• 50 Cents 1966, KM# 67, Australia, Elizabeth II
  • 50 Cents 1966, KM# 67, Australia, Elizabeth II
Description

The round Australian 50 cent piece was introduced at the changeover to decimal currency in Australia in 1966. It is the only round 50 cent piece, containing 80% silver and 20% Copper. It wasn’t long before the value of the silver content far outweighed the fifty cent face value and it was withdrawn from production and replaced in 1969 with the 12 sided shape. Despite them being withdrawn from circulation many millions of the coins were hoarded by the Australian public. Sometimes it is falsely regarded as a rarity, in fact there were more than 36 million coins minted, and, although many have been returned to the mint and melted down, there are many coins in the market, although these are generally traded as bullion coins rather than being traded as collector coins.

A well known variety of the 50c piece is the double bar variety. Incorporated in the original reverse design were 2 horizontal bars in the reeding behind the emu’s head. These bars could possibly cause weakening of the dies during striking so were probably ground off the transfer punches that were used to make the dies, but not on all of them.

Obverse

Second crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

Engraver: Arnold Machin

ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1966

Reverse

Depicts the Australian Coat of Arms.

Australia coat of arms (the escutcheon is carried by a Red Kangaroo and an Emu) and the numeral 50. The escutcheon is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within is the badge of each Australian state, the whole surrounded by an ermine border representing the federation of the states:

· New South Wales: the cross of St. George with lion and stars;
· Victoria: an Imperial Crown and Southern Cross;
· Queensland: a blue Maltese Cross and Crown;
· South Australia: the Australian piping shrike;
· Western Australia: a black swan;
· Tasmania: a red walking lion.

In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Above the shield is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation above a blue and gold wreath, forming the crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia. In its entirety the shield represents the federation of Australia.

The Red Kangaroo and Emu that support the shield have never been designated as official animal emblems of the nation. They owe their unofficial recognition to the fact that they are native Australian fauna (found only on that continent), and likely chosen because they are the most well-known native Australian animals large enough to be positioned together in scale holding up the shield.

The Commonwealth coat of arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first arms were authorised by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908, and the current version by King George V on 19 September 1912.

Engraver: Stuart Devlin

50
SD

Edge

50 Cents

2nd portrait, Aussie Round
KM# 67
Characteristics
Material Silver
Fineness 0.800
Weight 13.28 g
Diameter 31.5 mm
Thickness 2.5 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mint
Royal Australian Mint (RAM)

Related coins

2nd portrait, Polygon

Cupronickel, 15.55 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm
2nd portrait, 200th Anniversary of the Exploration of the Eastern Coast of Australia by James Cook

Cupronickel, 15.75 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm
2nd portrait, Silver Jubilee

25th Anniversary of the Accession of Elizabeth II to the Throne

Cupronickel, 15.75 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm