns ceased in Sydney in 1926 and in Melbourne and Perth in 1931.


The 3 monarchs involved in Australia's circulating Gold coinage.

Queen Victoria (1855 - 1901) 'Veiled Head' issue - Edward VII (1902 - 1910) - George V (1911 - 1931)


1916 Half-sovereign (Sydney); 1896 Sovereign (Melbourne) St. George & Dragon reverse.

Samples only to show size variance - the mintmarks are located in the ground-line above the date in this design.

Actual Gold weights: Half-sovereign .1177 oz;  Sovereign .2354 oz


Australian Decimal Coinage 1966 - 2005

Due of the initial demand, a quantity of these decimal coins, both in bronze and Copper-Nickel, would be produced in England, Wales and Canada at different times between 1966 and 1981 and they would create a variety niche due to several diffences that were soon noted.

The first issue of Australian decimal coinage, introduced in 1966, consisted of:
One Cent - which featured a Feather-tailed Glider (now discontinued and withdrawn from circulation) Bronze, Size  17.53mm
Two Cents - which featured a Frilled-neck Dragon Lizard (also now withdrawn) Bronze, Size 21.59mm
Five Cents - which features a Echidna, a spiny Ant-eater. (Current) Copper-Nickel, Size 19.41mm
Ten Cents -  features a Lyrebird (Current) Copper-Nickel, Size 23.60mm.
Twenty cents - features a Platypus (Current) Copper-Nickel, Size 28.52mm.
Fifty Cents (Round) - 1966 was the only issue, it featured the Australian Coat-of-Arms, the Emu and Kangaroo (Withdrawn) 80% Silver - 20% Copper, Size 31.50mm
Fifty Cents (12 sided) - introduced as a replacement for the round 80% silver coin in 1969, features the Coat-of-Arms (Current) Copper-Nickel, Size 31.50mm



The original 1966 Decimal coinage range included the 80% Silver round 50 Cent coin.

The 12-sided (dodecagonal) 50 Cent C.N. coin was introduced in 1969.

Weight: Cent 2.59g; 2 Cents 5.18g; 5 Cents 2.83g; 10 Cents 5.66g; 20 Cents 11.31g; Silver 50 Cents 13.28g; C.N. 50 Cents 15.5grams.


In 1984, a Dollar coin was introduced and the Dollar paper note was withdrawn
In 1988, a Two Dollar coin was issued and the Two Dollar paper note withdrawn.
One Dollar - features 5 Kangaroos (Current) 92% Copper - 6% Aluminium - 2% Nickel, weighs 9 grams and Size 25mm.

Two Dollars - features an Aboriginal Native Elder (Current) same metal blend as the Dollar but weighs 6.60grams and  Size 20.62mm


Aluminium-Bronze One Dollar and Two Dollar coins.


The 20 Cents and, particularly, the 50 cents and the One Dollar coins, have now all been issued with various commemorative designs too numerous to mention or feature (see small selection below) - and there are Legal Tender Non Circulating coins in values from AUD$1.00 - $200.00 in base and intrinsic value metals. Many of the special bullion issues are created purely for the investment and collector market.

Various effigies of Queen Elizabeth II are on all coinage issues from 1966 to date. Four different portraits have been used on Australian decimal coinage.



A small selection of the various denomination Australian decimal coins that feature commemorative motifs.


Four different effigies of Queen Elizabeth II have been used.

(a) 1966 - 1984, (b) 1985 - 1998, (c) 1999 - to date.


*Special single issue authorised effigy prepared by R.A.M's. Vladimir Gottwald for the 2000 Royal Visit 50 Cent circulation coin.


N.C.L.T. - Non Circulating Legal Tender - Packaging

Just occasionally, a coin will appear publically that for all intents and purposes is quite legal but, under normal circumstances, it should not be in circulation. These N.C.L.T. coins are usually only seen in presentation packaging and can be either included in 'Uncirculated' (usually refered to as 'Mint Sets;) or specially prepared and polished 'Proof' Sets which feature the current range of coins or as individual coins or groups of coins gathered for a specific purpose..

