The proposed change to the nation’s currency was pure politics. With some saying it was the rumblings of a republican movement way ahead of its time.
The Labor Government wanted to break away from the traditional British designs of Australia’s then copper penny and halfpenny.
A wave of nationalism was sweeping the country post World War I and the Government saw advantage in tapping into the mood of the nation and introducing a uniquely Australian style into our currency by depicting a laughing kookaburra on our coinage.
Tests commenced at the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and continued until 1921 with the test pieces ultimately passed to dignitaries and Government officials to assess their reaction.
History indicates that over the three year period 200 pieces, of various designs, were produced.
Public reaction to the introduction of the square coinage was poor. There was widespread public resistance to change, while the elderly rejected the small size of the coins.
However, the final decision not to proceed seems to have been based mainly on another consideration – the large number of vending machines then in operation requiring a circular coin.
Perhaps the most contentious issue of the proposed currency change was the depiction of the monarch minus his crown: the Royalists demanding that George V should always be depicted on the currency of the realm wearing his crown.
The Royalists were appeased with the testing of one, and only one, Kookaburra Square Penny depicting a crowned George V.
Fondly referred to as the Crowned Head Square Penny and technically known as the Type 10 Square Penny it was tested in 1920 and is considered the elite coin out of the entire square penny series.
In our entire career of trading we have only ever sold three Type 10 Square Pennies.
This coin is one of the three.