The Australian 5 Cent Coin

May 13, 2009

Australia's Echidna 5 Cent Coin

The Australian 5 cent coin features an Echidna on the reverse designed by Stuart Devlin. The obverse features Queen Elizabeth II bearing the differing portrait designs depending on which year it was struck. In 1966 when it was first issued it was struck at 2 different mint's. It was struck at the Canberra Mint and also the London Mint. The denoting feature of the London minted coin is the long spine and a short spine on the Canberra minted coin. Some 1981 5 cents were struck in Ottawa Canada. Australia hasn't minted any commemorative 5c pieces, they all feature the echidna.

The 5c is comprised of 75% copper and 25% nickel weighing 2.83grams. This small cupro-nickel coin is 19.41millimetres in diameter and has its entire edge reeded.

If you're checking your change for obscure years look out for a 1972 issue. Whilst most other uncirculated examples fetch from between $2 and $8 this particular year with a mintage of 8 256 000 has a cv of $35. This is the lowest mintage year for the 5 cent piece by a long shot.

If you happen across a 1985 or 1986 5 cent in your change it has certainly been "spent" out of a mint set and will fetch a premium.

Circulation die varieties have been found showing the designers initials SD being small and large(r) font. Also a small and large head obverse with the IRB designers initials joined or spaced apart slightly.

Sterling silver examples of the 5c echidna exist in the 1991 masterpieces in silver set and the fine silver year sets. There are also some gold versions in the gold year sets. These coins are the same size but because of their differing composition they are different weights.

Posted by harrisk at May 13, 2009 7:10 PM
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