There are several accepted methods of packaging that the Royal Australian Mint employs. Firstly, many of the earlier N.C.L.T. coins were presented in either fold-over soft plastic wallets in various sizes and styles or in flat hard plastic tray style boxes, then came the descriptive cardboard holders, usually with an outer sleeve of some description - plastic or cardboard - or the fold-up plastic-coated card that has proven popular for  individual Uncirculated coins in recent years. (Samples below) Most of these coins are secured in a shallow, light-weight plastic, clip-top protective cup.

With quality Proof coins, a more elaborate system is usually devised to cater for the style of the Proof coin or Proof Set and to provide adequate protection for the coin or coins. Special woods, hard plastics and metal are amongst those materials more commonly used.

Magnetic clasps, to hold the lids in place, are now in use in some instances.

The illustrations shown are only a small representative range of the number of N.C.L.T. items that have been produced and they have been provided mainly to show some of the styles of packaging in use and impart an idea of the quality of the coins enclosed in each.



1980 Australian Proof Set in sealed hard plastic outer container. The Bronze One and Two Cent coins were last issued in 1991.


New Proof set packaging within a Suede-finish hard-cover folder and including an explantory booklet.

2001 Centenary of Federation - the 50 Cents and One Dollar coins have coloured enamel highlights.


Fold-over soft vinyl wallet with individual Uncirculated coin set into card within soft plastic sleeve.

1988 - Bicentenary $10.00 .925 Sterling Silver (Wt. 20 grams, Dia. 34mm)


Various styles of the many packaged Non-Circulating Legal Tender One Dollar 'uncirculated' coins.

2000 - 2001 Kangaroo Series .999 Pure Silver Dollars ( Wt. 31.6 grams - Dia. 40.60mm)

2004 Bicentenary of Tasmania Aluminium Bronze (Wt.9 grams - Dia. 25mm)

2004 Eureka Stockade 150th Anniversary Aluminium Bronze (Wt. 9 grams - Dia. 25mm)



Proof .999 Pure Silver One Dollar coins encapsulated in plastic holders and presented in plush-lined hinge-topped boxes.

1996 - 30th Anniversary of Decimal Currency (1 Ounce - 31.6 grams, Dia. 40.6mm)

1997 - 70th Anniversary of Old Parliament House (1 Ounce - 31.6 grams, Dia. 40.6mm)

1998 - 10th Anniversary of the opening of the new Parliament House (1 Ounce - 31.6 grams, Dia. 40.6mm)

2000 - Millennium - with Gold Insert (1 Ounce - 31.6 grams, Dia. 40.6mm )




Special Flag-shaped magnetic top case for 2001 Centenary of Federation encapsulated Proof .999 Pure Silver Dollar with its removable centre.

(Face Value of coins - Outer State Logo Ring $1.00 - Inner Federation Star 25 Cents. Total Wt. 1 Ounce)

Facsimile newsreel film tin for 2005 60th Anniversary of the End of World War II Holograhic .999 One Ounce Silver Dollar - Dia. 40.6mm

(Special 'Lenticular' Holographic image features a dancing man doing a 360 degree spin and waving his hat)


The 'Dancing Man' Coin - and its mysteries unveiled.

In recent years the development of new techniques in coin design and production has been staggering to say the least. The Australian 60th Anniversary of the End of WWII has given the R.A.M and the Perth Mint an opportunity to show their skills with the holographic art and imaginative packaging. The 2005 Dancing Man Dollar actually 'comes to life' in a far more dramatic way than previous holographic efforts. Unfortunately, it cannot be seen from a single scanned image as the coin needs to be moved for the effect to be apparent. The one ounce .999 Pure Silver version (coin diameter 40.6mm) is housed in a facsimile newsreel film tin (dia. 110mm) which in turn is enclosed in a rather austere Khaki and Green cardboard box with a depiction of the 'Dancing Man' as its lid feature. A Certificate of Authenticy, presented like a single colum from a newspaper, accompanies the protective tin canister.

On their web-site, the Perth Mint has advised that the production run was originally expected to be around the 15,000 plus mark but, bearing in mind the demand - and also balancing the investment interests of numismatists - that additional coins were issued but that the run will not exceed 25,000 units.


The name of the 'Dancing Man' on the Dollar coin was originally attributed to a Mr Ern Hill who believed he was the person who had been filmed, but later claims were made that it was, in fact, Mr Frank McAlary who later became a barrister and a Queen's Counsel. The scene was filmed in Elizabeth St., Sydney on VJ Day 15th August 1945 by Cinesound News from the back of a truck.

