Aside from the extreme rarity of this Square Penny, we particularly like the Type 3 because it has a unique kookaburra design.
No other Square Penny bears the kookaburra design of the Type 3.
Rare, unique design and absolutely superb for quality. Take this coin under the light and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was struck to proof quality.
And there is a fourth consideration with the Square Penny coins. They are popular.
The Kookaburra Square Penny captures a great moment in time in Australia's history and is viewed as a ‘classic' Australian coin rarity.
Classic Australian coin rarity. That's a title that is used sparingly, but glowingly, and is reserved for pieces such as our first silver coins, the Holey Dollar and Dump. Our first gold coins, the Adelaide Pounds.
And our first cupro-nickel square coins, the Kookaburras.
Even the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, has recognised the historical importance of Australia's Kookaburra coinage.
The mint's recent decimal coin release was comprised of three coins, commemorating the Kookaburra Pattern coins.
Each coin has a 25-cent denomination and is square shaped, depicting a design used on the Square Pennies struck in 1919, 1920 and 1921, the years in which the Square Pennies were struck.
And which type did the mint re-create to represent the coins struck in 1919. Yes, you guessed it, the 1919 Type 3 Square Penny.
Well done Royal Australian Mint!
It is noted that during the mint's promotion of the product, we took several enquiries from decimal coin collectors keen to acquire an original Square Penny.
The rumblings of a Republican movement were heard in 1919 when the Australian Labor Government decided to discard the traditional British penny and halfpenny designs and replace the coins with square coinage featuring the kookaburra.
The change to incorporate Australia's native bird onto our coinage was politically motivated.
A wave of nationalism was sweeping the country post World War I and the Government saw political advantage in tapping into the mood of the people by introducing a uniquely Australian flavour to our coinage.
A kookaburra design and the depiction of the monarch without a crown were two of the elements of the new coinage that while highly contentious and provocative, the Government believed would be accepted.
A new metal was also proposed. The square kookaburra coins were tested in cupro-nickel.
Trials 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. It is believed that over the three year period 200 pieces, of various designs, were produced.
The response to Australia’s square coinage was however 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.
The kookaburra coins never went into production and Australia lost a great opportunity to go its own way.
But with only the 200 prototypes to show as evidence of the Government’s grand scheme, Australian coinage gained another wonderful collector piece. And a prized coin rarity.
(It is noted that Australia did eventually go its own way and although we didn't introduce a quirky square coin into circulation, cupro-nickel was introduced in 1966 as part of our our decimal currency changeover.)