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Why Did Australia Never Issue Halfcrowns?

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Pillar of the Community
Australia
1724 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2014  5:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mr T to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
But occasionally the larger retailers, especially the big department stores, would sometimes hold "farthing sales". They would advertise items for sale costing, for example, £4/19/11 and 3/4; customers would hand over a five pound note for the item and be given a farthing in "change".


I remember being told about something similar though the price was £19/19/11 and 1/2, with the customer getting a halfpenny change (judging by the story teller's age this would have happened in the late 1950s or early 1960s).
Pillar of the Community
Australia
752 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2014  05:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nealeffendi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Mr T
I remember reading that retailers often ended prices in odd amounts in part because peoples minds are stupid (like thinking 99 cents is cheap but a dollar isn't) and also to stop light fingers. If I sell you an item for a pound then it is too easy for me to pocket it when a customer in a hurry hands it over and walks out without waiting for a receipt (I can then pocket it without ringing it up). But if I have to make change then I have to ring the till up.
A farthing may seem like nothing, but it probably purchased a few lollies in the corner store. Plenty of apprentices worked for under a shilling/day and a block of land (1945) cost 40 pounds in Merrylands (Sydney).
Pillar of the Community
Canada
2805 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2014  2:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nalaberong to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
but you would need 50 of them to post an inland second class letter!

I am amazed by this high shipping rate. Canadian national letter postage is going up to 85 cents (from 63), but think about it: this sends a letter from Yellowknife to Halifax, a distance that could probably straddle the whole European continent. I always assumed that smaller nations could cut back on costs since the letters won't go nearly as far - but I guess it is more about processing than aggregate distance traveled.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
1724 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2014  6:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mr T to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
A farthing may seem like nothing, but it probably purchased a few lollies in the corner store.


Yes, I thought that a farthing would probably be most useful for buying lollies, but I guess the government of the day didn't consult with Australia's children.
Valued Member
United Kingdom
284 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2014  08:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinaholic73 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I am amazed by this high shipping rate. Canadian national letter postage is going up to 85 cents (from 63), but think about it: this sends a letter from Yellowknife to Halifax, a distance that could probably straddle the whole European continent. I always assumed that smaller nations could cut back on costs since the letters won't go nearly as far - but I guess it is more about processing than aggregate distance traveled.


Cost to send a 1st class letter to 10 miles down the road in the uk - 60p
Cost to send the same letter to Australia - 88p

It's nuts.
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
1904 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2014  12:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Pertinax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If I sell you an item for a pound then it is too easy for me to pocket it when a customer in a hurry hands it over and walks out without waiting for a receipt (I can then pocket it without ringing it up). But if I have to make change then I have to ring the till up.


That's not been my experience. When I've shopped in a 99p store (there used to be a lot of them), they kept a bowl of pennies by the till and when you paid in pounds, they gave the corresponding number of pennies back. In one case, it was the owner who didn't ring the purchases up - possibly the reported 'shoplifted stock' was higher than normal.
Life Fellow, Royal Numismatic Society

My wants list: http://goccf.com/t/283145
Formerly nancyc
Australia
5239 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2014  4:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nevol to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Cost to send a 1st class letter to 10 miles down the road in the uk - 60p
Cost to send the same letter to Australia - 88p. It's nuts.


In Australia:
Cost to send a letter to WA (over 3500 KM's): 60c
Cost to send a letter to the UK roughly 10000 Km's: $2.60
life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
510 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2014  4:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add davidrj to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As a small child in the UK in the 1950's, my mother would send me for a loaf of bread and give me a tanner (6d) the loaf cost 5 3/4d - always got a lollyice as my change
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
18130 Posts
 Posted 01/22/2021  02:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It was in 1825, when the first large scale bulk shipment of British coins landed in Sydney.
Newly minted Halfcrowns were included in that shipment.
It was from that date that Australia used British coinage (not Notes) exclusively.
The British coinage was gradually replaced after 1910, when distinctively Australian coinage was issued into circulation. After 1910 British coinage was repatriated, with early emphasis on the Halfcrown and Farthing.
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2214 Posts
 Posted 01/22/2021  7:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All of those reasons could be valid.

I want to suggest one more and that is design. The silver coins of 1910 - 1936 all had the same design of the coat of arms by WJH Blakemore.

It was confusing enough already, having a halfcrown with it too would have really muddied the waters and back in 1910 the difference in value of 6d was quite significant. There was only a 3.5mm and 3 gram weight difference in the coins.

Plus the fact the Halfcrown, Florin etc in Britain all had different designs from reign to reign, it as very easy to tell them apart. Australian coins had the value and date on them, but when you are counting quantity or scooping a pile of them, who is going to notice that.

