Australia in 1966 had a big year with decimal currency being phased in. The task of minting 1.05 billion coins (Figure has been rounded as most denominations had coins minted in Canberra, Perth, Melbourne and London varieties), had taken since mid 1964.
Decimal Day was February 14th and the coins were all released in circulation. The sets consisted of a Bronze 1c and 2c, a cupro nickel 5c, 10c and 20c and a 80% silver 50 cent piece.
All the designs were by Stuart Devlin and showed Australian wildlife. The 5c - 50c are all still used today and the Machin portrait of the Queen appeared on the back.
1c, 2c, 5c and 20c (The lower 3 coins are nice, probably from a mint set, the 20c is my usual worn one)
Silver 50 cent coin - 2 coins here so I can show front and back, the design is the same to 1969 and later coins.
The 10 cents, here I have the two types as shown, none are rare but it is interesting. Differences between the mints on the 1c, 2c and 5c are often visible by claws and feathers on some of the animals. I haven't done too much analysis here and many of my 1966 coins are very worn - so its hard.
Coin obverses and showing relative size.
Sets saw much lower mintages than for New Zealand! Just 105k in total of Uncirculated sets were minted in various permutations including red and blue wallets, display cards and special wallets as presentation pieces to dignataries and the very scarce "Operation Fastbuck" wallets which were handed out to the lorry drivers moving the billon coins and notes around Australia in time for release. I dont have any to show sorry. Locally made sets came out too, one of the most bizarre I have seen is the coins mounted inside a plastic boomerang!
Only 18k Proof sets were issued and many have toned coins. All of these sets are scarce to rare unlike New Zealand's 1965 and 1967 sets which are real common. There was also 43k of a card containing a 1c and 2c coin, McDonald (2009) mentions that these were sold at the Canberra, Melbourne and Perth mints to schoolchildren for 5c and many actually opened the cards and spent the coins, so survivors are rare!
There was no special one off Dollars or other coins either, the 50 cent silver was the big coin - yet with 36 million minted its hardly rare and you can pick them up in EF - MS condition for basically silver value + $2 at most.
Mintages of each coin are (Combined mints and rounded to nearest million).
1c - 412 million (Mostly Canberra and London, a few Melbourne)
2c - 428 million (As above) - Melbourne minted bronze only
5c - 75 million (Canberra and London)
10c - 41 million (As above)
20c - 58 million (Canberra and London, also rolls in London)
50c - 36 million (Canberra only and 18k proofs in sets)
The overall number was fairly low with just over 1 billion coins for 14 million people, while NZ had 256 million for 2.5 million. This was countered by very large mintages of all denominations but the 2c and 5c in 1967 and 1968 (52 million 10 cents in 1967 and 83 million 20c)
As we know, the 50 cents lasted the one year and even in 1969 with the new coin, just 14 million more were minted. the high number of 20c coins minted in the late 60s reflected this gap between 20c and $1 in the currency stakes.
No Australia for 1965 and we pick up the story in sterling times!
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.