Proof 1949 Halfpenny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint

Proof 1949 Halfpenny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
Proof 1949 Halfpenny struck as a Coin of Record at the Perth Mint
Sold 24/11/2022
FDC with stunning opaline colours on both obverse and reverse and flashes of original copper brilliance on the reverse
Private Collection Tasmania
Spectacular quality. And extremely rare. This Proof 1949 Halfpenny was struck at the Perth Mint in a minuscule mintage of sixteen. As was the custom at the time, the mint gifted the majority of the mintage to museums and overseas mints, retaining only a few for themselves. The very reason for its scarcity for today's collectors. Our own experiences attest to its scarcity. We are keen observers of auctions and we note that a Proof 1949 Halfpenny last came up at a major public auction more than twenty years ago, in November 2001. We also comment that we have sold only one other Proof 1949 Halfpenny during our lifetime of trading. Technical shots are provided and re-affirm this coin's glorious state.
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A magnificent interpretation of the flying kangaroo set against a backdrop of brilliant coloured fields. A spectacular proof strike with pristine denticles and highly polished edges. 

The rarity of the Proof 1949 Halfpenny was confirmed in 1995 in an article published in the NAA journal (Volume 8) by John Sharples, the then Curator of Australia’s Numismatic Archives.

He examined the distribution of proof coins recorded in Perth Mint communications and records over the period 1940 – 1954.

He found evidence that sixteen proof halfpennies were struck at the Perth Mint in 1949.

He noted that two private collectors (most likely Syd Hagley and Ray Jewell) received examples of the pre-1955 proof coins, such was the influence of these collectors.

The balance of the mintage, however, was destined for the mint's own archives with the majority sent to Public Collections and Numismatic Societies.

History of the Perth Mint ... 1899 to today

To facilitate the rapid conversion of gold into sovereigns and half sovereigns, the British Government authorised the establishment of the Sydney Mint in 1855 followed by the Melbourne Mint in 1872.

A gold rush, triggered in Western Australia following the discovery of vast gold fields in Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893, convinced the British Government to authorise the opening of a mint in Perth.

The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and 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. Referred to as Coins of Record.

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.

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.


The portrait of George VI designed by Thomas Humphrey Paget. Again we comment on the pristine nature of the denticles and the stunning state of the fields.

The official list authorised to receive Perth proofs were the Australian War Memorial, Royal Mint London, British Museum, Royal Mint Melbourne, Japan Mint, National Gallery SA, Art Gallery WA, National Gallery Victoria, Victorian Numismatic Society, South Australian Numismatic Society and the Australian Numismatic Society.

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 1949 Halfpenny on the market every five to six years. And one as spectacular as this ... perhaps once in a decade, if we are lucky.

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PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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