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21 April 2005
9/2005
Miniature Sheet

150th Anniversary of the First Australian Coin - Miniature Sheet

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 - Miniature Sheet  

First Australian Coin - Miniature Sheet

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The Sydney Mint building is shown in the background of the foil-stamped and embossed miniature sheet. Located in the centre of Sydney, it is the oldest classically detailed building in Australia.

Known at the Rum Hospital, it was built by private contractors between 1811 and 1816 in exchange for an exclusive licence to import rum. It was used as the Sydney Mint until 1926.

Technical Information

Issue Date: 2005-04-21
FDI Withdrawal Date: 2005-05-20
Denominations: 1 x $2.95
Designer: Andrew Hogg, Melbourne
Printer: SNP Sprint
Paper: Tullis Russell
Printing Process: Lithography
Size: 106mm x 70mm
Special Feature: Embossed miniature sheet
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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