Sixpence (Australian)

The Australian sixpence was a coin used in the Commonwealth of Australia prior to the decimalisation of the Australian currency in 1966. The pre-decimal sixpence was minted from 1910 until 1963, excluding the years 1913, 1915, 1929–33 inclusive, 1937, 1947 and 1949.

The sixpence was the only pre-decimal Australian coin which never had the design on its reverse altered. That is especially surprising given that the coat of arms depicted was obsolete for almost all of that time, having been superseded by the current one in 1912.

During World War II, between 1942 and 1944, sixpence production was supplemented by coinage produced by two branches of the United States Mint. Coins struck at the San Francisco mint (1942–1944) carry a small S below the coat of arms, while those from the Denver mint (1942–1943) have a small D in the same place.

From 1910 to 1945 Australian sixpences were of sterling silver (0.925 fine) with 7.5% copper; from 1946 to 1963 they were reduced to 0.500 fine silver which is made from 50% silver, 40% copper, 5% nickel and 5% zinc.

After decimalisation on 14 February 1966, the sixpence continued to circulate at the value of 5c, along with new 5c coins of the same size and weight.

The Australian slang name for sixpence is a 'zac'

Types

ImageYearsTechnical parametersDescription / Legend / Designer
ObverseReverseFromToDiameterThicknessMassCompositionEdgeObverseReverse
1910191019 mm2.82 g92.5% silver, 7.5% copperReededEdward VII
EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
by George William de Saulles
1908 coat of arms of Australia (with ADVANCE AUSTRALIA on ribbon)
SIXPENCE
by W.H.J. Blakemore
19111936George V
GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
by Bertram Mackennal
19381945George VI
GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX: F:D:IND:IMP.
by Thomas Hugh Paget
194619482.82 g50.00% silver, 40.00% copper, 5.00% nickel, 5.00% zinc
19501952George VI
GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX FIDEI DEF.
by Thomas Hugh Paget
19531954Elizabeth II
+ ELIZABETH.II.DEI.GRATIA.REGINA
by Mary Gillick
19551963Elizabeth II
+ ELIZABETH.II.DEI.GRATIA.REGINA.F:D:
by Mary Gillick
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Mintmarks

  • D : Denver
  • M : Melbourne
  • PL : London
  • S : San Francisco

References

  • Bruce, Colin R.; Thomas Michael (2005). 2006 Standard Catalog of World Coins (1901–present). KP Books. p. 68. ISBN 0-87349-987-5.
  • Sixpence article on Cruzis Coins
Preceded by
Sixpence (British)
Sixpence
1910–1966
Succeeded by
Five cent coin (Australian)


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