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The Coins And Banknotes Of Fiji!

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Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/10/2021  11:25 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Besides collecting NZ, Australia and British Halfcrowns and Florins, I really have a soft spot for Fijian Currency and have a huge collection of everything from Predecimals to Banknotes.

This thread we should show some of our Fijian stuff.

Even cooler would be a Fijian member, do we have one?





Here is a recent haul of Fijian banknotes to whet your appetite!

I will introduce the various coins and history over time.
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
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/10/2021  11:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fijian Currency 1800s - now.

A basic overview.

1. Coins and notes of Britain and USA were used in Levuka and the trading settlements from the 1830s onwards.

2. In 1874 Fiji became a British protectorate and the British pound was the currency. Notes and coins came from the UK, there was always a shortage. There had been a brief usage of decimal currency in the early 1870s

3. Stamps were first issued in 1870, the first government bank notes came out in 1920.
These notes included the 5/- which was the usual payment for a days labour for a Fijian or Indian worker.
The other values were 10/-, 1, 5, 10 and later 20. When Fiji became decimal in 1969, they kept these values except the 20 and also issued a $5 note.

4. 1969 notes included 50 cents which was the old 5/- and $1, $2, $5 and $10




A 50 cent banknote from 1971, these were used until 1974.

5. $20 notes were added in 1985, $50 in 1992 and $100 in 2002. The 50 cent note was replaced in 1975 with a coin.

6. $1 and $2 notes were dropped in 1995 and 2014 for coins.




Late 1980s pair of $1 and $2 banknotes.

7. The Queen was dropped from the banknotes in 2013 after Fijian was briefly out of the British Commonwealth. It has since reentered but current notes and coins do not show her majesty.

8. In 2000 a special $2 note was issued and a very rare $2,000 note was also issued. In 2017 a $7 note celebrating the victory of the Fiji Sevens Rugby team was also issued with a 50 cent coin.

Coins next!

Addendum - In 1942 some fractional notes were issued including banknotes for 1 penny (Showing the coin) and One and Two Shillings. Mainly as there was a coin shortage and the Japanese were breathing down on Fiji's border. These notes were very plain and not like the usual series being printed on one side.
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
06/11/2021 12:21 am
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  05:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Lets talk coins.

Fiji has had 4 major phases of coinage in my opinion. 3 of these phases featured their own coins.

The first was Foreign coins.

1. 1800s - 1934 Foreign coins

1800 - 1874, a mixture of coins American, British, Mexican dollars, Peruvian soles, Marks you name it.


This could have been used in Fiji! Blackbirders often traded with Peruvian and Chilean silver

1874 - 1934 Officially - The British Pound Sterling



Used throughout the British world, these were welcome in Suva, Nandi and even Nausori!

From 1910 Australian and in 1933 New Zealand coinage was also used in Fiji. After 1920 a Preference for Britain as it was 50% silver.


This Aussie shilling could have ended up in Fiji, sometime in its life!

2. Fijian Predecimal Coinage 1934 - 1968
To be discussed in next post

3. Fijian early Decimal coinage 1969 - 2006

4. Fijian modern Decimal coinage 2009 - current.

To be discussed in later posts.
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
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  05:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
FIJIAN PREDECIMAL COINAGE 1934 - 1968

In 1934 Fiji got its own coinage.
There were 5 coins in all to start off with.
With the exception of the 1942 and 1943 dated coins, all Fijian coins were minted at The Royal Mint in London and later Llantrsiant for decimal coins.

These included the Cupronickel Penny and Halfpenny



Halfpenny Obverse


One Penny Obverse


Common Reverse of both coins.

These coins were cupronickel and minted most years. In 1942 and 1943 Brass coins were minted as there was a nickel shortage for war needs.

Like all of the Fijian series the 1942 and 1943 dated coins were minted in San Francisco in the USA. This was due to shipping dangers and the closeness of the Japanese in the Pacific and Nazi Uboats and Destroyers all over the seas from England.

The low value coins had the kings name in words on the coin, no portraits. This included a 1936 King Edward VIII penny. In 1954 the Halfpenny was retired.

The next 3 coins were the Sixpence (6d), Shilling (1/-) and Florin (2/-)


Sixpence - Sea Turtle


Shilling - Fijian outrigger vessel (Kamakua or Camakua)


Florin - Stylised coat of arms.

These coins were all designed by Percy Metcalfe except the Florin, which is Kruger Grey(Obverses).

In 1947 a sixth coin, a Threepence was added to the line up. This was a brass dodecagonal piece like the British one.


