The 1966 50 Cent Coins Unique History
Much has been written about the 1966 50 cent piece. It remains the only, and likely to be the last, circulating decimal coin to have been issued in Australia with a silver content (80 percent). All other pieces have been either bronze or copper-nickel (many non-circulating, precious metal issues have been subsequently released to collectors at a premium above their legal tender, face value).
The Royal Australian Mint in Canberra struck over 36 million 50 cent pieces before rising silver prices halted production. A quarter of a million pieces, held at the mint when the directive to cease production was announced, never saw the light of day. They were duly melted down. Since that time a gradual recall and melting down of all pieces which make their way back to the mint has occured, at a hansome profit to the Government. among the general public. Today, they are worth around $3 each. During the silver boom of the early 1980's, their intrinsic value reached highs of $11 to $15, much healthier than the prices of today.