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An Introduction To Predecimal New Zealand Coins 1933 - 1965

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Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/23/2022  8:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1943 - A good year in a bad time

Unlike the previous 5 years, 1943 was a year of generous mintages and provided a well needed replenishment to our currency, with the exception of the halfpenny, which was not minted - we got good numbers of all denominations issued and the best year since 1934.
However it was the beginning of a bronze coin, especially halfpenny shortage which persisted through to 1946.


Threepence (AU) and Penny (Way below AU)

The photos of this year are raggedy due to upgrades last year.


Halfcrown and Florin - Both basically EF

Numbers issued

2/6, - 1,120,000
2/-, - 1,400,000
1/-, - 900,000
6d, - 1,800,000
3d, - 4,400,000
1d, - 8,400,000
d, - none

Total coins issued for 1943 - 18,020,000
Face Value - 450,000

These numbers were quite high for the silver, but not on the level of 1933 or 1934 - but still after a few hundred k each per year of the big coins, a million plus for each big coin was a good thing.

The huge mistake was not minting halfpennies, as some bean counter thought the 6.3 million so far were enough. It led to a massive shortage through 1944 and 1945 and saw stores being forced to stop ending prices in a halfpenny and others that could not, such as grocery stores (Which people often bought things by weight like flour and sugar, add to that the strict rations which saw amounts end in halfpennies). It meant some shops began giving halfpenny stamps and candy as change due to the shortage. Unlike in the 1960s when we could call on Australia to back up shortages, the wartime was very hard and shortages abounded.

Again we used American loan silver, but the Americans had no impact in the production or supply of our coinage. All of Fiji's coinage was American in 1943 and Australia had a big chunk of theirs made by the Americans.

The halfpenny problem was not really resolved and mintages were mainly 2 or 3 million in good years compared to 5 - 20 million for pennies. The penny on the other hand saw a massive mintage of over 8 million coins! Most years saw more of these huge mintages as the penny was the base coin in most cases.

What all this means, is that unlike previous years - you can get high grade 1943 coins quite cheap, a high VF halfcrown can be had as cheap as $25/30 compared to $100 for 1942 or 1944! The sixpences are better too, with a decent mintage of 1.8 million. In my opinion only the shilling saw a still too low mintage of 900k pieces. 1944 would be different, and apart from the 1947/50 recoinage, the high value coins saw low mintages of a few hundred thousand for most years until the rich 1960s.



My upgraded 1943 6d - basically its Uncirculated!


Upgraded 1943 Shilling EF - no head shot sorry

Because of the relative cheapness of coins from this year, you will find it easy to get at least some VF examples and of course mountains of entry level coins exist too. If anything the common dates have more than scarce ones - but even at entry level often a high Fine coin can be had and some of these can be nice - yours for not much more than the melt value.

Despite being a good year, 1943 was still wartime and even though the tide was turning, people were still scared. It was a false dawn more than anything else as the war became more bloody and we would have 2 less good years coming up. Finally we have just 3 more years of silver before we hit the base metal era.

1944 - A year of shortages.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Edited by Princetane
01/23/2022 8:12 pm
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 Posted 01/24/2022  2:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice to come back to not one but two years for review after a quiet weekend.
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/24/2022  11:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The family crisis is easing a bit, so can probably do 2 years a day now.

Glad you are following and liking it JBuck, maybe I should send you a few of these coins to help you get a head start on collecting, move beyond the Ikeys.
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
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/24/2022  11:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1944 - Another year of shortages

By 1944, the war was definitely turning, but like Omicron people were as tired of it as we are now of Covid 19. The coins of this year were fairly plentiful, except for the 3 top ones, which again give us another rare year for the big coins. It seemed that 1943 would be the exception rather than the rule for Wartime coin issuing!


My 1944 Penny (AU) and Halfpenny (VF)


My 1944 Halfcrown and Florin (Both a bare VF)

Coins Issued

2/6, - 180,000 (Really)
2/-, - 140,000 (The lowest after 1963)
1/-, - 480,000
6d, - 1,160,000
3d, - 2,840,000
1d, - 3,696,000
d, - 2,035,200 (Some weird mintages numbers this year)

Total issued = 10,531,200 coins
Face Value = 144,640

1944 has 2 major rarities, the Halfcrown and Florin. The latter has a smaller mintage than 1936 and 1942, yet the rarity level is less, a UNC 1944 is expensive and rare but at 1/10 the cost of the 1936 ($900 vs $9000). The Halfcrown is also a scarce coin and both are hard to find above VF unless you have an endless supply of Rutherfords (Our Benjamins!).


