News & Views

Australian Collector Sets 1916 - 1953.


The ease with which today’s decimal coin buyers can acquire a year set or proof set downplays the importance of this issue in the development of the collector market as we know it today.

There were only four years in which the Melbourne Mint struck sets on a pseudo-commercial basis between 1916, when the mint was commissioned by Treasury to strike Australia’s Commonwealth silver coinage, and 1953, the year Queen Elizabeth was crowned. The four years are 1916, 1934, 1938 and 1953.

Decimal buyers may find it hard to comprehend but there were no proof sets struck commercially in the in-between years.

The four years have produced sets of genuine historical importance. They have assumed an exalted, elite position in the industry for these sets in effect laid the foundations of the proof coining program that was taken up by the Royal Australian Mint in 1966 and which today’s collector market so enjoys.

1916 Specimen Set, commemorating the inaugural striking of the Commonwealth’s silver coinage at the Melbourne Mint and depicting the portrait of George V.  Only twelve complete sets have been offered over the last forty years.

1934 Proof Set, the only Proof Set struck for King George V. Only ten sets have appeared at Australian public auctions over the last forty years.

1938 Proof Set, the only Proof Set struck for King George VI. A reflection of the numbers struck, the 1938 Proof Set is slightly more readily available with twenty sets being sighted on the open market over the last forty years.

1953 Specimen Set, the original and the only set struck for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The rarest by far of the commercial sets struck at the Melbourne Mint, with only four sets sighted on the open market over the last forty years.


Year Description No. Sets Issued
1916 Four coin Specimen Set  60
1934 Six coin Proof Set  50
1938 Six coin Proof Set  70
1953 Five coin Specimen Set  12

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