1947 Proof Penny reverse featuring the flying kangaroo
1947 Proof Penny obverse depicting King George VI
The flying kangaroo is our national symbol and it has never looked so good as it does on this 1947 Proof Penny struck at the Perth Mint.
Well preserved proof coins of the Perth Mint are unrivalled for quality. The coins not only display superb levels of detail in their design, but qualities and colours that are simply unmatched by those of the Melbourne Mint. Each coin is a work of art, as individual, and as beautiful, as an opal.
And the proofs of the Perth Mint are extremely rare. Less than twenty pennies were struck each year at the Perth Mint during the 1940s, the majority of which were retained in the Mint’s archives and/or sent to public institutions.
The Perth Mint was not operating between 1931 and 1940. The pride in being asked by Government to resume striking Australia’s circulating copper coinage is reflected in the heady levels achieved in the striking of their proof coinage.
It was simply the Perth Mint’s way of saying that they were back in business.
History of the Perth Mint.
To facilitate the rapid conversion of gold into currency (sovereigns and half sovereigns), the British Government authorised the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855, the Melbourne Mint in 1872 and the Perth Mint in 1899.
The Perth Mint remained a gold producing mint from the year of its opening until 1931 when Australia struck its last sovereign and the coining presses at the Mint ground to a halt. The Mint endured a nine-year period of nil coin production.
That the Melbourne Mint was striking Australia’s Commonwealth coins and that Australia was in the midst of a depression simply meant that the minting facilities at Perth were excess to requirements.
The onset of war created a window of opportunity and in 1940 the Perth Mint took up the reins for striking Australia’s circulating copper coins for the Commonwealth Government. The Mint continued to strike copper coins until 1964, when two years later Australia converted to decimal currency.
In accordance with minting traditions the Perth Mint struck proof record pieces of those coins being struck for circulation. Some of the pieces were archived. Some were gifted to prominent Australian and overseas institutions fulfilling the ideology of proofs being struck as display pieces.
The Royal Mint London, the British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial were just some of the institutions to receive Perth proofs.
There was no hint of commercialism in the production of these pieces. Posterity, the preservation of Australia’s coining heritage … that and a passion for numismatics were the driving forces behind their striking. The collector market per se, was denied access to them.
That the bulk of the mintage was gifted to institutions is the very reason why they are so rare in today's collector market.