News & Views

1955 - 1963 Proof Coins. Melbourne & Perth Mint.

Perth Proof Penny Trio front

The proof coin sets struck between 1955 and 1963 are a popular series highlighted by very limited supply. Given the demand, and the limited availability of top quality pieces, the series has an excellent track record of price growth. We note that in 2010 we were selling 1963 Perth Mint Perth proof pairs for $ 2950. Today they are fetching $ 4950. And once sold they are almost impossible to replace.

The proof coin sets struck between 1955 and 1963 are a perfect entry point into the Australian rare coin market. Limited edition collector coins at affordable prices. It comes at the top of our list of recommendations for clients looking to tuck something special away for their children or grandchildren. It is without doubt one of the most popular collecting series in the Australian coin market.

Quality is paramount, for while all the coins in the series were struck to proof quality, their state of preservation today (how they have toned, if they have attracted spots or been generally mishandled over the last 60 years) is critical to preserving their value and underpinning their future capital growth.

One of the prime reasons for the series popularity is that it is affordable. The majority of sets are available in the $3000 - $5000 price level. This is a dollar level that attracts maximum buyer interest.

As each proof set is a stand-alone rarity, there is no pressure on buyers to complete the series. Nine year sets, each coin struck to luxurious proof quality: nine from the Perth Mint, nine from the Melbourne Mint making a total of 18 sets. And 54 proof coins in total.

You can accumulate the Melbourne Proofs. Or the Perth Proofs. Know someone who is turning 60 next year? What better gift than a pristine example of the 1957 Melbourne Proof Set. The options are endless.

Be assured the series does present challenges if the coins are to be procured in top quality. But a complete collection is achievable and can be obtained over time by buying progressively, year by year, set by set.

Now let’s compare the availability of those sets struck between 1955 and 1963 to today’s decimal coin collector market. 

The Royal Australian Mint in Canberra is today geared to regular production of proof sets with mintages averaging 40,000 to 50,000. Toll free numbers and on-line ordering have made it a very simple and convenient process to acquire a decimal proof set.

This simply was not the case in our pre-decimal days when both the Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint was producing Australia’s coinage for Treasury.

Government approval was required to allow the Perth Mint and the Melbourne Mint to commence striking proof coins to sell to collectors. Authority was given in 1955.

 (Prior to 1955 the production of limited edition pieces for collectors was almost non-existent, both mints directing their resources towards striking circulating coinage for Treasury. But that’s another story ….)

A restriction was placed on the mints regarding those proof coins that could be sold to collectors. They could only issue proofs of those coins that were being minted for circulation.

For the Perth Mint, operating as a copper producing mint, this meant the striking of penny and halfpenny proofs only. For the Melbourne Mint which operated as a prime producer of the nation’s silver coinage, it meant that the majority of their proof sets were silver only, the exception being 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1959. See table below.

The coins were released annually with an official issue price of face value plus a premium of one shilling per coin … mintages averaged around the 1,500 mark.

Each piece was minted to exacting standards – from the selection and polishing of blanks, the preparation of dies and ultimately the actual striking. The result is a coin that is pleasing to the eye, well struck with strong designs and superb smooth background fields.

The series that began in 1955 came to a conclusion in 1963, three years ahead of decimal currency changeover.

The series of proof sets struck at the Perth and Melbourne Mint is an important one in our currency heritage for it represents Australia’s very first annual proof coining program and the pre-cursor to that taken up by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra in 1966.

Year Perth Mint Mintage Melbourne Mint Mintage
1955 1d & 1/2d 301 1d & 3d, 6d & 1/- 1200
1956 1d 417 1d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 1500
1957 1d 1112 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 1256
1958 1d 1028 1d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 1506
1959 1d 1030 1d, 1/2d & 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 1506
1960 1d & 1/2d 1030 3d, 6d, 1/- 7 2/- 1509
1961 1d & 1/2d 1040 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 1506
1962 1d & 1/2d 1064 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 2106
1963 1d & 1/2d 1100 3d, 6d, 1/- & 2/- 5042

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