Jan 052016
 

On Valentine’s Day 1966, Australia introduced decimal currency.

A public information blitz had prepared people extremely well, and the changeover from pounds shillings and pence went remarkably smoothly.

For some the look and feel of the new decimal currency took a little getting used to. “The most common comment was that the notes looked like money used in the game Monopoly,” reported the Canberra Times.

“The coins are beautiful but the notes are shocking,” a voice had been heard exclaiming.

The original decimal paper notes have long since been replaced by polymer notes. But if you check your change there’s still a chance you’ll find a coin dating back to the 1960s.

Six artists had been chosen to submit designs for the decimal coins by way of a limited competition. The winner was Geelong-born designer and sculptor Stuart Devlin whose heralded designs featured Australian fauna.

The following British Pathé newsreel shows Stuart Devlin making animal sketches and inspecting his coin ‘plasters’ for Australia’s new decimal coins in 1964.

SpacerPerth Mint Starts Decimal Production

A new mint in Canberra was specially commissioned to make the decimal coinage, but it didn’t open until 1965. To ensure the massive number of new coins required was made on time, the Royal Mint’s Perth and Melbourne branches were enlisted early to begin production of the two lowest denominations.

In fact, The Perth Mint’s contribution to decimal coinage lasted 20 years. Between 1964 and 1984 it churned out a massive 829 million 2 cents coins along with 26 million 1 cent coins.

Production of Australian decimal 1 and 2 cents coins ceased completely in 1990 and they were withdrawn from circulation from February 1992.

50th Anniversary of Australian Decimal Currency
2016 1oz Silver Proof Two-Coin Set

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of decimalisation, The Perth Mint is delighted to reveal that it has been authorised to revive Stuart Devlin’s feathertail glider and frill-necked lizard designs in silver for a special 50th anniversary of decimalisation set.

50thAnn-AustralianDecimalCurrency-1Cent-Silver-ProofAbout 7.5cm in body length, the feathertail glider is Australia’s smallest possum. Like other gliding possums (or flying squirrels), it has webs of skin between its hands and feet, enabling it to ‘glide’. A nocturnal marsupial that carries its young in a pouch, the feathertail glider lives in trees in Australia’s eastern coastal region. During aerial descents, it uses its feather-like tail as a rudder.

 

50thAnn-AustralianDecimalCurrency-2Cent-Silver-Proof-About 75cm long, of which more than half is its tail, the frill-necked lizard lives in northern parts of Australia. It has a large frill around its neck which usually remains folded back on its shoulders when resting or running. When the lizard is cornered or angered, however, it raises its body, gapes its mouth open and unfurls its frill before bolting as fast as it can away from a predator.

 

Issued as Australian legal tender, each coin is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver. The reverse of both coins includes the initials ‘SD’, as well as The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.

Includes original 1 cent and 2 cents copper coins

The coins are housed in a two-coin display case which also includes a pouch containing an original 1 cent and 2 cents coin.

No more than 2,000 of these evocative sets will be released.

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