Queens Counsel Chester Porter, said that he and a former Compensation Court judge, Barry Egan, had seen Mr McAlary being filmed dancing.

"There are two other living witnesses," Mr Porter said. "We were fellow students.- Frank was dancing on the street ...

The cameraman said, 'That looks pretty good, son. Would you mind doing it again?'  

Law student Frank McAlary obliged - and is now part of Australia's cinematic history.

The two other identifiable persons also shown on the newsreel are a 17 y.o girl in a grey suit accompanied by another young lady.

Mrs Marie Conroy was the girl in the grey suit, "I was 17 then, and a smart little cookie," she says, and she still has pictures of the suit, the hat and the handbag she was wearing at the time to prove it. She is now in her late 70's and living in Avalon N.S.W., with her Husband Bill.  She says the other girl in the film clip was her friend, 'Hilly' Hilma Westerland, who now lives in Beenleigh, Queensland.The names of the pair of 'happy' servicemen and other people seen in the newsreel clip are apparently not known.


Main References and Recommended Reading

Australian Stamp & Coin Company. (Web-site:  http://www.australianstamp.com/Coin-web/aust/cwealth.htm )

The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes (12th Edition) by Greg McDonald.

Rennicks Australian Coin & Banknote Values (20th Edition) edited by Ian Pitt.

Coincraft's 1998 Standard Catalogue of English & UK Coins 1066 to Date.



For those admirers of Australian coinage, who wish to become collectors, it should be noted that variety and error coin specialization has recently enjoyed an upsurge in popularity in this country and some newer discoveries are now attracting considerable premiums over standard coins in higher stages of condition.

The samples shown below only represent a tiny amount of the items now listed by numismatists who are double-checking for something different amongst their existing circulating and NCLT coinage collections.

Refining the explanations of 'the how and why' factors that create an error or a variety is an on-going process and is always subject to individual interpretation, however, in the last few years a widely accepted list of basic terms has emerged that encapsules the major reasons for these events. The main thing to establish in your own mind, if you do discover a difference from the intention of the strike, is it a mint error or a variety ?

Perhaps my own broad explanations of a few of the main definitions may be of assistance.

MINT ERRORS occur by accident during the processing of the coin and be caused by mechanical, chemical or human error. This includes normal wear and tear or a deteriorating die that continues to produce coins with varying degrees of alteration or detracting flaws from the intention of the original strike.

VARIETIES are deliberate and authorised changes created when the initial striking die is (a) removed and repaired or (b) replaced with another with slightly different characteristics and also (c) when several official dies are used in conjunction to produce additional numbers. Any of these factors that noticeably alter the original intention and character of the strike can be defined as varieties.

CUDS - BLOBS are mint errors caused when the die has deteriorated to the extend that metal is spread into an area it should not be in the form of a blob.

DIE CRACK is a self-explanatory explanation of a common mint error. It is noticeable as a raised imprint on the coin from a crack in the striking surface of the die.

For obvious reasons, a good clear error or variety on a quality coin is most desireable, but, in many instances, a X10 magnification is the only way to enjoy the hunt for the elusive 'difference'. This is not a facet of numismatics for the impatient collector looking for a 'quick fix'. Good Hunting!



Examples of well-known deteriorating filled dies and varieties in Imperial denomination Bronze coinage

Filled or incomplete numbers e.g. final 4 of 1924 and final 8 of 1928; and the base of the 2 of 1952 is different - several variations exist.


Deteriorating or filled dies creating blobs or cuds on Imperial denomination Silver coinage.

The first 4 in 1944 of the Threepence, the base of the first E in SIXPENCE, and a mulitude of Die cracks through the date 1946 and SHILLING.






Few examples of Mint error decimal coins

1975 One Cent Lamination Flaw with obverse missing pieces; 1975 Two Cents from an Off-metal strike (too much tin).

1999 Ten Cents Lyre-bird plumage flaw from part-filled die (aka Briddon variety); 1977 Twenty Cents with Un-reeded collar.

1999 Fifty Cents with a small drip-like Cud under QEII's nose;  2001 One Dollar with Rim cuds near 'Inter' and ONE of One dollar.




