June 2014 Archives

Victoria Cross $10 Coin Ballot Success

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Those of you who entered the Royal Australian Mint ballot for the For Valour Victoria Cross Ten Dollar coin should now know if you were successful and hold the new release in your hand. If you weren't successful then you should have received confirmation and be on the waiting list for available coins if they aren't purchased by their selected ballot winner.

How long to hold onto such a coin is the biggest question given it's popularity. I'll go so far as to say this ballot is the most successful the RAM has run in recent times with interest from coin collectors, military enthusiasts far and wide and those who want to share in the Anzac centenary experience. From a small entry sample size of 3 in my own extended family we were successful in purchasing just one coin which agrees with the Mints statistics that they received 13,000 ballot entries for a coin with a 5,000 mintage.

For an outlay of $112 I was able to purchase one of these coins, and there was never a question that I would turn down the offer if given. I eagerly opened the box hoping with fingers crossed that I had received certificate number 100 (there are 100 VC recipients, their names on the coin). It wasn't to be, the coin, a stunning antiqued bronze beauty eagerly awaiting being held, loose in the box. Without a capsule the coin is asking to be held which is the idea behind it's manufacture. It's antiqued bronze finish and large medallion-like size intended to be a tactile experience for collectors, light handling not likely to affect the finish -just like you'd hold a Victoria Cross medal itself.

Should I hold onto this new coin is the next BIG question. A ten dollar coin doesn't, at all, fit into what I collect and they have proved poor investment purchases in the past. Many $10 silver decimal issues are generally traded well below their issue price at their silver content and don't hold a numismatic value. It's the theme here that has added to the success of this coin. Currently sales on auction site eBay see this coin selling for upwards of $600 with other website dealers allowing me to add 10 of these to my shopping cart at $699.99 (presumably that's an error and they don't have that kind of stock). You'd think though that once the excitement and hype has settled down so too will the price but time will only tell. This has been a good investment so far.

2014 Victoria Cross Ballot Coin (image courtesy www.ramint.gov.au)

It's been five years since we wrote our original 50 cent value article and 2 years since we wrote the 2012 update. We thought it was time to take a look at the latest catalogue values of our Aussie 50c coins and see how the values have changed since we first looked at them.

We've taken the values of these coins from the 2014 edition of the Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes written by Greg McDonald. The values are for pristine uncirculated examples of the coins. They are also what you can expect to pay for the coins from a coin dealer rather than what you can expect to sell them for. Expect half catalogue value (at most) if you're trying to sell these coins to a coin dealer (they have to make a profit) and don't be surprised if you just get offered face value (or fifty cents). If you've got some collectable 50 cent coins you want to sell then you might actually be better off doing it yourself via an online auction site like eBay.

  • 1970 Captain Cook Bicentenary, mintage: 16,548,100, $7.00
  • 1977 Silver Jubilee, mintage: 25,067,000, $4.00
  • 1981 Royal Wedding, mintage: 20,000,000, $6.00
  • 1982 Commonwealth Games, mintage: 23,287,000, $4.00
  • 1988 First Fleet Bicentenary, mintage: 8,990,800, $10.00
  • 1991 Decimal Anniversary, mintage: 4,704,400, $10.00
  • 1994 Year of the Family (narrow date), mintage: 20,830,800, $18.00
  • 1994 Year of the Family (wide date), mintage: 20,830,800, $12.00
  • 1995 Weary Dunlop, mintage: 15,869,200, $7.00
  • 1998 Bass and Flinders, mintage: 22,426,000, $7.00
  • 2000 Year 2000 Millennium, mintage: 16,630,000, $7.00

When we compare those values to the original article we wrote in 2009 and the last one we wrote in 2012 there's only two values (yes, two) that have changed. The 1988 First Fleet 50c has dropped in value by $5. And the 1994 Narrow Date Year of the Family 50 cent has increased in value by $6. So we've got a total increase in value in 5 years of $1 for that entire list of 50 cent coins. A thrilling return on investment that is not!

In the last update of this article we expanded it to include some more recent coins than the original article covered. Here's those coins again along with their current CV's. Note, again, that these values are for uncirculated coins only rather than the ones you might find in your change. I've also adjusted some of the mintages of the Centenary of Federation coins based on our own research into mintage figures. You should take a look at our Federation coins page for more information on each coin.

