The Perth Mint was established in 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint in London, producing sovereigns and half sovereigns from gold dug from the fields of Western Australia.
The prime role of the mint during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s was to strike pennies and halfpennies for Treasury.
Throughout its history, the mint followed the protocols of the Royal Mint London in striking proof coins.
The Perth Mint crafted proofs as a representative example of those coins they were striking for circulation; struck to be preserved in government archives as a record of Australia’s coining history, time-capsuled for future generations.
Proof coins were struck at the discretion of the mint master so there was no hard-fast rule about the regularity of the issues. Or the mintages. Given that proof coining was also a very labour intensive process and time consuming, minimal numbers of proofs were struck. Believed less than twenty. (We compare this figure to today’s proof issues that are minted in the tens of thousands.)
That a trickle of the coins have come out into the collector market simply reflects a mint’s desire to sell off duplicate coins to fund their own agenda for acquisition.
In the striking of this 1953 Proof Penny, the Perth Mint’s intention was to create a single masterpiece, coining perfection.
Perfection in the dies. Wire brushed so that they are razor sharp. Perfection in the design, highly detailed, expertly crafted. Perfection in the fields, achieved by hand selecting unblemished blanks, polished to create a mirror shine. Perfection in the edges to encase the design … exactly what a ‘picture frame does to a canvas’.
This 1953 Proof Penny was meant to be impactful, have the ‘wow’ factor. And it does.