My upgraded 1944 Shilling (AU)


My upgraded 1944 sixpences AU and UNC. The AU became one of my give away coins - I want to be the apostle of Kiwi coin collecting!

Shillings are not that common either with my upgraded piece being a chance find and costing me a not too modest $70 in June. Still I never see high grade 44s of any coin above the 3d and to get 2 high grade 44 sixpences was a treat. These are hard coins to find.


My EF 3d and the pre upgrade old 6d and shilling (Both raggedy as heck).

The Threepence and down are much easier to find in high grades. Most Threepences except for 1941, 1935 and 1950 present little challenge in the VF - AU area, but truly UNC are impossible until 1956.

It was good too, that the Halfpenny was reissued in 1944 and generally good numbers came out right through to 1954/55 (Low numbers and collectible) and 1948 (No bronze issued). Still the 2 million issued was not enough and the shortage persisted, if anything 1944 was worse than 1943 and 1945 saw no improvement.


Briefly became a halfpenny coin (1946 - KGVI definitive before).

The number of pennies issued was decent, but well down on previous years. Overall 1944 is a mixed year bit generally a hard one, especially for the larger coins.

1945 - Light at the end of the tunnel - Next!
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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 Posted 01/25/2022  12:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Glad you are following and liking it JBuck, maybe I should send you a few of these coins to help you get a head start on collecting, move beyond the Ikeys.
I do have more than Ikes you know! However, I may need to expand my NZ collection beyond the two it has now... a 1964 penny and a 1943 sixpence (which is nowhere near as flash as yours).


Quote:
1944 - Another year of shortages
A great write-up and lovely examples, especially AU coins.

Quote:
1945 - Light at the end of the tunnel - Next!
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/25/2022  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1945 - Light at the end of the Tunnel

Things improved through 1945 with Germany surrendering in May and Japan out of action by mid August, meaning after August the seas were safe again, although the shrinking empires of evil meant little was going on in the high seas anyway.


1945 Halfcrown (AU) and Florin (aVF)


Shilling and Sixpence (EF) and AU/gEF Threepence

Coins issued in 1945

2/6, - 420,000
2/-, - 515,000
1/-, - 1,030,000
6d, - 940,000
3d, - 2,520,000
1d, - 4,764,000
d, - 1,516,800

Total coins issued - 11,705,800
Face Value - 233,510

Numbers of the 2 top coins were well up of 1944, but still fairly low compared to the early 1930s. Mintages of the other coins ranged from decent to excessive (3d and 1d). The mintage of Halfpennies was still modest and the coin shortage carried on with stamps still be handed out as change, many people screwed the stamps up in anger (Standard letters were only 2d in 1945 and would drop to 1d in 1950).


1945 Halfpenny (AU/EF) and Penny (VF)

1945 has no real varieties except the "Burnished penny". These were intended for the UK as the coin shortage affected them too and pennies were minted on pre darkened planchets to eliminate collectors and hoarders hoarding shiny pennies! This type is quite scarce as you generally see them only in EF or better as pennies we know generally darken from copper pink brown to dark brown quickly (Yet the catalogue lists them in average condition). Mintage figures are unknown, but pricing suggests they were well into 6 figures and not that rare in average condition.

Despite lowish numbers of the higher value coins, 1945 dated pieces are quite easy to find in high grade, namely as the purges of 1947/50 saw many silver coins disappear and collectors and hoarders no doubt went after the shinier pieces first.



Even higher grade (AU) Threepence!


Very high grade 1945 shilling

Next 1946 - Peacetime, but silver's last hurrah!
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
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2022  01:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Happy Australia Day!
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
3847 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2022  02:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add triggersmob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Happy Australia Day!

Thank you. :)
View my Coins here, (NOW WITH OVER 16,800 IMAGES).... http://www.coincommunity.org/galler...hp?cat=10048
OFEC count = 237
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 Posted 01/26/2022  11:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting information and the coin examples are looking good!


Quote:
Next 1946 - Peacetime, but silver's last hurrah!
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2022  9:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1946 - Peacetime, but the end of Silver

The end of war saw the arrival of austerity after the world had been decimated by total war. The price of silver again rose to unsustainable levels and making matters worse was the Americans wanted their loan silver back. Hence so why 1946 was the last year of silver coins.


My 1946 group, Penny, Halfpenny, Sixpence and Halfcrown all VF or good VF - Threepence is AU!

Coins issued in 1946

2/6, - 960,000
2/-, - 1,200,000 - Includes around 300,000 Flat Backs
1/-, - 1,060,000
6d, - 2,120,000
3d, - 6,080,000
1d, - 6,720,000
d, - 3,120,000

Total coins issued - 21,260,000
Face Value - 456,500


Round Back and Flat Backs. Both are gVF yet the Flatback has much more detail on the Kiwi!

