The Royal Australian Mint has issued 2016 circulating commemorative
coins to celebrate the 50th anniversary of decimalization.
These coins feature the normal reverses they have carried since
decimalization began, but have modified obverses featuring a
miniaturized version of the current portrait of the queen, a
miniaturized image of the reverse design from a pre-decimal
denomination, and an anniversary inscription.
In addition, the 5-cent coin in the program is Australia’s first
circulating commemorative 5-cent coin.
The four fractional denominations of copper-nickel coins are
released, with $1 and $2 coins due for release Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, respectively.
The four fractional coins carry the standard reverses that were
introduced for decimalization in 1966: echidna (5-cent coin), lyre
bird (10-cent piece), platypus (20-cent coin), and coat-of-arms
(50-cent coin). The $1 and $2 coins feature the standard designs that
have appeared since those denominations debuted, the Mob of ‘Roos
design on the $1 coin since 1984 and the Australian Outback aborigine
design on the $2 coin since 1988.
The obverse of each coin continues to carry the Ian Rank-Broadley
effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, though in a much smaller rendition than
on standard coins and positioned above a miniature version of the
pre-decimalization reverse design. An inscription encircling the
central design elements includes a reference to the coinage anniversary.
The miniaturized reverse used on the obverse of the 2016 5-cent coin
depicts a kangaroo, bounding to the viewer’s left, as seen on the cent
coins from 1933 to 1964 (not to be confused with the kangaroo on the
half cent, which faced the other direction). The 2016 10-cent coin
features on its obverse the design of wheat stalks from the reverse of
the threepence coin issued from 1938 to 1964. The miniaturized reverse
shown on the obverse of the 20-cent coin replicates the coat of arms
that graced the reverse of threepence, sixpence, shilling and florin
coins from various times between 1910 and 1964, depending on
denomination. The obverse of the 2016 50-cent coin highlights the
merino sheep that graced the reverse of the shilling from 1938 to 1963.
Designs for the $1 and $2 coins were disclosed with the sale of the
2016 Proof set from Australia. The obverse of the circulating $1 coin
will include a miniaturized version of the crowned coat of arms from
the reverse of the florin of 1938 to 1963, and the $2 coin bears the
crown design that appeared on the reverse of the 1937 and 1938 crown.
The Royal Australian Mint offered 5,000 rolls of each of the four
fractional denominations; the 5- and 10-cent coin rolls each contain
40 coins, and the 20- and 50-cent coin rolls contain 20 coins each.
United States dealer Joel Anderson has acquired examples of the
first four coins and is selling them for $13 per set including
shipping to a U.S. address. To order, visit his website.