On Australian Coins
Australian pre decimal coins have been struck at a number of mints both in Australia and abroad.
To help identify from which mint a coin originates each mint adds a mark to the coin different from other mints. The mint mark is usually located near the date on the coin. There are some exceptions to this which are noted as they arise.
Mint marks on gold sovereigns:
M - Melbourne Victoria
S - Sydney New South Wales
P - Perth Western Australia
On all 1/2 sovereigns 1893 to 1920 and full sovereigns 1871 to 1931 with the St. George reverse the
mint mark appears on the lower side of the ground above the centre of the
Sydney mint reverse 1/2 sovereign 1853 to 1866 and sovereigns 1853 to 1870 do not have a mint mark.
1/2 sovereigns minted between 1871 and 1887 with the shield reverse have
the date on the obverse and the mint mark on the reverse under the shield
Full sovereigns minted between 1871 and 1887 with the shield
reverse have the date on the obverse and the mint mark on the reverse
under the shield
Mint marks on pre decimal copper coins:
- Heaton Mint in London, England used on 1/2 pennies 1912, 1914 and 1915
and pennies in 1912 and 1915 only.
- On the reverse just above the date indicates Calcutta, India. This was used for 1/2 pennies in 1916, 1917 and 1918 and for pennies in 1917 and 1918.
- On the obverse just below the Kings effigy indicates Bombay, India view
and was used for both 1/2 pennies and pennies for the years 1942 and 1943. These coins also have a dot before and a dot after
the wording Half Penny and Penny respectively.
- One penny 1919 with a dot below the bottom scroll
indicates Melbourne mint.
One Penny 1919 with
dot over the top scroll and
dot below the bottom scroll indicates Melbourne mint.
One Penny 1920
dot over the bottom scroll indicates Sydney mint
One Penny 1920 dot below the bottom scroll indicates Melbourne mint
One Penny 1920
dot over the top scroll indicates Melbourne mint
One Penny 1920 dot over the top scroll and
below the bottom scroll indicates Melbourne mint.
For 1/2 pennies A dot after the A of Australia indicates Perth mint and
was used in 1952 only.
A dot after the Y of Half Penny indicates Perth mint and was used in 1942,
1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951.
For pennies a dot after the A of Australia indicates Perth mint and was
used in 1952 and 1953.
A dot after the Y of Penny indicates Perth mint and was used from 1941 to
1945, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1955 to 1964 inclusive.
PL - In 1951 some of our 1/2 pennies and some of our pennies were minted
at the London mint and this is indicated by a PL which appears just after
the Y of Half Penny and Penny respectively.
K.G - All pennies with a Kangaroo reverse, include as part of their
design the letters KG which appear in the field just above the Kangaroos
tail. Coins minted at the Perth mint during 1940 and 1941 have a dot
between the K and the G distinguishing them as coins struck in Perth. This
dot is not always clearly defined and can appear as anything from a clear
dot to a low barely distinguishable lump.
Mint marks on pre decimal silver coins:
H - Heaton Mint in London, England used on one shilling in 1915 and
florin in 1914 and 1915.
M - Melbourne mint used on the Threepence 1916 to 1921 inclusive, Sixpence
1916 to 1920 inclusive, Shilling 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1920, Florin 1916 to
S - San Francisco
Threepence 1942 to 1944 inclusive,
Sixpence 1942 to 1944
inclusive, Shilling 1942 to 1944 inclusive,
Florin 1942 to 1944 inclusive.
D - Denver Threepence 1942 and 1943 only,
Sixpence 1942 and 1943 only.
PL - Royal Mint, London, both
Sixpence for 1951 only.
Dot - Before the S of shilling denotes Perth mint for the year 1946 only.
Star - A "*"
above the date of the 1921 shilling denotes Sydney mint.
GRADING Of Australian Coins
Describes a type of coin, not a grade. Proof coins are not minted for circulation, they are collector issues. They have a mirror-like finish which is a result of the highly polished dies and blanks used in
their manufacture. The design on many proof coins have been treated with acid or sand blasted to give them a matt finish which make it stand out against the highly polished background. This is called frosted relief.
FDC (Fleur De Coin or Flower of the die)
A perfect coin. A sharp strike with fully formed detail. There can be no detracting or contact marks.
Full mint lustre must be present. Attractive toning is acceptable on silver coins only. Eye appeal should be brilliant.
GEM (Gem Uncirculated)
A few insignificant detracting marks may be just visible to the naked eye. Strong but not perfect strike. Almost full mint lustre should be present. Attractive toning may be present. Eye appeal should be very high.
CHOICE (Choice Uncirculated)
Should be well struck with only minor detail missing from the high points of the design. Detracting marks should be very minor and should not attract your attention. Mint Lustre should be apparent. Attractive toning may be present. Eye appeal should be excellent.
As the term implies, a coin which has not been circulated in the commercial sense. The coin may have a flat strike caused by excessive use of the dies when minting. Detracting marks received during minting are acceptable. However if the marks are not minor or they detract from the coins appearance they need to be mentioned and taken into account when grading. Eye appeal should be very nice.
aUNC (almost Uncirculated)
Similar to uncirculated but with faint traces of wear to the high points of the design. Detracting marks are acceptable as long as they are not too bad. Some lustre should still be visible. Eye appeal should be very nice.
gEF (good Extremely Fine)
Coin should have visible light wear. Detracting marks from circulation handling will be visible however they will still be of a very minor nature. Some lustre may still be evident. Eye appeal should be nice.
EF (Extremely Fine)
Coin should have easily visible light wear. Be careful not to confuse a weak strike with light wear. GV coins centre pearls should be separate. More detracting marks will be evident but should not be serious. Lustre may still be present and eye appeal nice.
aEF (almost Extremely Fine)
Coin should have easily visible wear and a few more detracting marks than an EF coin, GV coins should have strong centre pearls. The overall condition and eye appeal should still be quite nice. Lustre may
still be present.
gVF (good Very Fine)
Obvious wear, obvious but not serious contact marks. GV coins centre pearls may be merging together. Eye appeal should be very good.
VF (Very Fine)
Coin will show obvious wear and all high points of the design will be gone. Detracting marks in keeping with expectati ons for wear including several minor edge nicks and dents. Major detail should still be good with GV coins having a full outline of the centre diamond. Coin may still have some lustre. Eye appeal should be very good.
Coin will have extensive wear. The major design will be easily recognisable but most of the detail will have worn flat. There will be more detracting mark and nicks / dents.
VG (Very Good)
Up to almost 3/4 of the detail of the coin will be missing. There will be lots of flat spots where the high detail used to be. Overall design of the coin including wording and date should be readable.