Currently, there are two excellent Australian books in progress that will open up this field of collecting to local enthusiasts. I have had the pleasure of talking with both authors and I am looking forward to seeing the finished products on the shelf of my own reference library.

These two works will be in the 'have-to-have' category for most coin collectors.

I have recently reviewed the book "Pocket Change"  by T.N.S. associate member, Ian Hartshorn, regarding Imperial denomination coinage and hopefully will be able to do the same with an in-depth book on Decimal coinage errors and varieties by another T.N.S. member, Ian McConnelly, who is a regular writer on the subject for the Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine.

Each of the two different Australian coinages will be individually examined with full explanations, definitions and illustrations to make it a lot easier to understand the processes that create Mint errors and also the reasons why different dies were incorporated in certain instances. Watch out for these two books to hit the stands.



Due to the threat of computer viruses that were forecast to hit the Internet system on January 1st. 2000, the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' felt obliged to purge its archives from 1996 and placed them on disc for safe-keeping prior to the arrival of the dreaded 'Millennium Bug'.

Whilst we felt that the decision was a very wise one, the information contained in that 4 years of newsletter issues became inaccessible to readers, except by request. Even though Internet links are directed to the old newsletter pages from various Search Engines they will turn up blank..

In an effort to satisfy those readers and new collectors who have requested that some of the articles be again made available for research, we have decided to update a selection of the most popular stories and re-publish them and get them back into the current system.



It is now over 69 years since King George V passed away and the accession of Edward VIII took place on January 20th. 1936, with his coronation scheduled for early in 1937. The event threw the Royal Mint in London into a frenzy of activity.

Circulation coinage for the U.K., as well as the Empire, had to be re-designed, Coronation Medals had to be struck, and all official Royal Seals had to be replaced as soon as possible. The expected release date for the coinage was to be after the coronation, but first the new effigies had to be obtained, the coin designs drawn up - and all approved by the King, prior to actual commencement of the minting process.

This is a selected 'encore' of a brief article first published in the Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet edition, July 1998, without illustrations.


The Obverses.

In February 1936, Edward had been consulted by the Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, Sir Robert Johnson, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., in regard to his wishes and, eventually, by 24th. July the selected designs, prepared by Mr.Thomas Humphrey Paget and others, were ready for the Royal Approval - but not without some controversy!

Mr. Paget had designed a medal for the Honourable Company of Master Mariners in 1935, which bore the effigy of Edward, then the Prince of Wales, and this flattering portrayal had been enthusiastically received by the Prince and all concerned, including the Mint which had prepared the dies for the artist.

The King had no hesitation in requesting that the Mint commission Mr Paget, with his undoubted talent, and for him to be instrumental in designing the new uncrowned effigy to be used on the coinage.

However, there was one problem!

King George V had been facing to the right on his coinage, and, traditionally, the custom had been for each monarch to face in a different direction to his or her predecessor - but the young King thought that his left profile was superior to his right, and insisted that he be portrayed in the same manner as his late father!

This break with tradition was diplomatically argued against by Sir Robert Johnson, but the King was not convinced and, after several attempts to arrive at a compromise, the matter was then referred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Honourable Neville Chamberlain, M.P. who made the final decision that the Royal Will was not to be denied. Left profile it was to be!

Left profile portrait prefered by King Edward VIII


At this time the Royal Academy, who were not overly impressed with Paget's works, decided that one of their members should also be given the chance to submit a design. Sir Robert Johnson obliged the Royal Academy, and a series of designs of an uncrowned effigy were then submitted by Mr. William McMillan, R.A., a sculptor well known to the Mint for his fine work. On the 24th.July 1936, both designers works were shown to the King, who, while lauding William McMillan's designs, still chose to go with his favourite, T. H. Paget.



McMillan's effigies - Paget's effigies (submitted July 1936).


The Silver Reverses.

In 1927, a series of traditional heraldic Reverse designs had been prepared by George Kruger Gray and had been incorporated on the silver coinage of Edward's father, King George V, and as the Royal Mint Advisory Committee considered that these designs were still suitable for the new coins, after Gray had made some slight modifications, they submitted them to the King

However the Committee had not taken into consideration the views of Edward, who thought that he would like some newer designs of his own, that did not reflect a continuance of his father's reign.