Numbers of all coins minted for 1946 were high and actually the most coins issued in a year so far (Although 1934 and 1933 had more if you exclude the fact there was no Bronze in those years and the total for 1946 drops to 11.4 million coins if you just count the silver ones). The number of Pennies again was quite high and even the halfpence had a respectable number. This was mainly to resolve a wartime coin shortage and in general by late 1946, it was over and adequate coins were circulating. If anything inflation started increasing making the Bronze coins even more worthless.

The big star of 1946 was the "Flatback Florin" and this was a redesign of the Kiwi, the new coin had a flatter back with a higher and thicker rim. It wore better than the round back coin and there were other differences such as 5 whiskers under the beak instead of 4 and the initials KG are higher on the coin. They are also similar to the 1947 and later florins whereas roundbacks are similar to 1933 - 1945 coins.
The variety is reasonably scarce with about of all the Florins being this variety, which was likely started half way through the minting process.

None of 1946's other coins are scarce at all and the year ranks amongst the cheapest for the silver era. VF and EF coins are relatively easy with AU/UNC being more difficult. Again because of the change to cupronickel the next year, many people hoarded old silver coins and it was mostly the 1945 and 1946 coins that were in the best condition, along with them being big years. Next most hoarded was 1943 and less likely 1933 and 1934 (Albeit by 1946/47 these coins were likely to be very worn already). The fact remained was despite hoarding and recalling by banks, quite a few silver coins survived through to decimalisation.

The price of silver dropped through 1948 and apart from British empire and some Latin countries, most places kept silver or mixed silver coins well into the 1960s. Australia did at least drop to 50% silver coinage in 1946 and thus for 1946 NZ and Australian coinage had the same metal content!

Next 1947 - The base metal invasion.


Heads shot for those of you who missed it.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Edited by Princetane
01/27/2022 05:19 am
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2022  04:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The changeover from Silver 1946 - 1947

Before I get into 1947 just wanted to explain the change to silver. According to Peppings book, the Indian silver used for Royal Mint coins ran out in early 1943 and was threatened by Japanese movements in Burma. Hence the loan of some 88 million ounces of silver from the USA, which was payable within 5 years of the war ending. As the war ended in Aug 1945, that meant the silver needed to be paid by August 1950 (Hence why you Americans had 90% silver through to 1964).

2/3 of the silver was used for wiring and mechanics on war machines and equipment, only 1/3 was used for coinages. NZ in total used 6.8 million ounces of silver in their coins between 1933 and 1946, 1.57 million was silver minted from the USA, hence NZ became liable to pay it back as the UK had no reserves left, except what was in coinage.

Fortunately minting coins in half silver was still profitable with the cost of the silver being 48% face value at the height of the silver price of 4/7d an ounce in late 1946. By mid 1947 it had dropped to 3/8, yet in 1939 it was 1/9. A halfcrown contained just 0.227 an ounce of silver - so no more than 14 pence in a coin worth 30 pence.


A silver florin from 1946! The coin contained around 10d of silver metal in it by 1946 prices.

Hence in 1947 it was decided that minting coins in Cupronickel and sending back silver ones would pay off this debt. In March 1947 the English approved the minting of cupronickel coins in place of silver ones (Bronze was unaffected) and July this applied to New Zealand. To date no 1947 coins had been minted yet and none survive in silver.

August 1947 saw the minting of the first NZ cupronickel Halfcrowns, Florins, Shillings, Sixpences and Threepences. The joy was the new coins metal cost just 4% of their face value (Basically a cupronickel Florin had one penny worth of metal in it - the bronze was more expensive as it cost around 2/3 of its value in metal). This meant that our coinage was essentially mostly copper as cupro nickel was 75% copper and bronze coins were 95.5% (They briefly were 97% in WW2 and the late 50s due to zinc needed for the war effort).


A 1947 Cupronickel shilling, the coin contained just a d worth of metal in it!

The other advantages of cupronickel was it was a 2 metal alloy not 4. No zinc was used either, the coins were 75% copper and 25% nickel which was blended and not biscuited, despite this as a, fresh coin the nickel had a pale colour similar to silver but a greyer white. It darkened to green or brown/black eventually but the new coins were much more durable and grey or dark grey is the standard colour of worn ones.

Unlike the silver coins which are often worn down to Good or worse, you seldom see a cupronickel coin below the high Very Goods and most average coins are Fine in the 1947/55 period and VF afterwards. Some 1965 coins can be Fine too as it was a big mintage and the 2/-,1/- and 6d saw use as 20c, 10c and 5c pieces into the 2000s.


