Australian Silver Sixpence
Issued From:1910 - 1963
Dates Not Issued:
1913, 1915, 1929, 1930, 1931,
1932, 1933, 1937, 1947, 1949.
|The sixpence series seems to second only to the florins in
popularity, with the coins being large enough to show good detail but generally are less
expensive to acquire in high grade than the florins. The series commenced in 1910 with a
single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII. and was the the only denomination
with the reverse to remain unchanged during its 53 years.
From 1910 to 1914 all the coins were struck at the Royal Mint in London and do not carry any distinguishing mint marks. In 1915 both the Royal Mint and the Birmingham Mint at Heaton struck sixpence, the Birmingham coins may be distinguished by the mintmark "H" on the reverse just under the date.
From 1916 to 1920 all issues were struck at the Melbourne Mint and carry a small "M" under the date. From 1921 to 1926 they were struck at both the Melbourne and Sydney mints although there is no distinguishing mint marks. After 1927 all sixpence were struck at Melbourne Mint except during WWII.
In 1942 Melbourne Denver and San Francisco Mints all produced sixpence and are distinguished by a small "S" or "D" just above the date. In 1943 only the US mints produced them and in 1944 only the San Francisco Mint produced sixpence.
There are two types of 1951 sixpence, due to a request to the Royal Mint to help out with a shortage, these where the only English coins in sixpence to have a mintmark, being a small "PL" found over the date. As with most of the 1951 coins struck at London that year, these are generally very well struck coins.
In 1954 the mint started to use steel dies which often gave early strikes the appearance of being a proof coin. This situation is not helped by the crudeness of the proof coins and is often exploited by unscrupulous or ignorant dealers especially on eBay.
|The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII the florin, sixpence and threepence arriving 1st October 1910, nearly five months after King Edward VII died.|
1911 - 1936
|King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910 and George V assumed the
British throne. Australian Sixpence bearing George V's effigy were minted in London,
Melbourne and Sydney during the years 1911 to 1936 with the legend:
GEORGIVS V D.G. BRITT : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP
|1921||Melb / Sydney||3,795,000|
|1922||Melb / Sydney||Scarce||1,488,000|
|1923||Melb / Sydney||1,453,000|
|1924||Melb / Sydney||Scarce||1,038,000|
|1925||Melb / Sydney||3,266,000|
|1926||Melb / Sydney||3,609,000|
1938 - 1952
|During World War II, the quality of striking for most coins
deteriorated. There were a number of reasons for this. Less care was taken in the
preparation of the dies, the dies were used in longer production runs before being
replaced, and quality controls were relaxed as more pressing matters of war took
George VI oversaw many changes to our coinage during his reign,the Arms of Australia which had adorned the reverse of all the silver issues since 1910 had been obsolete since 1912 and was being replaced. Sixpence were the only coins to remain unchanged.
In 1946 the silver content on all Australian coins was reduced from 92.5% to 50% to help in paying back the massive war debt and India became an independent nation in 1947, prompting a change to the legend on the obverse from 1950 onwards.
For the years 1938 to 1948, the obverse legend was:
GEORGIVS VI : D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP
|1946||Melbourne||First 50% Silver||10,024,000|
|From 1950 onwards IND IMP was eliminated from the legend,
(necessary because India became an independent nation in 1947) and F.D. was expanded
GEORGIVS VI : D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF
1953 - 1963
|With George VI's death, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth,
became Queen in 1953. The obverse design for subsequent sixpence was by Mary Gillick and
depicted Elizabeth II facing to the right. The reverse design introduced in 1938 continued
in use until the cessation of minting in 1963. For the years 1953 and 1954, the obverse
ELIZABETH . II. DEI. GRATIA. REGINA +
|The deletion of the religious title F:D: ( Defender of the
Faith) caused such controversy that for the years 1955 to 1963, the obverse legend was:
ELIZABETH . II. DEI. GRATIA. REGINA. F: D: +