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Australia’s Transition from Pence to Cents

In our Fall 2021 Hong Kong auction, we have many interesting numismatic offerings, including a 1967 Australia so-called pattern dollar. On Valentine’s Day 1966, Australia officially decimalized and converted to the Australian dollar, transitioning from the traditional 240 pence for one Pound system that had been introduced by the British when the Australian Pound was created in 1910. Australian numismatists were disappointed by the exclusion of a one-dollar coin from Australia’s new decimal coinage, eschewed for a paper bill. To remedy this, John Gartner, founder of the Australian Coin Review, sponsored a design competition for a pattern dollar. The winning dollar was designed by Andor Meszaros and submitted to the government for review. Rebuffed by the government, Gartner decided to take matters into his own hands and commission the minting of a private pattern dollar.

The striking was untaken by the John Pinches Medalists Company in London. Founded circa 1841 by Thomas Ryan Pinches and his younger brother John Pinches, the company struck many commemorative medals for the British Empire and the later Commonwealth of Nations. In 1967, the private pattern dollars were struck: 1,500 Uncirculated with a milled edge, 750 Proof with a plain edge, and 10 pieces in gold also with a plain edge. The Uncirculated coins sold at an original price of $10 and the Proofs at $13.50. The John Pinches Medalists company was subsequently bought by the Franklin Mint in 1969, making this pattern dollar one of the last issues of the company before it was acquired. The example featured in our Hong Kong auction is estimated at $800-$1,200, significantly more than the original $10 price in 1967.

This coin tells the story of Australia’s transition from one currency to another, and remains a popular issue of Australian numismatics, highly sought after by collectors of both coins and medals. The 1967 Australia pattern dollar, along with the nearly 6,000 other lots of coins, tokens, and medals included in Fall Hong Kong auction are available for viewing and bidding at StacksBowers.com.  

We are always seeking coins, medals and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions for our Official Auction of the January 2022 NYINC and our Hong Kong auction next spring. Additionally, we are accepting submissions for our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions, the next of which will be in December. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material. Call 800-458-4646 or email Consign@StacksBowers.com.

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