During his time as Prince of Wales, Edward, was a well-known visitor to France and Germany during the 1930's, and had gained the dubious, and somewhat flighty, reputation as the 'Playboy Prince'.  Whilst, as a young adventurer, he loved his country with a great passion, he was not dedicated towards his inevitable position as monarch, whose tiresome duties he dreaded, but the death of his father had left him with no option.

Like a spoilt child, it appeared that he would often be trying to contradict or frustrate his elders when he thought he could get away with it!

His request for a set of more modern designs was apparently inspired by various continental coins that were attached to the watchchain he was wearing during the submission of Gray's re-vamped reverses.

Whilst a disappointed Gray was instructed by Sir Robert to quietly continue on with the traditionally heraldic interpretations as a back-up, a commission was given to Mr. H. Wilson Parker to design a more 'modern' series which still would be acceptable within the boundaries of decorum that were expected by the Mint and the British public, and the 'requirements' of Edward.

By 24th. July 1936, a 'Royal Animals' series, which included an eagle, dove, stag, sturgeon, swan and wren, had been prepared and was submitted to the Monarch for the Royal Approval, with Gray's traditional designs also to be shown as alternatives.

After some hesitation, and undoubtably to the relief of the traditionalists at the Mint, the King decided not to risk the radical changes and chose the designs of George Kruger Gray!



 Royal Animal designs from an idea suggested by Edward VIII and designed by H. Wilson Parker.

Alternative traditional designs proposed by George Kruger Gray.



Pattern Gold, Nickel-brass and Bronze coinage for final selection.

Pattern Silver coinage for final selection.


English Silver coinage - the One Shilling and the Two Shillings.

Only these two Edward VIII designs were carried into the silver coinage of King George VI in 1937



Small change.

Once the major silver coins had been decided upon, it was then up to the Mint to finalise the proposed circulation issue by tidying up the minors - the farthing, halfpenny, penny and, although Gray's design had been approved, the threepence also came back under scrutiny.

The Mint had found favour in one of Wilson Parker's designs of the Wren - England's smallest bird - originally for the threepence, it was recommended as more suitable for the farthing - England's smallest coin.

A Mint craftsman, Mr. C. W. Coombes, was then given the task of producing a design to replace the old Britannia reverse (circa.1895 pattern) on the halfpenny.

The 'ill-clad, dumpy woman' had been subject to some adverse criticism during the more modern 1930's, and after several attempts Coombes came up with an acceptable pattern based on Sir Francis Drake's 'Golden Hind', to highlight British sea-faring tradition and strength.

As a conservative organisation the Mint was concerned that too much change would have a detrimental effect on the public acceptance of the proposed coinage, so decided to stick with the old familiar Britannia reverse for the penny.

The biggest departure from tradition, however, was to be the introduction of a polygonal nickel-brass threepence. (See above illustrations for proposed designs)



English Bronze with those designs accepted by Edward VIII and adapted to suitable coins

The Wren Farthing; the 'Golden Hind' Half-penny; the 'ill-clad, dumpy woman' Britannia Penny.

Previously all these coins featured Britannia. The new patterns were continued into the reigns of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II


The New Threepence.

For some time prior to 1936, discussions had been going on in regard to a new style of threepence that would be more acceptable to the changing requirements of retailers, transport authorities, and other parties who handled small change in bulk.

Another bronze coin was not seen as practical, and the existing silver unit was so small that it had become a nuisance to handle, so with a new set of coinage inevitable with Edward's accession, the time was ripe for the change.

A compromise coin was needed and, after considering and testing several choices - including a twelve sided scalloped edge, an eight sided version, a square one with rounded edges and also a centre-holed coin, the decision was made for a twelve sided plain edged version in gold-coloured nickel-brass.

Whilst a brass coin would be softer and wear quicker, the colour would distinguish it from other silver, nickel and cupro-nickel coinage circulating at that time, and because it was heavier and thicker, it couldn't be used in automatic vending machines and gas meters instead of a sixpence or shilling.

The original drawing of the thrift plant, which is featured on the brass threepence, was submitted in June 1936 by a niece of Lord Kitchener, Miss Frances Madge Kitchener, but when time started to run out because of the changes being made in the coin's composition and size, her delicate sketches and models were quickly adapted by Mr. Percy Metcalfe, a Mint appointed artist with coinage expertise, who is now credited with the accepted design.