  • 2001 Centenary of Federation, mintage: 43,149,600, $4.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation NSW, mintage: 3,042,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation ACT, mintage: 2,000,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation QLD, mintage: 2,320,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation VIC, mintage: 2,000,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation Norfolk Island, mintage: 2,000,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation NT, mintage: 2,000,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation WA, mintage: 2,000,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation SA, mintage: 2,400,000, $6.00
  • 2001 Centenary of Federation TAS, mintage: 2,106,006, $6.00
  • 2002 Year of the Outback, mintage: 11,507,000, $6.00
  • 2003 Australia's Volunteers, mintage: 13,927,000, $4.00
  • 2004 Student Design, mintage: 10,200,000, $3.00
  • 2005 60th Anniversary of WW2, mintage: 20,719,000, $3.00

There's a been a bit of movement in the coins in this list since we looked at them in 2012. The 2001 Centenary of Federation (Australia) coin has dropped in value by $1, and the ACT, Norfolk Island, and South Australian Federation coins have all increased in value by $2. Slightly better returns there and given that the Centenary of Federation 50 cent coins can be found in change still you could do worse than noodle through bags of coins from your bank to try to put together full sets. They'll certainly be worth more than face value.

At the suggestion of one reader we've decided to include a couple of standard design coat of arms 50 cent coins in this article. These are the 1985 and 1993 coins, both released into circulation with a mintage of a million or a bit less, which is a low mintage for any circulation decimal coin.

  • 1985 Coat of Arms 50 cent, mintage: 1,000,000, $13.00
  • 1993 Coat of Arms 50 cent, mintage: 982,800, $22.00

In 2009 the 1985 50 cent was valued at $13 and 2012 the same. Similarly the 1993 coat of arms 50 cent has been valued at $22.00 since 2009. So not a lot of investment return there either. However, given that the values are quite high there might be some potential for resale if you happen to find one of these coins in better condition (say EF or better) from circulation.

There's one last 50 cent coin that we look at each time we write these articles. The 1966 round 50 cent, which is 80% silver and contains about 1/3 of an ounce of the precious metal. In our last update in 2012 silver was at AU$27.50 an ounce and each round 50 was worth approximately $9.20 in silver. Right now silver is at AU$22.20 an ounce and each 50 cent round is worth AU$7.40. So, if you bought up big on round 50c back in mid 2012 you're down about 20% on your investment. But if it cheers you up any back in 2011 when silver prices peaked at about AU$45 per ounce each round 50 was worth $15 and you would have lost more than 50% of your investment if you still held them today. Ouch.

1930 Penny Real or Fake?

Even if you're not a coin collector the Australian 1930 penny is the one you'll know about. It's the most famous Australian pre-decimal coin and as such is the most talked about, the most sought and the most faked coin. Find a 1930 penny and your heart will skip a beat, but the likelihood that it's real is very small. Given the value of a real 1930 penny is upwards of $15,000 in any condition it's one that you're going to want to authenticate if you find a 1930 penny in Grandpas top drawer.

If you've found a 1930 penny and are wondering it's value, first you'll have to determine if it is real. Your newly found 1930 penny may be one of 2 things (well, 3 if it's real!), it will commonly be a forgery or an altered date penny.

Forgeries, counterfeits, fake and copy coins are in their plenty in Australian penny collections as they are easily obtained. Even the British penny is used in its place in many collections so there isn't a glaring vacant space. A copied coin should be marked 'copy' but is usually not. Fake 1930 pennies usually stand out amongst the rest as they are often poor quality forgeries with details that just look plain wrong to the eye when studied next to a real Aussie penny. Fake 1930 pennies often have bright lustre that is a tell-tale sign that it's a recent copy.

A Real Penny, Sadly Not a Real 1930 Penny

In the past, those with the intent to deceive have taken an Australian penny from another year and changed the date to make it appear as a 1930 coin. Whilst this isn't an offense, it becomes so when this coin is attempted to be passed off as a real 1930 penny. This type of coin is called an 'altered date' penny. Now this altered date type is the only 1930 penny I'll ever be able to afford and it comes with a letter from the Royal Australian Mint advising as such. A collector in the past sought advice from the experts, which the Mint used to do for a fee, and appraised the coin to determine if it were genuine. The letter of advice is seen below.

Q&A - Finding Decimal Coin Rolls

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Hello, I was reading you September 24th 2009 article on Australian Decimal Mint Rolls. I was wondering if you could give me advice on how to obtain mint rolls through security companies or banks [if it's still possible today]. Specifically advice on how to approach them, what problems i might encounter and costs on top of the coin face value.


There's no easy way. Banks will usually give you bags or rolls if you ask but they are most often not new shiny coins but recycled through their system. If they have new coins it's usually pot luck, right place right time, it's something you can't really judge unless you befriend your local bank and know their coin ins and outs. It helps to have an account with that bank or you may be charged fees. It also depends on the location of the branch whether they get coin delivered from a security company or deposits from retailers support their coin demand.
The only way to get coins from security companies is to know who they deliver to and smile and ask nicely as you go through the supermarket checkout as you ask for more of the shiny coins they're giving out. Again, it's pot luck whether those rolls or bags are recycled coin or new coin from the Mint. The Royal Australian Mint send their new coins to the security companies, so that's where those new coins first go. You could become a client of the security company just like Woolworths and Coles (etc) but I imagine there are significant fees associated with that.