Threepence showing a Fijian House (Bure) and palm trees

This shot shows the Threepence coin next to Penny, Shilling and Sixpence.

Facts

1. All coins bar the 3d were issued in 1934
2. The Threepence was added in 1947
3. No Halfpennies were made after 1954
4. The 6d to Florin were minted in 50% silver until 1945, coins dated after this year are Cupronickel.
5. Fiji only went decimal in January 1969.
6. The obverses on all coins from 3d to 1/- were designed by Percy Metcalfe, 2/- by Kruger Grey

Royal Portraits next post.
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
06/11/2021 05:51 am
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  05:31 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Royal Portraits on Fijian coinage

1. King George V 1934 - 1936

The classic Kruger Gray portrait of the King in an ermine robe appeared on the three silver coins (6d,1 and 2/-)



The elegant portrait was first used on Southern Rhodesian coins of 1932 and was also used on New Zealand coins from 1933 and also the coinage of Mauritius from 1934 onwards. Other countries like South Africa, Australia, India, the UK and others used the Bertram Mackennal portrait (Except UK was uncrowned).

The Penny and Halfpenny had his name in words with a Crown at top around the edge of the coin.




2. King Edward VIII - 1936 Only

Yes - Fiji had a coin of him, only the Penny of 1936 and this was not every 1936 Penny, 120,000 were issued with his name and 240,000 in the name of King George V.



So essenially no portrait coin that was issued exists of him (Numerous patterns and essays do). Several African colonies, New Guinea and some Indian states also issued low value coins with the Kings name on them.


PS - All coins and notes shown in this thread are from my Fijian collection!
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
06/11/2021 05:32 am
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  05:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
3. King George VI 1937 - 1952,

As Fiji was not a large country, coins were not issued every year and this reign can be divided into 3 parts.

1. 1937, these coins show the king on the coin as other years but "George VI King" appears on the left side of the coin. I do not have one, but this Rhodesian Half crown shows what it looked like.



2. 1938 - 1948, as above, but now the word "King" has been moved to the right of the portrait



3. 1950 - 1952, Changed to King George the Sixth. This only appears on Threepences, no 6d - 2/- were issued between 1944 and 1952 and the smaller coins had words only.

Pennies and Halfpence again had the words and crown.




4. Queen Elizabeth II 1953 - 1968

There was just one type of effigy here and one lot of script for the 3d to 2/-



Like the King George VI coins, the portraits of the rulers were crowned as per coins of the colonies were meant to be.

The "White" Dominions like Australia, Canada and New Zealand got the right to have bare headed effigies, but not a colony like Fiji.

Again pence and halfpennies had the name in words

George VI effigy by Humphrey Paget and Elizabeth II by Cecil Thomas.

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
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  05:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
COIN DIMENSIONS

Halfpenny - 21.2mm in size, 3.24 gram weight
Penny - 26.5mm, 6.48 grams

Both coins are holed, designed so they can be strung in lengths mostly by natives. Metal was Copper Nickel (75% copper, 25% silver). Except 1942/43 in which they were brass. No name given for design, but generic except Crown.

Threepence - 21.9mm, 6.2grams in weight
Metal - Nickel Brass

Sixpence - 19.4mm, 2.82grams
Shilling - 23.4mm, 5.65grams
Florin - 28.5mm, 11.31grams

Metal to 1943 - 50% silver, 40% Copper, 5% Nickel, 5% Zinc (The famous Quarternary Alloy)
1953 - 1967 - 75% Copper, 25% Nickel.

Dates minted
Individual years will be discussed later posts for each coin, but most coins were only minted in certain years.
d. 1934 - 1954
1d. 1934 - 1968
3d. 1947 - 1967
6d. 1934 - 1967
1/-. 1934 - 1965
2/-. 1934 - 1965
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
3065 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  06:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add triggersmob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice thread PrinceTane and some great information.
I have quite a few Fiji coins, but not as many as I would like.

Steve :)
View my Coins here, (NOW WITH OVER 16,000 IMAGES).... http://www.coincommunity.org/galler...hp?cat=10048
OFEC count = 237
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/12/2021  06:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Going to add more to this in a few days, add some shots of my collection and then move on to the decimal coins and banknotes.

Patience and the thread will reveal itself.
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
United Kingdom
8928 Posts
 Posted 06/12/2021  07:00 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting thread, Princetane!
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  07:10 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Halfpennies




The smallest and least valuable coin is actually fairly scarce compared to the others and especially the penny.

Only one date of King George V halfpenny exists, the 1934 first year with 96,000 issued - my one above is AU.