Final version of the Edward VIII Nickel-Brass 'Thrift' Threepence continued by King George VI in 1937.


Just for old times sake!

In 1931, the U.K. had formally dropped the Gold Standard and, in fact, gold coins had been out of general circulation since World War I.

However, proof sets which contained gold coins with the famous Pistrucci's St. George and the Dragon reverse, with values of 10 Shillings, 1, 2, 5 Pounds, had been issued during the reign of Edward VII and George V and the decision was made, in deference of numismatic sentiment, to continue the tradition with Edward VIII, but without the 10 Shilling coin.


Time runs out!

During those times of apparent indecision by the King about such mundane things as the designs on his coinage, and on which side he parted his hair to present a good profile, it is now evident, in retrospect, that he was pre-occupied and 'touchy' because he was also deeply and emotionally involved in making an Empire shattering decision in regard to his own personal life.

His announcement in August, and then his formal abdication on December10th.1936, for the love of an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, is now well documented.

After the short reign of 325 days, Edward VIII - the uncrowned King of England, was granted the title of Duke of Windsor and after his marriage to Wallis Simpson on 3rd. June 1937, just twenty days before his 43rd. birthday, they became self-exiles on the French Riverina until the commencement of the Second World War.


The Windsors and the Nazis.

Prior to England's involvement in the hostilities, Hitler and the German Nazi hierarchy had secretly considered an agenda aimed at replacing the monarchy in England with a puppet ruler and thought that, because of the Duke's position and his 'continental approach' to life, that he would be the ideal choice to keep the country neutral in regard to Germany's territorial claims.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor meet Adolf Hitler in October 1937 on a visit to Germany.


If the Duke could not be persuaded to act willingly, on Germany's behalf, the alternative was to abduct him and persuade him by other less subtle means to put pressure on his younger brother Prince George, the Duke of York, who had been reluctently seconded to take on the monarchy after the abdication.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were evidently approached by top German diplomats, including Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, in an effort to sound out their feelings but, sensing a plot and realising the dire implications, they narrowly escaped from France to Lisbon, in Portugal, and boarded an American ship, the 'Excalibur', bound for Bermuda.

Edward was appointed Governor of the Bahamas, far away from German influence or possible control, until the European hostilities had ceased in 1945, and then he and his wife returned to their home-in-exile on the French Riverina.

The man, who had given up a kingdom because of his love of a divorced woman, was shunned for most of the remainder of his life by many members of his own family group, and the entrenched, unbending heirarchal establishment, that could only see that he had shirked his duty, as King, to the Church and Great Britain and that he had been tainted with the rumours that he was an active Nazi sympathiser. He was never forgiven by the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who believed that the death of her husband, King George VI, was premature due to the demands placed upon him by the abdication of his elder brother Edward.

Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor lived out his life, in the realms of romantic and political controversy, until he was claimed by history in Paris on the 28th. May 1972, at the age of 78. His last return to his beloved England was when he was buried at Windsor in Berkshire - the King who never was!

However, history has now mellowed somewhat in its condemnation of his perceived interaction with the forces of the Third Reich, as details - previously unknown because of the Official Secrets Act - have been released that vindicated some of his decisions, and, in fact, point out that he was far from being duped, and may have been instumental in advising Churchill of several key elements of the Nazi strategy. Not all critics and investigators share this point of view and the controversy is never really going to be solved to the satisfaction of all.


Recently, a plethora of fantasy coins have been appearing in the numismatic market-places, featuring an uncrowned effigy of Edward, as if in a belated gesture of forgiveness for his perceived follies, and a recognition of his part in history and the coinage of the realm.

With the exception of a few thin version threepenny test pieces, dated 1937, that escaped, and a range of special overseas coins, dated 1936 and without portraits, that went to Fiji, New Guinea and British East and West Africa - Edward's official coinage was not released for circulation in England or Australia, and the few remaining patterns and trial strikes, that were not melted down, now only remain as Royal Mint curios.


Edward VIII Bronze coinage: East Africa 10 Cents (30mm) - Territory of New Guinea One Penny (27mm)


References - Black & White Illustrations

'The proposed coinage of King Edward VIII.' by G. P. Dyer, Librarian and Curator, Royal Mint. (Published by H. M. Stationery Office -1973.)






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