Proof 1947 Penny Perth Mint

Proof 1947 Penny Perth Mint
Proof 1947 Penny Perth Mint
A superb FDC, violet red proof.
Private Collection Queensland
Bidders acknowledged the exceptional state of this coin when it came up for auction in 1996. Brilliantly preserved and described as a violet red proof, the coin sold for $6600 on an estimate of $3000. A quick glance at the photographs confirms its extraordinary condition. This is Perth Mint proof coining at its best, of the year 1947 and any year for that matter. Testimony to its rarity, we have only ever handled three Proof 1947 Pennies, this coin the finest by far.
Sold July 2019.
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The rarity of the Proof 1947 Penny was confirmed in 1995 in an article published by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives.

He found evidence that nineteen proof pennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1947.

Now let's put that figure nineteen into perspective for, unlike today's decimal market, these proofs were NOT struck for collectors.

The majority of the mintage was sent to public institutions such as the Royal Mint London, the British Museum, the Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA and the Australian War Memorial.

That the bulk of the mintage was gifted to institutions is the very reason why they are so rare in today's collector market. 

We might sight a Proof 1947 Penny on the market every two to three years.

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 Perth 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 Perth 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 was denied access to the coins.

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