King George VI saw more coins
No more were issued until 1940 which is a very scarce year with just 24k issued and one of the rarest Fijian circulation pieces ever.




My examples are high grade (AU/EF) but some light stains. Because Fiji is a humid and very hot place, staining on coins is very common, unless the coins are very fresh. This is still a problem now (I have 2010s Brass $1 and $2 coins stained and discoloured).

1941 Halfpennies are also quite scarce and you can figure 96k minted. After this date many more were minted.




In 1942 and 1943 as nickel was needed for the war effort, the halfpence coins were minted in brass along with the penny (Image shows a pair of Brass coins). They were minted in San Francisco and the brass is much less durable than cupronickel. My example is VFish.

1942S and 1943S were more common dates with some 250k issued each year. I have a 1942S only.

After World War 2 the coins were again minted in Cupronickel with coins being minted every year from 1949 to 1952, these had the "King George the Sixth" legend and I don't have any. 1949 was 96k and 1950 and 1951 were 115k each. 1952 saw a high 228k.

I also don't have the only Elizabeth date either - 1954.
228k coins were also minted.

Compared to all the other coins, the Halfpenny series is probably one of the more scarce ones. It was only minted in 10 years over a 20 year period and 5 of those years were under 100k and one year under 25k.

Fijian Halfpennies also saw tiny quantities of proofs for most years. These are very desirable.

Next Pennies (And there are a lot more!).
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
3065 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  08:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add triggersmob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I also don't have the only Elizabeth date either - 1954.
228k coins were also minted.


PrincTane, I hope you don't mind me placing this in your thread, before you start on the pennies.
This is the only half penny that I do have.




Steve :)
View my Coins here, (NOW WITH OVER 16,000 IMAGES).... http://www.coincommunity.org/galler...hp?cat=10048
OFEC count = 237
Pillar of the Community
Canada
5646 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  09:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mcshilling to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting read guys.
Pillar of the Community
New Zealand
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  10:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Steve not at all, anything you have and anything I don't have is welcome.

If anyone has one of the 1949 - 1952 Halfpennies as well, be my guest as the lettering changed on the back.
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
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pennies - Part 1

Unlike the halfpenny, the pennies were very common and saw generous issues for most years, particularly the 1960s.

Unlike the Halfpennies they were issued between 1934 and 1968 and some 24 years and 25 varieties issued (1936 saw two types).

Like Halfpennies they had holes in them and were aimed at the natives who could carry many of these coins on strings.

The George V series included all 3 years 1934, 35 and 1936. I have 2 of these coins.




I have 1934 and 1936, issues were in the 200k's not huge but many more than the Halfpenny and a lot given Fiji had 300k people in 1934 and most were not involved in the cash economy yet.

Like the Halfpennies a handful of proofs exist for each date.

Also in 1936 was the issue of a Edward VIII Penny. This coin was unique in the Fijian series and only with New Guinea also issuing a holed penny (But Bronze) the only Edward VIII coin issued in the Pacific region.




Just 120k were issued and although a low mintage not as low as some of the KGVI and 1950s coins. For an interesting coin, they are quite cheap and easy to get, the UNCIRCULATED coin above cost me just $25.
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
2805 Posts
 Posted 06/13/2021  11:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pennies Part 2 - King George VI

The issuing continued on apace into the new reign. With Halfpennies we had a 6 year wait between the first and second issue, with Pennies we had an issue in 1937 straight away (After the 1936 double whammy)

Again nothing changed bu the King's name, and only an "I" was inserted into the inscription!



Cupronickel pennies were issued in 1937, 40, 41, 45, 49 (With changed inscription), 50 and 52.

Image shows my examples from 37, 40 and 45. Of these dates the years 1941, 1949 are scarce and 1950 is truly rare with just 58k minted, the lowest of any date.

Also issued in 1942 and 1943 were the brass pennies in San Francisco. These were both very common with high mintages of 1 million coins each.



Like the halfpence, brass coins are even less durable and many are worn and stained, whereas my Cupronickel coins are all VF to AU, these two are barely Fine.

All the other dates are fairly common with between 200k and 500k coins issued each year.

The 1949 to 1952 coins (I don't have any) may have reduced numbers due to the introduction of the Threepence coin in 1947, which eased the number needed in change transactions (In the 1940s if you spent 7d and paid 1/- you got back 5 pennies, in the 50s you got only 2 pennies a and thruppenny bit!).



All 5 of My KGVI pennies!


The Reverse of this era (To 1945)
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
06/13/2021 11:32 pm
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