Australia 1942I Half Penny 1/2d Long Reverse Denticles Variety

June 11, 2009

Australia 1942I Half Penny - Long Reverse Denticle on Left, Normal Reverse on Right

In 1942 the Royal Mint branch in Bombay India was contracted to mint Australian half pennies. Half pennies were also minted in Melbourne and Perth in that year. With the onset of World War II in 1939 and the war in the Pacific getting into full swing in 1942 there was a huge influx of American servicemen into Australia and a resultant demand for coinage. 1942 saw some Australian silver coins being minted in the USA for the first time and Australian pennies and half pennies being minted in India for the first time in over 30 years. This was simply because the Australian mints were unable to keep up with demand.

In 1942 the Royal Mint in Bombay India minted 6,000,000 Australian half pennies. They were minted with an obverse depicting King George V, 147 rim denticles, and an I mintmark below the portrait. The reverse shows the usual kangaroo but the die itself is subtly different to those used in the Melbourne and Perth mints in Australia. Differences include a kangaroo with different features and a dot before and after "HALF PENNY". For the majority of the mintage, the rim of the reverse was decorated with alternating thick and thin denticles, with 106 of each present. For some reason, reverse dies prepared for the 1943 mintage of half pennies were punched with the 1942 and used to mint a very small proportion of the 1942 mintage. These 1943 reverse dies again had alternating thick and thin denticles, but this time there was 104 of each and the denticles were a different size and shape. This 1942I half penny produced with the 1943 reverse dies is known as the long reverse denticle variety, is considered scarce, and classified by the Renniks Pre-Decimal Variety book as variety A36A.

Australia 1942I Half Penny Detail - Long Reverse Denticle on Left, Normal Reverse on Right

The two varieties are easy to distinguish with one sitting next to the other, but without a coin of each type for comparison they can be a little tricky to tell apart. On the long reverse denticles variety the thick denticles are considerably longer and thinner than those on the common 106 denticle variety described earlier. In fact, the shorter thicker denticles on the common variety almost take on the appearance of rim beads. You can see the difference clearly in the detailed image above. The long reverse denticle variety is on the left, the common variety on the right.

Australia 1942I Half Penny Detail - Long Reverse Denticle on Left, Normal Reverse on Right

Another differentiator between the regular reverse 1942I half penny and the long reverse denticle variety is the alignment of the second 'A' in Australia. Seen above the 'A' on the scarcer variety is clearly lower than that on the reverse of the regular coin. This mis-alignment is also found on the reverse of all 1943I half pennies.

Posted by mnemtsas at June 11, 2009 4:45 PM
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