From the late 1990′s and into the following decade, the Royal Australian Mint offered a subscription series through which coins were offered to collectors and minted to demand based on the orders received. Many of these are particularly interesting or innovative, as is the case for proof silver dollar issued to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Last Australian Penny.
The Australian Penny had been produced for a period of 53 years from 1911 to 1964. The last pennies were produced in 1964 due to the impending switch to decimal coinage in 1966, which would include cents rather than pennies.
The Royal Australian Mint celebrated the 40th anniversary of the last penny with a proof silver dollar which paid homage to all of the past penny designs and included a reproduction of a 1964 Penny. The coins were created by placing a replica of a penny within an outer silver ring.
The inner replica was made using the Mint’s advanced technology with reference to Melbourne minted 1964 penny from the National Coin Collection. The obverse features the Mary Gillick effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the reverse carries the George Kruger Gray kangaroo design. The replica was struck in 99.9% copper and had an antique finish applied along with a protective lacquer finish. According to a note included with the coin, the application of the antique finish creates variations in patination resulting in a unique appearance.
This unique replica was placed within an outer ring of 99.9% silver struck in proof quality. The obverse of the outer ring contains a small sized version of the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II with the legal tender denomination of “1 Dollar”. The reverse includes recreations of various Australian pennies and the range dates of issue for the denomination “1911″ and “1964″.
Together the silver dollar has a wide diameter of 50 mm and weight of 56.45 grams. The total mintage was 16,437 pieces.
I had purchased an example of this coin after reading this article on the NGC website. The article contains a fantastical tale about the discovery of a hoard of 1964 pennies which were encased within a silver ring to create new proof silver dollars. As far as I can tell, this story is not accurate since the certificate of authenticity, booklet, and box for my coin all clearly indicate that the inner portion of the coin is a specially produced replica. Nonetheless, I still find this to be an interesting and enjoyable piece.
Maybe one day when a world mint drops their lowest denomination they will create a similar encased commemorative product containing genuine examples of the last coins.