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1921 Kookaburra Square Halfpenny, one of the Commonwealth's great coin rarities


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1921 Kookaburra Square Halfpenny, one of the Commonwealth's great coin rarities
COIN
1921 Kookaburra Square Halfpenny, one of the Commonwealth's great coin rarities
PRICE
$125,000
STATUS
Available now.
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated with lustrous fields under soft antique toning
PROVENANCE
Jaggards, Roxburys Auction 2015
COMMENTS
This is an outstanding coin rarity. In superb quality. The Kookaburra Square Halfpenny is one of the great Commonwealth coin rarities and has been so acknowledged since Australian Auction records began in the 1950s. And this example, dated 1921, is offered in the optimum quality of Choice Uncirculated. Every series has its highlights, the show-stoppers, the scene stealers. And in the case of the Kookaburra Square Coin series, the Halfpenny commands attention. The reason is simply due to its inordinate scarcity. Whereas approximately two hundred Kookaburra Pennies are available to collectors, of varying dates, designs and prices. A minuscule twelve Kookaburra Halfpennies are available to the same buying audience. It’s these numbers that have made the Square Halfpenny one of Australia’s most elusive and sought-after coin rarities. In demand from collectors of the kookaburra coin series. And in demand from buyers with a pure investment focus. The technical shots re-affirm our glowing assessment of the coin.
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The Kookaburra Halfpenny, one of twelve examples known to collectors and this coin brilliantly struck, with lustrous satin fields and very soft antique toning.

When the Kookaburra Square Penny and Halfpenny were created, Australians were recovering from the war and determined to lessen the ties with Great Britain. The mood even filtered through to our coinage!

The Government planned to introduce a square penny and halfpenny with our native bird on the reverse. And the monarch minus his crown on the obverse!

Provocative and contentious but uniquely Australian.

Australia entered a modern age post World War I. For many Australians, it was a time for breaking out socially, of questioning and changing old values and behaviour and enjoying the good life. It was a time of great change. People forgot the old and embraced the new in an attempt to leave the hardship and struggles of the war behind them.

New technology was being created, like toasters and cars, things that today we take for granted. The fashion world was exploding, great changes were embraced in styles of dress. Australians were identifying with their own culture, keen to lessen the emotional and cultural ties with Great Britain.

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The 1921 Square Halfpenny obverse featuring an uncrowned King George V. The legend and portrait both highly detailed.

Creating a new, totally Australian coinage was a part of the deal which is why the Government floated the idea of the Kookaburra Penny envisaging a coin that would be unique to Australia.

The Government's plan was to discard the British-styled penny and halfpenny and to create a coin with a typically Australian design featuring the nation's native bird, the kookaburra.

To maximise impact, a new shape was planned with the move from circular to square. And bronze was to be discarded and a new metal taken up, that of cupro-nickel.

Tests began at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and continued for three years, ending in 1921.

Today there are about two hundred kookaburra pennies held by private collectors. And about twelve kookaburra halfpennies.

 


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