The 1954 Royal Visit commemorative florin marked Queen Elizabeth II’s first tour of Australia which was characterised by huge, adoring crowds wherever she went. Four million of these coins were issued, becoming proud possessions in many Australian households.
Featuring a lion and a kangaroo standing side-by-side, the design symbolised Anglo-Australian solidarity. It was prepared by Sydney-born sculptor William Leslie Bowles, who studied at London’s Royal Academy and served with the Royal Tank Corps during World War I before returning home to work at the Australian War Memorial. Well-known pieces by Bowles include The man with the donkey, a tribute to Private Simpson’s courage at Gallipoli, and the Sir John Monash memorial in Melbourne.
The Queen set foot on Australian soil for the first time on 3 February 1954. Sadly, Bowles died a few weeks later and would never have known exactly how sought-after his commemorative design became.
The Perth Mint is proud to hold an example of 1954 Royal Visit florin in its historic collection, and is currently offering you the chance to add this distinctive Australian pre-decimal to yours. Making an eye-catching display, the coin is housed on a delightfully illustrated presentation card portraying a young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Australia.