Finally the market would be crowded, the Halfcrown was suspended in the 1850s and 1860s to promote the florin, but the popularity of the piece, meant it came back in 1874 and both coins coexisted for nearly another century.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
752 Posts
 Posted 01/22/2021  9:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nealeffendi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I also recall reading that the half crown was also known as the bar maids ruin. in the dim light of a bar (especially pre electricity) it was too easy for them to give out a half crown in change when the change was a florin (and they would get their measly pay docked for shortfalls).
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2214 Posts
 Posted 01/22/2021  10:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
And that story was also applied to the much maligned Double Florin. Issued between 1887 and 1890 the coin was worth 4/- or 1/- less than a Crown (5/-), however the coin was only 3mm smaller in size and had a different design (Like that of a Jubilee Florin).

Again dim light and drunken patrons could easily slip one in and get change for a crown. Britain in 1887/90 was crowded with 4 large silver coins (2/-, 2/6, 4/- and 5/-).

A shilling mistake was a half day's wages for the average bar maid. In 1890 the coin was suspended. Although I wonder the merit of this tale. Even in 1910 a glass of beer cost around 3d and many working class people would not have piles of halfcrowns and florins (Unless they had just been paid and were "breaking" one) and would have paid for beer with pennies and thruppences.

The average wage for a working man up to WW1 was like 30/- or less. A barmaid was a woman usually and got paid less. If they lived at the bar, their wages were close to nothing (Maybe 1/- a day) and even if not, 10/- would be a generous wage.

The equivalent of handing a Halfcrown over to pay for a drink costing 2d to 4d would be like using a $100 or $50 note to pay for an $8 or $11 drink now.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
1724 Posts
 Posted 01/25/2021  6:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mr T to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I also recall reading that the half crown was also known as the bar maids ruin


As Princetane says, that was the double florin.

In one of the early JNAA articles it says Australia issued no half crowns because when the time came for us to get our own coins there was local interest in decimalisation (the reason that the florin initially appeared in England I believe), and obviously eight half crowns to the pound wasn't decimal. It didn't get off the ground at that point and I guess we survived without the half crown.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
555 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2021  05:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add David Graham to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
An interesting conversation, even if it is a revived thread. It deals with a question regarding farthings that I posted to the UK sub-forum a while back. One of the reasons put forward for Oz not having a farthing was that it bought less in Oz and therefore was not worth it. Am I correct in saying that the British and Aus Pound did not have a 1:1 exchange rate? If so, I how did it work in NZ that used both currencies until 1933? Maybe a question for PT?
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2214 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2021  12:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The following is basically from Robert Pepping's book - New Zealadn History coined 1933 - 1965.


Yes True. The Australian Pound was pegged at 16/- sterling and the NZ pound was 1 to 1 until January 1931 when it devalued 10% and then 10% more in January 1933.

So this meant that 20/- of British money in NZ brought 23/8 in Sydney and 25/- in London (For the same coins) and it led to an explosion in coin smuggling from NZ to Australia and the UK. During 1932, 33 and into 1934. British halfcrowns being taken to Australia (Englad was too far and took too long) became a good little money maker for some Kiwis in the Depression.

I should iterate, British coins had circulated in NZ since 1840, but from 1910 Australian coins also circulated at the same face values. TRhe silver content meant little, by 1930 the silver price was below 2/- for a Florin.

Stories abound of people accumulating all the silver they could and taking to Australia concealed in cardboard suitcases, gas canisters, panniers on motorbikes and even inside the bellies of frozen ducks! This was because of the limit of 10 and then 5 per passenger leaving NZ and one women was charged for importing 1000 in British halfcrowns and even paying stewards 1 each for each carrying 50 worth of smuggled halfcrowns on the Wangaratta for her and then selling them on the wharf in Sydney.

This was frowned on, as these smugglers took vital specie out of NZ and also resorted to crime and the black market in both countries. Matters reached a head in June 1933 when a gas cylinder was taken off a ship and searched for coins, none were found, a woman was found with 100 of smuggled halfcrowns in a cardboard suitcase in which holes had been cut in 5 layers of cardboard and coins glued in!

Finally, when a man who took a taxi from Wellington to Auckland with 1200 of Halfcrowns to take to Australia to sell for profit, he was beaten up and robbed by the taxi driver!

This led to the need for a Kiwi currency, as it would be pegged to the Kiwi pound and Kiwi coins would attract no premium. Hence why we have a halfcrown and no one else did in the Pacific. Of all the coins the Halfcrown was the first to arrive in November 1933 and British silver had been phased out by July 1934.

In the interim, banks were ordered to stop issuing British halfcrowns and issue Australian Florins instead, despite the high silver content, the Florins were pegged to the value of the British florin in NZ in 1933 and there was no impetus to smuggle Australian florins out of the country back to Australia, where they worth face value or to England in which they would get only 1/8 each.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
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