Australian Proclamation Coins

October 1, 2008

A Silver Indian Rupee from 1747

In 1800, the Governor of the Colony of New South Wales issued a proclamation fixing the values of certain circulating coinage. This was known as the 'Proclamation' and it was done in an effort to retain coinage in the fledgling colony and stop it being removed by traders. When you think about the young colony of New South Wales in 1800, it would have produced very little in the way of manufactured goods, so the vast majority of these would have been brought into the colony by ship borne traders, who upon selling their goods for hard currency would have left taking the currency with them. This of course led to constant shortages in circulating coinage.

To try to combat this Governor King proclaimed that certain circulating coinage would have a value above the actual intrinsic or circulating value of the coin itself. So for example, the 1787 Great Britain Shilling was proclaimed to have a value of 1 shilling and 1 pence. Of course, with a higher accepted value the coinage was much more likely to stay within the colony than to be removed by traders, and in addition extra currency was likely to be spent in the colony by traders because of it's extra buying power.

The coins mentioned in the proclamation (and their nominated value) are listed below:

Values shown are in pounds, shillings, and pence. So for example, the Netherlands Gold Ducat was proclaimed to be worth 9 shillings and sixpence.

In coming entries I'll take a look at some of the proclamation coins and also some of the other coinage that would have circulated within the colonies of Australia in the early 19th century (so called 'colonial' coinage).

Posted by mnemtsas at October 1, 2008 8:29 AM
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