A bulk group of average condition cupronickel coins - mostly fine and 1 or 2 stained.

The cupronickel coins were also 7% thicker than the silver and neater more grained edges on the 6d - 2/6 (3d had a plain edge like the bronze coins).

The collection of silver began in early 1948 and by May 1950 enough silver had been collected and sent to the UK to pay back the silver loan. The low cost of the new cupronickel pieces meant that NZ made a profit on the changeover (Now you know why they made a few million florins and halfcrowns in the late 40s/early 50s).

Despite this quite a few silver pieces remained in use and they still were valid. Acts to make them invalid in 1951 failed as it would fuel a black market (How I don't know as the silver price fell further in the 1950s and a silver halfcrown then would only have around 7d in metal value, whereas it was 2/6 as a legal tender coin).

People took to the base coins well, as the face value remained the same. It may have cost a penny in metal - but a Florin or Halfcrown was still a promise to pay that amount in value.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Edited by Princetane
01/27/2022 04:59 am
Valued Member
Australia
68 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2022  05:08 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add OzLeigh to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your info is making me think about going to the trouble of digging out my kiwi pre-decimal stuff and organising it better.


Quote:
Tails shot for those of you who missed it.


Was thinking to myself that you don't often hear such a knowledgable collector as yourself refer to the reverse as "tails" when I realised the photo is actually of "heads" (in the 1946 post)
Edited by OzLeigh
01/27/2022 05:11 am
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2022  05:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1947 A great recoinage and the switch to base metals

As discussed above, 1947 was a revolutionary year for our coins with the "silver" coins being reissued in cupronickel and thus no longer having any precious metal value. 1947 was also the first of 5 years in which there was an abundance of coins, particularly Halfcrowns and Florins being issued.


1947 complete set with most coins VF, but shilling is EF along with the 3d.


1947 Halfpenny - an upgrade to AU!

Coins issued

2/6, - 1,600,000
2/-, - 2,500,000
1/-, - 2,800,000
6d, - 3,200,000
3d, - 6,400,000 - all of these coins in cupronickel
1d, - 5,880,000 - metal unchanged for bronze coins
d, - 2,726,400

Total coins issued - 25,106,400
FV - 800,180

Basically all the coins saw jumbo mintages and all had the highest numbers ever or since 1934. The 3d and 1d were the highest ever and this was mostly due to a need for them, whilst the 4 high coins were merely to bed in as many cupronickel coins amongst the remaining silver ones as possible.

The first shipment containing cupronickel coins from the Halfcrown down to Sixpence arrived in NZ on Nov 24 1947 and the coins were in use by the 28th. They were unhappy that the 3d and 1d had not arrived yet as there was again a shortage, stocks of these and the halfpenny arrived in early 1948.


The last year of this effigy and inscription

1947 was also the year that India gained independence and the inscription of Emperor was to be removed from Empire coins. In NZ we moved it in 1948, however Australia and Britain cheekily kept it another year only dropping it in 1949. Basically if you have a cupronickel NZ coin with "Emperor" on it, you know its 1947.

Coins of this year are very common in conditions up to and including very fine. EF and above are much harder and UNC Halfcrowns down to sixpences dated 1947 can cost more than the silver ones of 1943, 45 and 1946. Most of my coins are basically average pieces, although the shilling and halfpenny are better examples I did pay for. I guess I don't see the merit of paying $50 or more for a base metal coin (But I do in the next years).

The AU/UNC coins of 1947 through to 1955 are very rare (Except some 1951 Sixpences and Halfcrowns, which are cheap due to them being stockpiled - more in 1951) and even though only around the $60 - $200 for most of them, they just do not exist in any great numbers, yet you can buy solid F - VF coins including Halfcrowns of this era for less than a dollar each. Many Kiwis have bulk collections of one or more 1947 dated coins they have kept and they survive in piles. In 1966 - 67 people eagerly saved old coins when decimal day came in naive hope of them becoming priceless collectors items and they did not. Of course by 1966 a 1947 halfcrown or florin is going to look pretty worn and thus why you can find 1000 fine 1947 halfcrowns for every 1 AU 1947 halfcrown.

Next 1948 - A new title and the recoinage continues.
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
New Zealand
3843 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2022  05:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oz Leigh - Just a brain fa#t on my part, I actually get Obverse and Reverse confused and say heads and tails all the time.

Corrected it as I also added up the Face value wrong.
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
753 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2022  05:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Basil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting Princetane,thanks for making the effort to post.
I've read Australia's War history regarding Coins dozens of times over the years but never NZ.
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