Mint opening | His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, opened the Royal Australian Mint on 22 February 1965 | Source: The Royal Australian Mint

The Royal Mint: Rare Australian Coins Worth a Fortune

“Somewhere in the next five to 10 years the 5c coin will probably just cease to be used,” – The Royal Australian Mint Chief Executive, Ross MacDiarmid conforms the demand for coins has dropped by roughly 55 per cent in the last five years.

It seems as we experience the rise of digital currency, a cashless society looks more and more inevitable. With banknotes and coins set to become scarcer by the years, one thing that won’t be slowing down – the demand and fascination, for rare Australian coins.

The most valuable Australian coin, a rare Australian penny, fetched over A$1 million. The value is driven by rarity, purity and history – here’s a look at some valuable Australian coins.

Proof 1930 Penny

Struck in 1930 at the Melbourne Mint during the Great Depression, with only six ever minted is the Proof 1930 Penny. Three are held by private collectors, one in Melbourne and two in Sydney. The remaining three are held at the British Museum, the Museum of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia. The latest sale of this rare Australian Penny in March 2019 claimed a new record as the most expensive Australian penny, selling for A$1.15 million. Lauded as a work of art, the ‘proof penny’ was never destined for circulation. Instead, it filtered into private hands remaining unhandled and blemish-free with its original brilliant copper shine.

1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign

Australia’s first and most important sovereign sold in August 2021 for A$95,000. The uncirculated 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns – the previous one before this year was four years ago in 2017. Struck at the nation’s very first mint in Sydney, the uncirculated coin is supremely rare and of high quality. With lustrous surfaces and impeccable design detail which is clearly visible to the naked eye.

1920 Kookaburra Square Penny

The rare group of square Kookaburra Pennies was discovered in 1919, 1920 and 1921 with the 1920 coin revered as the rarest of the bunch. The uncirculated, sculpted three-dimensional design has been subject to exponential value growth over the years. In the early 70s, the coin was worth less than A$1,000. By the 90s the price had jumped ten-fold to $10,000. In July of this year, one sold for A$65,000, an incredible price rise for an Australian penny.

The Mortimer Hammel 1852 Cracked Die Adelaide Pound

This particular 1852 Cracked Die Adelaide Pound boasts rarity and historical standing. The nation’s first gold coin the type I Adelaide pounds are defined by a beaded inner circle that has a crack in the DWT lettering of the coin. The mishap creates an extremely rare subgroup of coins of only around 40. Of that group, only three are uncirculated. This one was also formerly owned by American gold coin collector Mortimer Hammel, selling in August 2021 for A$600,000.

1922-1921 Threepence

The rarest Australian circulation coin, an 1922-1921 overdate Threepence sold in July 2021 for A$95,000. The virtually uncirculated coin is one of the finest examples of its type. It features the overdate where a coin struck from a die that has a trace remnant of a previous years numeral in the date, in this case, 1922 covered 1921.

A ‘Diamond and Pearl’ 1923 Halfpenny

A fully defined central diamond and eight pristine pearls on King George V’s crown, give this old Australian coin its nickname. Listed on Coinworks for A$95,000, this particular coin is one of the finest known examples of Australia’s rarest halfpenny. Although not made to proof standards its reflective, smooth surface is almost immaculate. Only approximately 15,000 1923 Halfpennies were struck at the Melbourne Mint.

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