Pre-Decimal Coins 1938-1964

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Coin collecting novices tend to belive that only "really rare" coins like the 1930 penny have any chance of increasing in value over the years. However, a quick comparison with prices from any old coin catalogue will show that many top quality coins from the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II series have appreciated just as much as Australia's best known rare coin.

Australia's Commonwealth Copper and Silver coins after 1938 remain an extremely affordable and enjoyable series to collect. Although many millions of coins were produced from the start of World War II until the introduction of decimal currency in 1966, our research shows that very few of these coins remain in Uncirculated or better condition.

In addition to the usual attrition from decades of general use, tonnes of these coins were melted for their scrap value during the heady days of high silver prices in the early 1980's. Furthermore, the hoards that remain in cupboards across the nation tend only to contain coins that are heavily worn, and generally poorly stored. For a coin to survive between 40 and 70 years not only without being spent but without any marks, and also with its original luster, is rare indeed.

The table below clearly illustrates just how well the very affordable coins of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II have performed compared with the 1930 penny, while modern issues like the 1974 proof set has not. Top quality King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II coins have appreciated nicely indeed, and commonsense dictates that superior examples can only get rarer as the years go by, while demand will gradually increase as the population grows.

Coin                                        1974          2006          Increase

1930 Penny (Fine)                  $400         $34,000       85 times

1956 Florin (UNC)                   $5             $165            33 times

1943M Shilling (UNC)              $5             $225            45 times

1953 Sixpence (UNC)              $5             $360            72 times

1939 Threepence (UNC)          $3             $110            37 times

1959 Penny (UNC)                  $3             $135            45 times

1940 Halfpenny (UNC)             $3             $225            75 times

1974 Proof Set                       $11           $175            16 times

Collectors making their first venture into this area will do well to concentrate solely on coins in Uncirculated or better quality. Not only are these coins attractive and enjoyable to collect, but they should appreciate just as much as any rare coin.

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