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21 April 2005
9/2005
Commemorative Issue

150th Anniversary of the First Australian Coin

Australia
This stamp issue marks the 150th anniversary of the first official coin produced in Australia. The Sydney Mint, established in 1855, was the first branch of the London Royal Mint outside Britain and the first branch in the Australian colonies. It was Australia's first official coinage mint and the earliest Australian gold coins were struck at Sydney on 23 June 1855. The "Sydney Mint Patterns" are very important in Australia's numismatic history.

The reverse design on the coins was very different to previous Imperial sovereign designs. It was uniquely Australian, with the words "Australia" and "Sydney Mint" prominent. The designer of the Sydney Mint Pattern was James Wyon, a member of the famous Wyon dynasty of engravers. Originally these coins were regarded as legal tender in New South Wales. In 1857 the British Treasury amended the ordinance to include "all the colonies of Australasia".

In February 1866, the sovereigns and half-sovereigns from the Sydney Mint were declared legal tender throughout the United Kingdom. From 1871 the standard British sovereigns were adopted instead, except for the mintmarks - 'S','M' and 'P' denoting from which mint they were produced. After Federation in 1901, authority over "currency, coinage and legal tender" passed to the new Commonwealth Government. The Sydney Branch of the Royal Mint closed in 1926.

First Australian Coin: Reverse site  

First Australian Coin: Reverse site

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The stamp features a reverse image of the first coin. Below a crown is a wreath of olive branches surrounding the world "AUSTRALIA" around which is the legend: "SYDNEY MINT ONE SOVEREIGN".

First Australian Coin: Observe site  

First Australian Coin: Observe site

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The stamp features an observe image of the first coin showing the head of Queen Victoria facing left. Around the head is the Latin legend:

"VICTORIA D:G:BRITANNIAR:REGINA F:D:1855
This translates to: "Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of the Britons, Defender of the Faith, 1855".

Technical Information

Issue Date: 2005-04-21
FDI Withdrawal Date: 2005-05-20
Denominations: 1 x 50c, 1 x $2.45
Designer: Andrew Hogg, Melbourne
Printer: SNP Sprint
Paper: Tullis Russell
Printing Process: Lithography
Size: 37.5mm x 26mm
Performations: 13.86 x 14.6
Sheet Layout: Modules of 50
National Postmark: GPO Sudney, NSW 2000
copyright notice: This material has been reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation. The original work is held in the National Philatelic Collection.
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